The underdogs, OG, take down PSG.LGD in the best of Grand Finals to complete the biggest Cinderella run in TI history and become TI8 champions.
OG are your champions for The International 2018 after completing what has to the most unexpected championship run in TI history.
A ragtag squad of Dota 2 players formed just mere weeks before the TI8 qualifiers, OG’s win comes as a shock to nearly everyone. As per GGbet, OG were at 20.00 odds to take home the Aegis of Champions, putting them in the bottom half and a far cry from their opponents, PSG.LGD, which the esports betting platform put at 5.00 odds to become TI8 champions.
Despite the odds being stacked heavily against OG and in spite of their newly formed roster, the Johan ‘N0tail‘ Sundstein-led Open Qualifier squad worked their way through the winners bracket to beat more heavily favoured teams such as VGJ.Storm and Evil Geniuses, as well as PSG.LGD twice in a row, the second time going 3-2 in the first-ever TI Grand Finals that went all the way to five games since Alliance’s win against Natus Vincere at The International 2013.
The nerve-wracking series featured some of the best Dota 2 games in recent memory. However, despite PSG.LGD’s best efforts, OG ultimately won out, closing out the series in five must-watch games.
A Grand Finals Well Worth Remembering
The first game started well for PSG.LGD, who fielded an aggressive lineup led by their two cores Lu ‘Maybe‘ Yao and Wang ‘Ame‘ Chunyu on Storm Spirit and Bloodseeker respectively. However, despite having the gold advantage for most of the early game, PSG.LGD just could not take objectives and win fights decisively with OG’s offlaner Sébastien ‘7ckngMad‘ Debson and his surprise pick, Treant Protector, providing the necessary healing and sustain for the rest of OG.
With N0tail also coming up with clutch saves on his Winter Wyvern, the wildcard and rookie mid laner, Topias ‘Topson‘ Taavitsainen, was able to play aggressively on his infamous Monkey King. This gave Anathan ‘ana‘ Pham and his Spectre enough space to farm up and eventually wreak havoc in teamfights, allowing OG to overwhelm PSG.LGD’s base.
After a tightly-contested Game 1, however, Games 2 and 3 proved to be a more lopsided affair in the favor of PSG.LGD.
The former ended with a kill count score of 45-18, with Yang ‘Chalice‘ Shenyi and his Enchantress leading the way for PSG.LGD with as many as 14 kills. Meanwhile, the latter was all about Ame and his performance on Weaver as he constantly hunted down the backlines of OG to the tune of 21 kills. He had nearly as many kills alone as the entire OG team (24) as PSG.LGD ended the game with 50 total kills as a team.
Shades of Kiev Major
Facing a 1-2 deficit, it all looked like PSG.LGD were going to continue the East-West cycle and become the TI8 champions. But, while not many teams could claim that they’ve already faced a similar uphill climb in the Grand Finals of a prestigious event, OG could, as they faced the exact same dillema in the Grand Finals of the Kiev Major against Virtus.Pro back in April of 2017.
And, just like when OG relied on the then-rookie ana to help them stave off elimination and win their fourth Valve Major back then, the midlaner-turned-carry once again came up big when it counted the most.
ana’s play on Phantom Lancer was instrumental in keeping OG’s hopes of winning alive in Game 4 of the TI8 Grand Finals. However, it was the sick Berserker’s Call by ceb on his Axe at the 61-minute mark that allowed OG to turn what could’ve been a game-ending 4-1 team fight to a 4-4 exchange that gave ana the chance to take Roshan and the Aegis of the Immortal safely, securing OG the game.
The 18-year-old Australian was similarly phenomenal in the series-clincher on one of his signature heroes, Ember Spirit. He knew just when to push the heroto its absolute limits, initiating for OG and going into the thick of things only to walk out alive with just a sliver of health left.
With the win, OG and n0tail are now the most decorated organization and player, respectively, in Dota 2, with 4 Valve Majors and 1 TI.
Prize Pool and Payouts
The TI8 Battle Pass proved to be extremely lucrative for Valve once again. Of course, players also benefitted from a huge chunk of the crowdfunding period. At the end of it all, the prize pool broke last year’s record and settled at a neat $25,490,961 USD, with nearly half of it going the way of the TI8 champions.
Below is a quick breakdown of the payouts for each team participating at The International 2018:
Top-heavy as the distribution is, especially when you consider that the TI8 champions get nearly half of the prize pool, every team gets their fair share of cash. Especially when you consider that Valve takes care of majority of the expenses that the teams might incur for going to Vancouver, Canada, this year. This includes boarding and accomodation, food, as well as transportation, for all of the team’s five members, their manager, and their coach.
Equally distributed, each member of the TI8 champions, OG, will get just under $2.25 million USD each. For OG’s rookie midlaner, this is huge for his first payday from a prestigious tournament in Dota 2, as he had only earned around $4k USD during his relatively short career prior to OG’s win..
Say Hello to Your TI8 Champions
As much as the spotlight may be on the TI8 champions at the end of the tournament, TI8 did what TI always seem to do best, and that is to evoke emotion from its hundreds of thousands if not millions of viewers from all over the globe.
Perhaps as a direct result of the inaugural 2017-18 Dota Pro Circuit, there was a lot of parity in the level of competition. Even though three teams in Team Liquid, Virtus.Pro, and PSG.LGD stood out from the rest of the field throughout the season, the fresh state of the meta and the constant practice born out of the year-round international tilts gave every team heading into the tournament a fair shot at making a deep run.
That’s special, and everyone involved in making TI8 what it is deserves a treat. From the people behind the scenes, like the production crew, that painstakingly worked hard to highlight the stories of every player, to the casters and the panel that provided valuable insight, commentary and analysis game after game, to the players who didn’t buckle under the pressure.
Words simply just can’t express how awesome TI8 was, which only leaves us wanting for more now that the season has officially come to a close.
What do you think is next for the TI8 champions? Will they suffer from the TI curse as many did and fail to recapture their magic? Or, will OG be able to sustain their momentum in the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.