posted by Olucaron,
This year in Dota has been characterised by one thing — the team which rose from the ashes of near-destruction to win the biggest prize in esports. OG’s thrilling win at The International 2018 is the highlight of the year, but how did they get there? Heading into 2018, OG were hoping for a better season. They had underperformed at The International 2017 — after which Resolut1on came in to replace the departing ana — and their sole win of note post-TI7 was at MDL Macau.

Things were supposed to be bright with the addition of the young Ukrainian carry, but it was not meant to be.

OG was a proud org, one with multiple Major wins under its belt. Things were not meant to be this dire. Although they progressed through early qualifiers, OG failed to turn up at any significant event.

They finished 7th-8th at ESL One Katowice 2018 and 9th-11th at The Bucharest Major 2018, not a great way to kick things off. A change was needed, and it was Roman 'Resolut1on' Fominok who bit the bullet.

I’m very happy that I was a part of OG. Guys, Tal, Jesse, Gustav, Seb, Johan, Evany, thanks for the priceless experience and knowledge that I got during that time. I’m hoping that this decision will benefit all of us.
– Roman “Resolut10n” Fominok

Coach Sebastien 'Ceb' Debs stepped into the breach, standing in for the side as they easily qualified for the Mars Media Dota 2 League: Changsha. However, defeat in the second round of the Lower Bracket at DreamLeague Season 9 led to a 5th-6th place finish in the eight-team event.

The team was struggling to gel. More poor results came from the side, including failure to even make the playoff stage at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018 — finishing bottom of their group.

Three failures to reach the top eight in three weeks followed — EPICENTER XL, the Changsha Major and ESL One Birmingham 2018.

Then, more misfortune would hit the side.

Both Gustav 's4' Magnusson and Tal 'Fly' Aizik departed for Evil Geniuses. With Fly having been one of the original members of OG, his departure, and that of s4, left the side gutted.

Worse was that they had just two weeks to find replacements before the Open Qualifiers began for The International 2018. Thanks to Resolut1on’s departure, the team were no longer eligible for a direct invite under DPC rules. OG would have to do things the hard way.

With Anathan 'ana' Pham persuaded to return from his Dota 2 exile and rising pub talent Topias 'Topson' Taavitsainen on board, OG had a squad just in time. How little they knew just how life-changing those acquisitions would be.

The team hit the ground running with an easy route through the Open Qualifier, losing just a single game in the process. Then, they lost just two as they demolished the opposition at the Closed Qualifier.

OG were back, and on their way to Vancouver.

However, if you thought that was the end of OG’s redemption story, then they clearly didn’t get the script.

After not having played together for very long, not much was expected when coming up against the top-tier DPC teams. OG were grouped with PSG.LGD, Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses — a tough test.

Things began brightly. An opening series tie with LGD showed that OG could compete, and wins over Mineski, Invictus Gaming and VGJ.Thunder set them up for an Upper Bracket run in the Playoffs.

Then, the unthinkable became real. OG went on a legendary run to the Grand Finals. Victory over VGJ.Storm set up a juicy clash with Evil Geniuses — and former comrades s4 and Fly. It was a series for the ages, as OG gained revenge in a 2-1 win.

The series with PSG.LGD in the Upper Bracket Finals was just an epic, with another 2-1 win seeing OG through to the showpiece event — the Grand Final. Just one series stood between them and the impossible, another series with LGD.

And boy, was it legendary. OG took the first game, before LGD roared back to take a 2-1 lead. Not to be outdone, OG took Game Four to send it to a fifth game decider.

It was the game of ana’s Ember Spirit, dominating as OG recorded one of the greatest International stories on record. From no roster to the Aegis, in less than two months.

After their TI win, ana again stepped away from the team. OG brought in Per Anders 'Pajkatt' Olsson L. as a replacement, and after taking some time off returned for qualifiers for The Chongqing Major.

Heading into 2019, the first order of business will be The Bucharest Minor. Can OG repeat their success come the end of the season in Shanghai?

Has there ever been a greater fairytale than OG’s 2018?

Header image: Valve

  • Olucaron


    David W. Duffy
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