The European organization has gotten the band back together as it officially reforms its TI8 winning lineup
When OG announced yesterday that long-term stand-in Igor “iLTW” Filatov would be parting ways with the team, many suspected that there was a reason other than the squad’s somewhat disappointing performances in recent months. Today, those suspicions have been confirmed, as OG has officially announced that Anathan “ana” Pham’s hiatus from the Dota 2 scene has come to an end and that the Australian Carry will be returning to the team’s active roster.
With this move, iLTW’s time with OG has come to a close, with the Russian Carry having spent over 4 months as a stand-in for the European squad. During that time, OG put together some solid performances, but still seemed to fall significantly below its own standards. The team participated in 3 regional qualifiers with iLTW on the roster, with the squad claiming 1st place finishes in 2 of those qualifiers and finishing in the 5th-6th place position in the other. iLTW also helped OG attend 4 events on the international level as well, including a pair of Minor appearances in January and March. Across those 4 international appearances, OG managed to claim a 2nd place finish at WePlay! Dota 2 Winter Madness, a 3rd place finish at ESL One Katowice 2019, and a pair of 5th-6th place positions at The Bucharest Minor and the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor. Overall, iLTW has put together a fairly solid string of performances for OG, but now the question will be where he goes moving forward. Technically speaking, iLTW is still under contract with Espada, though the organization has just 2 players on its roster and has been inactive since the end of November. We will have to wait and see if the organization attempts to build a new squad around iLTW, or if they release the Carry to free agency to pursue other opportunities in the CIS or European regions.
As for OG itself, this move reforms the lineup that famously won TI8 back in August, and could potentially represent an important turning point in the team’s season. While OG has not exactly fallen off the map in the Dota 2 world, its influence both within the European region and on the international level has declined dramatically over the first half of this 2018-2019 season. Part of that decline for OG has come from its roster issues, as the team shifted ana to a substitute role back in November and couldn’t quite get itself back into top form with the combination of Pajkatt and iLTW filling in since. With its TI8 roster now reformed though, there is hope that OG can potentially recapture that momentum and confidence that helped it claim the Aegis of Champions on the Dota 2 world’s biggest stage just 7 months ago. Unfortunately for OG, it may have to wait a bit for its first chance to compete with its reformed lineup, as the team does not appear to have any event appearances scheduled before the start of the MDL Disneyland Paris Major Qualifiers at the end of March.
The roster of OG following ana’s return to the lineup:
Anathan “ana” Pham (Carry/Mid)
Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen (Carry/Mid)
Sébastien “7ckngMad” Debs (Offlane)
Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka (Support)
Johan “N0tail” Sundstein (Support, Captain)
Cristian “ppasarel” Bănăseanu (Coach)
Titouan “Sockshka” Merloz (Coach)
Evany “the_evany” Chang (Manager)