Once The Best Dota Team In The World, Can OG Still Get Back on Track?

Not too long ago, many people saw OG as the best Dota team in the world. Between 2015 to 2017, OG reigned over Dota 2’s competitive scene and were the absolute kings of the previous competitive system. They ended up setting a record by winning four of the five Valve-sponsored Majors, including Frankfurt, Manila, Boston and Kiev. However, after placing top 8 at TI7 and replacing Anathan ‘ana‘ Pham with Roman ‘Resolut1on‘ Fominok, a move that many celebrated as an upgrade, OG have yet to find their footing eight months into the 2017-18 Pro Circuit.

Sure, many will point out to OG’s high winrate with their latest roster; OG currently boast a 69.56% winrate in 148 games since September 1, 2017, which was when they added the Ukrainian Dota 2 player. However, that winrate comes with a huge caveat, with the first being that it comes mostly against lesser competition in the European Regional Qualifiers.

In fact, between September 20 and December 1, OG’s winrate was a measly 59.62% in 52 games as they qualified only for three Pro Circuit tournaments, and in all three times they successfully qualified, Team Secret either decided to skip the tournament (AMD Sapphire Dota Pit League and MDL Macau) or were directly invited to the event (Captain’s Draft 4.0).

That’s not exactly the best statistic when you consider that up until about half a year ago, OG were widely considered as the best Dota team in the world.

So, what’s changed?

4 Protect 1 Specialists? Not Exactly

To approximate why OG is struggling, it’s best that we take a look at how OG performed with Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi and Ana on the roster. Both pub stars before OG decided to take the risk on them, the former have since become a two-time Major winner and recently won The International 7 with Team Liquid. Though Ana has not had quite the same level of success since leaving OG, he remains arguably one of the better midlaners in the world.

With both players manning their middle lane, OG became famous for playing a 4 protect 1 play style as Johan ‘N0tail‘ Sundstein played an atypical sacrificial carry playstyle to help enable Miracle- or Ana’s farm.

Looking at the numbers, however, the notion that OG devoted most of their resources to Miracle- and Ana is not entirely true. Across a total of 213 games, Miracle- and N0tail had pretty much the same impact (5.40 K/D/A vs 5.04 K/D/A) and farm priority (581 GPM and 545 XPM vs 514 GPM and 495 XPM). With Ana, the story wasn’t all that different, with their impact (4.93 K/D/A vs 5.17 K/D/A) and farm priority (597 GPM and 568 XPM vs 541 GPM and 497 XPM) mostly neck and neck.

Yes, the argument exists that K/D/A, GPM and XPM are not a definitive measurement of individual performance and contribution. However, as you’ll see later on, the data makes for a pretty strong case that should help explain why OG are struggling to regain their status as the best Dota team in the world.

Seeking a Resolut1on to their TI Woes

The biggest knock on OG was that while they won big at the Valve-sponsored Major, they failed to pull through once it counted the most in Seattle. At both The International 6 and 7, OG found themselves exiting a bit too early for their taste. Their exit at the former event, in particular, which came in spectacular fashion against the then-relative unknowns TNC Pro Team, then led by Jimmy ‘DeMoN‘ Ho, has since become famous as one of the biggest upsets in all of Dota 2.

Best Dota Team In The World

Image via Valve

Having said that, OG decided to change the script and skipped scouting the world for another pub star waiting to explode into the pro scene. Instead, they brought in Resolut1on, who finished in 2nd place as Digital Chaos’ hard carry at The International 6 and in 7th-8th place with Team Empire as a last minute stand-in at The International 7.

Resolut1on’s pure hard carry play style and OG’s supposed preference to devote most of their farm to one player who could will them to wins looked like a match made in heaven. Add the fact that all five of OG’s players were all veterans at their respective positions and it’s easy to see why many had OG pegged to improve immediately, but that hasn’t exactly happened.

A Failed Resolution (??)

Far from securing their status as the best Dota team in the world, OG has had a less than ideal start to the season. As mentioned earlier, they couldn’t even make it past Team Secret, who had brought in two new players to take up core positions and were not even seen as contenders heading into the 2017-18 Pro Circuit. But, that’s not all. OG even found themselves losing to mousesports and SFT-esports at the European Qualifiers for the PGL Minor and ESL One Hamburg Major respectively.

OG’s actual DPC debut months into the season at the AMD Sapphire Dota PIT League Minor was worse still. Up against eight of the best Dota 2 teams from around the world, OG placed in the bottom 6, managing only to beat a struggling Fnatic squad in a best-of-one and losing to both Newbee and ViCi Gaming.

You can’t exactly blame this on the ever-changing Dota 2 meta. After all, OG gained a reputation for being one of the first teams to figure out the meta with Tal ‘Fly‘ Aizik and Sébastien ‘7ckingMad‘ Debs. And again, it’s ever-changing, which means that the best Dota 2 teams actually have a knack for making the necessary adjustments, often in the middle of a tournament.

So, what exactly is the reason why OG are still not the best Dota team in the world, or even near the top of the proverbial ladder?

A Closer Look at the Numbers

Now, let’s take a look at the difference in playstyles and priorities with OG playing with Miracle, Ana and Resolut1on on the roster.

With Miracle- (and the rest of OG’s TI6 roster):

Player Name  Games Played  Win Rate  K/D/A  GPM  XPM 
Miracle  213  66.20%  5.41  581  545 
Notail  213  66.20%  5.04  514  495 
Moonmeander  213  66.20%  3.88  389  403 
Cr1t  213  66.20%  3.81  289  310 
Fly  213  66.20%  3.57  285  294 

With Ana:

Player Name  Games Played  Win Rate  K/D/A  GPM  XPM 
Ana  189  61.38%  4.93  596  568 
Notail  196  61.73%  5.17  541  497 
S4  196  61.73%  4.15  370  419 
JerAx  196  61.73%  3.68  290  331 
Fly  189  61.38%  3.78  296  347 

With Resolut1ion:

Player Name  Games Played  Win Rate  K/D/A  GPM  XPM 
Resolut1on  103  69.59%  7.26  662  649 
Notail  100  70.92%  4.54  503  535 
S4  100  70.92%  4.17  413  499 
JerAx  103  69.59%  4.01  289  364 
Fly  103  59.59%  3.17  298  392 

Basically, what these numbers mean is that OG is devoting a whole lot more of their resources to securing Resolut1on’s farm and it’s obviously not working as well as they would like. Though n0tail has always played more of a sacrificial role as a carry, he is sacrificing way too much right now. This play style may work against lesser teams, but against the likes of Team Liauid and Team Secret, these top tier teams know well enough not to try and contest N0tail’s lane since it’s already a given that he will most likely rotate and help rather other pressured lanes than take up any available space for himself.

What’s Next for OG?

OG are one-dimensional and predictable. Worse still, they arguably no longer have any must-ban heroes in their pool like Alchemist and Naga Siren, like they once did during their time as the best Dota team in the world, to help give them an advantage during drafts.

Make no mistake, OG are not a bad team. They’re a struggling fringe contender if that makes sense. This means that OG aren’t bad enough to miss out on qualifying for any Pro Circuit tournament they want to play in. However, they’re also not good enough to make it past the likes of Team Liquid, their former regional rivals who have stood in their way of achieving a playoff spot at both the Katowice and Bucharest Majors.

The latter is a damning reality that OG will have to address if they want to at least position themselves among the eight Dota 2 teams who will receive a direct invite to The International 8 in Seattle.

OG had a relatively good showing at the Bucharest Major before bowing out. Analysts, casters and audiences themselves agreed that OG looked better in that one game against Team Liquid than they ever have all season long, so there’s that. But, a good showing in losing fashion is still a far cry for a team that’s so used to winning as OG are.

Final Thoughts

Best Dota Team In The World

OG will have a chance to regroup and improve on their results so far. They’re set to appear in at least three tournaments over the next two months. They also have a chance to make an appearance at even more events going forward.

The clock is ticking on OG’s chances of receiving a direct invite, however. They’re currently sitting in 9th place with 630 QP in the season leaderboards, right behind Evil Geniuses, who topped the brackets in the group stages of the Bucharest Major and are looking good enough to threaten to win the entire tournament. The next teams up are Mineski (7th place — 900 QP) and Natus Vincere (6th place — 1,109 QP), who, fortunately for OG, are struggling to get Qualifying Points themselves.

They’ll need to win a couple of Minors and place at least in the Top 4 of the next few Majors if they want to secure their direct invite to The International 8. This is a huge drop off in expectations for a team that used to be the best Dota team in the world, but it is what it is.

If nothing else, OG can at least look to Team Liquid’s story last season when they struggled to mesh for nearly half a year until May of 2017, which was when they established themselves as the best Dota team in the world by winning eight out of the past twelve LAN tournaments they have played in so far.

Do you think this current OG roster can still get back the same form that made them the best Dota team in the world? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.

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