The Team Dynamic, Part 1

“It’s like the deeper you love [each other], the deeper you hate.” – Hao, Dota 2 Legend, on being a teammate

In a perfect world, teams should be formed under the premise of making the best team possible. It should be about the overall skill of the players, the roles they fill and how they synergize together. But we don’t live in a perfect world, we live in this one. Teams are made up of people. But not just ordinary people, they are players.

Players are people who have come to identify their very existence in a competitive environment where a part of their self worth comes from how good they are at winning. So this inevitably creates conflict with each team’s interpersonal relationships being an important part of how well a team can stick together for a long period of time. CArn, one of the great leaders of CS 1.6 always insisted on the importance of the social aspect of the team.

It’s a bit different in Dota 2, as players do not need teams to have a successful career because of The International. At the same time, this makes The International an incredibly stressful event that eventually destroys relationships. People who once loved each other end up either hating or cutting off contact with each other for a time. AUI_2000 and EternaLEnVy, Misery and Secret, Moonmeander and Fly.

When Fnatic eventually split in CS:GO, they said they had failed the test of friendship. This tension between love, hate and competition is one of the things that differentiates team games from 1-v-1 games and is a kind of personal test for every individual. When put under fire, will their love turn to hate, can they put hate aside to win or will they give up winning o stay in love?

Slingshot senior columnist. StarCraft and CS:GO expert who pushes narratives over numbers. You can reach him at

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