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The Dota Pro Circuit season has not been kind for OG. The previous year has seen the team lose more than they could win. Their position in the league was far from their heydays as multi-Valve Major champions. Their failure to reclaim their past glory prompted them to undergo various roster changes. Resolut1ion‘s departure from OG forced their coach, Sébastien “7ckngMad” Debs, to come out of retirement and play for the team. This didn’t alleviate OG’s ailments, however, and the team continued to struggle.

Their continued losses led to the surprising announcement that s4, who had been with the team since August 2016, and Fly, who had been with the team since its inception, would no longer be playing for OG. The two had left to join Evil Geniuses, forming a rift between the former best friends Fly and n0taiL. The sudden shuffle led to the team pulling out of the China Supermajor, using the time to look for replacements instead.

Fly and n0taiL, co-founders and former best friends, after their Bo3 match in the upper bracket semifinals

In spite of all of these roster hiccups, OG came out on top and proved all their doubters wrong.

Much of it is due to the surprising success that their new roster enjoyed. Ana, who had been away from the organization for nearly a year, returned to OG as its new carry. The supplanted n0taiL returned to his original role as hard support, a role that he played during his time with Fnatic from 2012-2014. Along with ana came in the Finnish pubstar Topson, who, before his foray into The International, have never played in a DPC event prior. The relatively unknown Topson was given the key to OG’s middle lane, sending their former coach 7ckngmad to the offlane. 7ckngmad rechristened himself into Ceb, and led OG to an arduous open qualifiers.

Bottom to Top

A team that had to go through the open qualifiers have no right to win the aegis – but that’s exactly what OG did. OG’s rise to the top started with their open qualifiers matchups. OG would easily win through the open qualifiers to join the European Qualifiers. OG’s domination of one of the hardest regional qualifiers started with the team scoring 7-0 in the group stage. They would then dominate the playoffs of the group stage, defeating Wind and Rain in two consecutive series.

Their success in the qualifiers bought them a ticket to the main event of the tournament. OG seemingly didn’t find it difficult winning their games in the qualifiers stage. In an interview, n0taiL would eventually say in an interview with vpesports that:

If you ask me if I was surprised to get here – not really. Ever since TI 3, I’ve always managed to get to The International championships. That was my mindset during the qualifiers. That is not the hard part. Doing good at The International has been the hard part for me.

Getting into the International wasn’t the hard part, performing well in The International is.

Group Stage comeback

Just as he has previously said, performing well in The International is the true challenge for OG. For the first two days of the group stage, OG struggled to keep up with the competition. They faced some of the favorites, like PSG.LGD, with whom they scored 1-1, and Team Liquid, who deftly dealt with them, leaving OG with a 1-3 record after Day 1. They would then end with a 3-5 score after losing another series to Evil Geniuses, meanwhile scoring 2-0 over Mineski.

It was in Day 3 that OG started making strong gains in the group stage. They were scheduled three matchups, and they made the most out of their opportunities. OG would start the day with a tie against Fnatic, and dealing a 2-0 against both Invictus Gaming and VGJ.Thunder. Thus, they end the third day with a remarkable 8-6 score. They would hold their lead by scoring 1-1 against Winstrike. They finish fourth in Group A with a 9-7 score.

OG Bites back

The top teams of each group got the chance to choose their opponents from the other group, and VGJ.Storm chose OG. However, OG would defy VGJ.Storm, surviving Resolut1on’s new team and sending the top team of Group B to the lower bracket.

Their next opponents in the upper bracket would be their new rivals, EG, where their former teammates Cr1t-, Fly and s4 went after their respective runs with OG. N0taiL would exact his revenge against his old friends after 3 grueling games, sending EG to the lower bracket.

Their final opponents in the upper bracket was PSG.LGD, who they already fought with during the group stages. LGD looked like they were going to win the series, but OG’s discipline in using their buybacks allowed them to turn the tides of battle. JerAx “Savior of OG” on his Earthshaker was pivotal in their final defense of their Ancient.

OG’s comeback in their Upper Bracket Finals with PSG.LGD, courtesy of ZonaDOTA

The Grand Finals rematch

Even in defeat, LGD would not be denied. They would make short work of Evil Geniuses in the lower bracket finals, denying the fans the OG vs. EG rematch that they’re itching to see.

The Grand Finals was set with a rematch of the upper bracket finals. Dota fans couldn’t ask for a better matchup than these two. In their third series in the tournament, both teams performed spectacularly. OG would take Game 1 away from LGD, but the Chinese team would regain the lead by winning the next two games. Suddenly, the Chinese curse of The International seemed to take its form again, and OG was forced in a corner.

OG, the king of comebacks, would once again show their resilience. Just like what they did in the upper bracket finals, OG would come back from the ashes and turn an unfavorable game around in Game 4, forcing the first ever full series of a Grand Finals since Alliance vs. Na ` Vi in 2013. Game 5 didn’t start well for OG. Their lineup was supposedly strong in the early game, but fy‘s Earthshaker made short work of OG’s lineup, forcing OG on the defensive. However, one costly initiation around the Roshan Pit was enough to give OG the advantage. Once they go the upper hand, OG no longer let up. With ana’s Ember Spirit leading the charge, OG exterminated PSG.LGD, earning them their first ever Aegis.

N0taiL lifting the Aegis, making him a The International champion, on top of his four-time Valve Major titles.
The International 8 Champions

Anathan “ana” Pham

Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen

Sébastien “7ckngmad” Debs

Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka

Johan “N0taiL” Sundstein

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