After an incredibly disappointing 9th-12th place finish at TI6 last year, Team OG are back in the grand daddy of all Esports tournaments for another shot at immortality.
Replacing a ‘Miracle-‘
There’s no denying Amer ‘Miracle-‘ Al-Barkawi’s individual prowess and talent as a player. So, it is with no slight to the rest of Team OG when we say that much of their success since their formation post-TI5 was thanks to his spectacular play.
Having said that, losing 2016’s breakout star post-TI6 was definitely a huge blow to the team; compounded by the team also losing David ‘MoonMeander’ Tan and Andreas ‘Cr1t-‘ Franck Nielsen to Digital Chaos and Evil Geniuses respectively.
Team OG, however, did not take long to field a new roster.
A few days after the three members of the team left, Team OG had already found replacements.
— OG (@OGDota2) August 31, 2016
s4, who had gone back to play for Alliance for much of the season post-TI5, was brought in and surprisingly enough would not be playing mid. Instead, he would make the transition from midlane to the offlane.
JerAx, a player the team was all too familiar with after many heated battles against him and Team Liquid throughout the season, had joined them as well to take up their vacant position 4 role.
Much to the shock of everybody, the team then introduced a relatively unknown player in Ana, who had previously played as a sub for Invictus Gaming, to take up Miracle-‘s spot in the midlane.
New Faces, Same Results
Having come off a TI where they were on the wrong end of one of the biggest upsets in Dota history, many expressed doubts that the team would be able to replicate their previous success. Especially because the team had chosen to bring in an unproven young talent to man the middle, a lane once dominated by Miracle-, who had now transferred to Team Liquid.
Yet, like they did after their formation post-TI5, Team OG proved that they were winners through and through.
After finishing 3rd and 2nd place at the Mars Dota 2 League 2016 and The Summit 6 respectively, Team OG went on to play at The Boston Major 2016 and absolutely destroyed their competition.
The newly-revamped Team OG would end up dropping only two series all throughout the tournament en-route to taking home their then-record third Major title.
What followed was yet another dominating run at LAN tournaments where Team OG finished no lower than a 3rd-4th place, which was at the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3.
Team OG would cap off their post-TI6 run by taking down Virtus.Pro in the Grand Finals of The Kiev Major 2016 3-2.
The tightly contested series and just the second Valve event to go all the way has since been featured in the True Sight documentary series.
An Anti-Team OG Meta
Team OG, who was off to such a hot start post-TI6, has since cooled off after winning their record fourth Major trophy. Their most recent success was at Mars Dota 2 League 2017, where they ended up finishing 4th.
Some say this by their own choice, that Team OG, who were surely on top of the list of TI7 invitees after winning two Majors in a row, had already set their eyes on the bigger prize. Although some believe that this may also be because of the recent changes brought about by 7.06.
N0tail, one of the team’s founders and their hard carry, is notorious for his micro-management skills. As such, teams almost always ban Naga Siren and Alchemist when playing against him, because when they don’t, things like this tend to happen:
Although 7.06 changed many aspects of the meta game, among the most notable were the nerfs to illusion based heroes.
When you that into account, plus a meta that’s built for hyper aggressive teams to excel and the team’s playstyle, which is heavily based on counter initiation, there’s reason to believe the notion that the current meta is just not built for Team OG to succeed.
The Four-Time Major Winners
- Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein
- Anathan ‘ana’ Pham
- Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson
- Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka
- Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik
Then again, to say that Team OG is unable to win because of the current meta is a huge disservice to the team; you don’t become four-time Major winners by being a one-trick pony.
So what is it then? Has the team just not been pushing themselves as hard after securing their TI7 invite earlier than other teams? Or is it something else entirely?
Well, we can never know for sure what’s really going on with them. However, what we can all be sure of is that the team definitely isn’t lacking in any motivation heading into Seattle this year.
Not when they can finally redeem themselves from last year’s disappointing finish and the dream of taking home a TI title is within reach and most especially, not when s4 has a chance to make history by being the first-ever to win two TIs.
Be sure to follow us here at Esportsranks for the latest on your favourite Esports titles and for our next “Road to Seattle” feature, where we’ll talk about the boys in blue and NA’s finest, Evil Geniuses.