OG And The Greatest Dark Horse Story in Esports

The International 2018 was arguably the best edition of this prestigious event, ever. Amazing matches, impossible comebacks and by far the most emotional underdog story since Rocky.

OG’s TI 8 adventure began in Europe’s Open Qualifiers. Having secured a place in the Regional Qualifier by defeating Elements Pro Gaming in the Finals, OG kept its TI hopes alive and moved on with a completely improvised roster. Fly, the team’s captain, had left to join Evil Geniuses together with s4. This meant that N0tail, JerAx and 7ckngMad were faced with a tough decision: disband or find 2 players asap.

A talented midlaner (Topson) was found along with a player (ana) who had already proved himself while playing for OG back when the team was top tier. With Topson mid and ana playing position 1 carry, OG marched forward. But nobody imagined how far they would go.

OG won the only TI spot reserved for Europe in the Regional Qualifier by defeating Wind and Rain in the Grand Finals (3 – 1). And as a result, their TI dream came true. From the brink of disband to making it to the most prestigious tournament of the year. Everyone regarded the team’s performance as impressive, but expected nothing more. The Team Liquid organization ranked OG as the 18th team out of 18 participants going into TI 8.

For the Group Stage, OG was placed in group A together with multiple Dota 2 giants such as Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, PSG.LGD, Fnatic and Mineski. The team was expected to either be eliminated or finish among the bottom 3. And while it did start the competition with 1 draw and 2 losses, OG quickly found its rhytm and began to climb. By the end of the Group Stage, N0tail and his teammates had secured a spot in the Upper Bracket of the Main Event.

Having won group B, VGJ.Storm chose to fight OG (4th place in group A) in the first round of Upper Bracket matches, expecting a quick 2 – 0 victory. But it wasn’t to be. In fact, OG had found such a unique way of playing the game that VGJ.Storm was shocked to find itself losing without even understanding why.

For its next match, OG faced Evil Geniuses, and the match had revenge written all over it. Facing his former best friend, Fly, who had betrayed him to join EG, N0tail and his teammates played out of their minds and won the match, coming back from a massive gold deficit in game 3.

Next stop, PSG.LGD. Like the EG match, this was a struggle from start to finish. But again, through unbelievable comebacks, OG emerged victorious and waited for its opponent in the Grand Finals. With a quick 2 – 0 victory over EG, PSG.LGD had its chance to avenge its previous defeat and claim the Aegis of Champions. But for the nth time, OG did the impossible, coming back from a 1 – 2 games deficit and massive gold deficits in almost every one of their games.

In particular, ana’s decision making throughout the tournament was god tier. It’s actually unbelievable how well he managed to play under pressure and on the biggest stage of his career. Apart from this, I can’t help but notice the impossibility of the whole thing. Call it God, karma, luck or whatever you will, something definitely was on OG’s side during this tournament. I mean, I’ve never seen the stars align for a team so perfectly and so many times over the course of one event.

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