10 Things You Can Learn From MYM|Maelk

Jacob 'Maelk' Toft-Andersen is my very first inspiration in being a leader of a DotA team. I was so inspired on how his plans would always be successful. He would always be interviewed every tournaments because of his indispensable wit. Teams would often fear his team, MYM, because of his deadly strategies and his ability to counter every opponent's plan. His games would often be superb carrying the team to victories. After watching his games, reading his posts, watching his interviews and hearing the comments of his team mates on him, I learned a lot of dota guides and lessons on how to somehow be a 'Maelk' of our team. 

Think of the easiest route to victory

Winning was so difficult for us back then. We were panicking and praying that our carry would get farmed up to carry us to victory. But, when I read Maelk's comments on games. He pointed out that in every hero line up, there's a hole. You should find out what's that hole and beat the team using that hole.  It is taking advantage of your opponents' weaknesses.  Maelk was so good in detecting and countering opposing team's plans and strategies. I tried to study every hero line ups for quite some time and realized that we could really have won easily the games we played before if we played focusing on opposing team's weaknesses. Hero picking contributes a big part of winning.  Before the game is played, you'll see how Maelk already beat the opposing team seeing the hero picks.  Combined with the team's great talent, he became a well known deadly strategist.

Play any roles
From being arguably the best Queen of Pain player before, he switched to playing support roles and still own. His chen is the only type of chen I can't imitate. His level of aggressiveness is simply incredible that he can be safe in every ganks but would still contribute a lot. His versatility lead his team to having fun games and a lot of wins.

Inspire your team mates

One thing I observe on how the MYM became successful is Maelk's great Charisma.  The team appreciates him for having great wit and leadership skills. Maelk would show the team how to execute the game plays. He would show the level of play style for them to reach. Inspiring your team makes them want to play more with you and will have an urge to improve.

In an interview, MYM|Mania said: "Of course I think he(Maelk) is the best captain, else I wouldn't play with him through all these years. His strenght is his way to think outside the box in a lot of situations in the game, hes good at taking the quick decisions that occures through a game, and many times we win because of these tactical moves."

Be a good listener

Maelk is a captain who is open for suggestions. He respects the opinions of his team mates. He weigh things up first before making decision. This is the difference between leading and managing. Leading is making your team mates want to do your plans while managing is forcing your team mates to do your plans. It became a lot of fun for all of us when I started switching from managing to leading. I believe that a team is stronger if they all desire a single goal.

Be active in Dota forums

Yes, dota forums are not made for nothing. These are made for discussions towards improvement. Maelk would always read then you'd see him post comments to clarify and enlighten people's minds. Seek help. It's good to be independent but you will find useful things on forums because there would be experienced people who may already have solved problems or queries like what you have now. It is best to learn from others errors for you don't have to undergo the same bitter experience to improve.

Analyze every game critically

It is from Maelk that I realize that there is more to farming, ganking, pushing and winning. There are tons of points to analyze and critically understand. Without him, I'd treat Dota like tetris and I wouldn't be here blogging stuffs about Dota. Every answers from his interview were all new to me and I tried to treat Dota the same way he treated it.  One great ability of a leader is being able to solve mysteries for the team.  Your team mates may not understand why in the world have you lost.  A good leader will find it out and clarify everything to his team mates.  Maelk is definitely that kind of leader.

Be Original

He was the one who formulated MYM's strategy. He analyzes every heroes and concluded on what may be the best play style to win games. He is like a hero line up scientist. His strategies are from his own ideas. He was never afraid to try something new. Whenever he feels like a strategy would be successful, he goes for it. Examples are: pudge omniknight lane. This was even used in an important tournament. I remember him saying that he used this strategy because it would be great to try having a free radiance in early game. He also introduces Bradwarden in Dota scene.  He also formulated the triple push strategy.  Where they defeated an AOE focused team by pushing 3 lanes at the same time.  This trapped the opponents at their base having hard time to defend.  It is one of the best games I ever watched. You can view it here KS vs MYM.

Have firm CONFIDENCE in yourself

Most people who hated him for being cocky didn't realize that MYM's strength relies greatly on Maelk's confidence. His confidence made his team mates more at ease in the game. Leading a Dota team is a big responsibility. You should have the right amount of confidence because no one will trust you if you, yourself, is in doubt of your skills. Honestly, in the first Dota tournaments we participated at, I was so nervous. I feel like vomiting out of fear. I was the captain and I know top teams are included. I was so afraid to let my team mates down. They were nervous too. So, I was a useless leader because I should be the one making them calm. Good thing I became a follower of Maelk. I changed a lot and lead my team mates to being better players and win a lot of tournaments.

Make quick but good decisions

In games where plans have great chance of failing, you should know how to make quick adjustments to still have the game running on your side. This is one trait of Maelk that even his team mates can prove. His judgments are simply so perfect everytime, making him decide the best things for the team to do. Teams with leaders like him are so lucky because there will be less confusion and they can act at once. In this game, time is just too precious to be wasted on thinking what to do next. Situations change quickly. Opportunities passes by in a blink of an eye.

Be a Doer not just a Dreamer

We were all dreaming of becoming a great Dota team but we never thought it would be possible. Dreaming is good but if you take no action it is a total waste of time. Pursue your dreams. If you want to reach the moon, go. If you fail, you'd still end up reaching the stars. Maelk didn't directly say this but you'll realize it after seeing his hardwork in analyzing each and every heroes to formulate strategies. He worked hard practicing with his team mates that made MYM one of the most successful teams in Dota.

I might have been quite nostalgic about the history of MYM and myself but these 10 things I learned from Maelk had inspired me a lot to become a better player and leader.  Right attitude is important in Dota and he can inspire you a lot too to have these winning traits.  There may be a lot of other good teams right now you can learn from but I think there is no one who shares a lot of insights like Maelk. 
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