OG looking to complete their collection by winning the Aegis of Champions
With this year’s iteration of The International fast approaching, it seems appropriate to offer fans both new and old a breakdown of who it is they’re going to be watching in Seattle. This series of posts will each be dedicated to one of the 18 teams that will be participating in The International 2017, with the aim of giving readers a brief overview of the teams, their position coming into TI, and what their expectations might be. Please note that these posts will not contain a comprehensive history of the teams, nor will they go into minute detail for each of the players. There are more thorough breakdowns for teams and players available out there, a la SirActionSlacks’ “TI Down Low” series. These posts aim to provide something more akin to an “in a nutshell” level of information. So, we’ll get things started with the first team on our list of TI participants – OG.
OG come into TI7 as veritable Dota 2 royalty and one of the most accomplished teams in the entire professional scene. The European squad comes to Seattle as 4 time Major champions, having won titles in Frankfurt,Manila, Boston, and Kiev. OG stand as the first and only team to have ever won multiple Valve-run events, though the squad has yet to bring home the final prize of the Aegis of Champions. Combining strong and clever drafting with veteran experience and an abundance of talent and skill, OG must be seen as one of the favorites to achieve victory at TI.
The expectations for OG coming into TI are exceptionally high, but not without good cause. OG’s string of victories and high level of play have placed the team into a position as one of the best teams in the world, as evidenced by their direct invite to TI7. Let’s be perfectly frank here; OG have their eyes on winning the Aegis of Champions, and anything less than this achievement will likely be viewed as a disappointment. However, while OG’s expectations may be sky high, no team can ever be guaranteed success at The International, and recent performances from the European squad have raised some concerns heading into the biggest Dota event of the year.
Yes, OG won The Kiev Major, which in and of itself is an achievement that is unmatched by just about any other team in the world. However, in the months following this victory OG has come back down to Earth a bit, being unable to recapture their former dominance against top level competition. The Manila Masters saw OG go down 0-2 against fellow direct invitee Newbee, before being bounced out of the tournament entirely in a tough 1-2 series against the now disbanded Team Faceless. OG’s fortunes didn’t change much at Epicenter 2017, which took place less than 2 weeks after the Manila Masters. OG struggled mightily in Moscow, completing the group stage with a 3-6 overall record and missing the cut for the playoffs entirely. The only team OG managed to win a series against at Epicenter was Na’Vi, a team that finished an ignoble 0-8 in the the group stage themselves. The recent Mars Dota 2 League in China gave OG an opportunity to lay some of these doubts to rest and put up strong performances against top tier opposition. In the group stage, it appeared OG had regained some of their mojo, finishing with a 5-2 record and locking up the first place spot going into the playoffs. However, these group stage matches were all played in a best of one format, and when those best of one’s shifted into best of three’s, OG seemed to fall short. OG was dropped out of the upper bracket with an 0-2 loss to LGD. Though the European squad managed to recover enough to topple fellow western team EG 2-1, OG couldn’t keep their run going as they lost 0-2 to Newbee again. The end result for OG was a 4th place finish at MDL, a finish that looks positive on paper, but still belies a concerning trend heading into TI.
OG’s recent performance does raise a few questions for the team as TI approaches. However, even with this string of less dominant results, OG remains one of the strongest teams in the TI field. These recent stumbles may have exposed some weaknesses that other teams may be able to exploit, but OG didn’t get to the position it’s in without learning to improve and adapt. OG will surely have noticed and addressed some of its recent poor play and hopefully will arrive in Seattle in top form. It remains to be seen if the other competitors at TI can smell OG’s blood in the water, or if the European powerhouse will recapture its magic and remind the world just why they are 4 time Major Champions.