Against the odds

The story of OG – Part 1

Dota 2
dota 2 team og

Image credit: RedBull

OG are the most popular European Dota 2 team out there. The team gained its popularity after making one of the finest Cinderella stories in the history of Esports. A newly-formed squad that managed to win against all odds and take The International trophy. How did they do that? Stay tuned to this article and find out the whole story of Dota 2 team OG.

Dota 2 Team OG – Early beginnings

OG were born from the ashes of a not so popular team called (monkey) Business.

Johan “N0tail” Sundstein and Tal “Fly” Aizik, the founders of this team, met while competing in the game called Heroes of Newerth. After a while, they started playing Dota 2 together for esports organization Fnatic. They were tired of being tossed from team to team and never achieving anything. Finally, in August 2015, the famous duo ended up in a newly-formed team called (monkey) Business.

That team did not make any significant results and it was disbanded only 2 months later. The whole roster went to play for OG and that was the beginning of this legendary team. The legendary duo believed that the team has to stick together long enough in order to advance and they will be able to win anything. It was the fundamental idea on which, the team was created. That strategy may look good on paper, but in practice, it is almost impossible to pull off.

The first roster was comprised of N0tail, Fly, Amir "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi, Andreas Franck "Cr1t-" Nielsen, and David "MoonMeander" Tan.

The rise of the giant – Season 2015/2016

In their first season, OG already achieved what other teams could only dream about. They won the Frankfurt Major 2015 by defeating Team Secret 3:1, and they were first in DreamLeague Season 4.

After those wins, they stagnated for a few months, but they came back by winning DreamLeague Season 5, The Manila Major 2016, and ESL Frankfurt 2016. By winning these, OG qualified for The International 2016, and they were one of the favorites for winning it.

At The International 2016, OG dominated during the group stage and they finished first in the group with Evil Geniuses, Wings Gaming, and Alliance. However, in the main event, they lost against MVP Phoenix in the upper bracket. The lower bracket wasn’t so kind to them either and they lost against TNC Pro Team.

After those 2 loses, they were knocked out of the tournament ending up at the 9-12th spot. It put them on the map but it wasn’t even close to their expectations. They weren’t satisfied with that result and some roster changes had to be made. MoonMeander was removed, and Cr1t- and Miracle- left the team. They were replaced by Gustav "s4" Magnusson (former Alliance player), Jesse "Jerax" Vainikka (former Team Liquid player), and Anathan "ana" Pham.

The turning point – Season 2016/2017

With the new changes, season 2016/2017 started relatively strong. OG won The Boston Major 2016 after defeating Ad Finem 3:1 in the grand finals and became the first team to defend a Major title in Dota 2 history.

On top of that, they also won The Kiev Major 2017 after an incredible comeback against Virtus.pro.

og lifting the kiev major trophy

OG, the Kiev Major champions (Image credit: RedBull)

Two Major titles in that season only brought new problems for OG. In Epicenter 2017, they failed hard in the group stage and did not even qualified for the main event.

The International 2017 wasn’t any better. Their bad performance during the group stage barely got them to the lower bracket. In the end, LGD Gaming knocked them out in the third round, making them finish 7-8th. It wasn’t such a bad result but they knew they could do better.

Friends became strangers – Season 2017/2018

At the beginning of the 2017/2018 season, ana took a break from Dota 2 and was replaced by Roman "Resolut1on" Fominok. This season OG had a lot of disappointing results. They failed to qualify for 3 events, and their results in ESL One Katowice 2018, and The Bucharest Major were really bad.

The series of bad results only brought new problems. The newest roster member Resolut1on left the team and was replaced by the coach, Sébastien "7ckngMad" Debs (now known as Ceb). Due to the late roster changes, OG were not eligible to be directly invited to The International 2018. Even though they did earn a spot, the team had to go through the open qualifiers.

The rest of the season was also a disaster. They had great results during the group stages but failed to continue the dominance during the main stages of the event every single time.

Fly and N0tail drama

og founders fly and n0tail

Fly and N0tail (Image credit: RedBull)

N0tail and Fly, the founders of this team, had been friends for 9 years. They played almost 1500 matches together, more than any other duo ever in Dota 2 history.

However, after the loss at the ESL One Birmingham 2018, Fly broke the promise on which the team was created and unexpectedly left without any notice. After 2 full years of leading, developing and encouraging others to stay, he just decided to go somewhere else. Sometimes, money is more important than friendship. He also took s4 with him and they went to play for Evil Geniuses, the best team from the NA region.

On top of that, that incident happened only a few hours before the China Dota 2 Super Major which was also the last major of the season. Team OG had to withdraw from that tournament because they were 2 players short.

At that time, every good professional player was already in a team and it was almost impossible to find a replacement. 7mad even tried to sign mid-player Michael "mICKe" Vu from Alliance but it was a dead end.

Just before the open qualifiers for The International 2018, OG announced that ana was returning to the roster along with Topias Miikka "Topson" Taavitsainen who was not that well known at the time.

Cinderella story – The International 2018

Video credit: theScore esports via YouTube

Since the very establishment of the team, OG were always listed as one of the favorites to win TI. OG won 4 Major tournaments and every time The International came around, they were favorites. However, TI8 was the first International where OG didn’t stand a chance to win. The team was falling apart and they were a complete underdog. A new roster composed of new players with no trust and chemistry between them. Everything fell apart but they never gave up.

Open and regional qualifiers were a good test of OG's strength. They won every match without dropping a single round, until the finals where they won against Wind and Rain with 3:1 the final result.

With that win, they qualified for The International 2018. At The International 2018, they were placed in group A with Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, Mineski, PSG.LGD, Winstrike Team, VGJ.Thunder, and Invictus Gaming – all veterans on the field.

After two disappointing days, it looked like the group was just too strong and they wouldn't even make it to the main stage.

On the third day, OG finally started to play as a team and somehow they found themselves as a fourth-place team in Group A which gave them access to the upper bracket of the main stage. This was a great result for the team that just barely managed to make a roster for qualifiers.

The first match in the main event was against VGJ.Storm and OG won without dropping a single round.

The second match was against their rival Evil Geniuses. Of course, Team OG had a lot of bad blood with them because Fly and s4, who had abandoned them just before the last Major, were playing there. OG wanted revenge. As the underdog, they managed to win that match, get square with their rivals, and close that chapter.

With this win, OG were in the upper bracket final against PSG.LGD who had been in great form during the whole TI8.

OG becoming TI8 champions

OG becoming TI8 champions. (Image credit: OG via Twitter)

After fantastic 3 rounds, OG won against PSG.LGD and that victory secured them a spot in the Grand Finals. On the other side, PSG.LGD got knocked down to the lower bracket final and they had to play against Evil Geniuses. PSG.LGD won with 2-0 and got the second chance to play against OG. It was once again, Team OG vs PSG.LGD, only this time, it was a Bo5 match in the Grand Finals.

OG started the game well and they won the first round. However, PSG.LGT managed to come back into the match and they won the second and the third round. They were only 1 round away for the dream to come true. Unfortunately for them, OG won last 2 rounds and that was it, the end of the story. They were crowned as the champions of The International 2018. A fairytale ending for the ones who never gave up.

However, the story of OG isn’t over. Stay tuned for Part 2 and don’t forget to come back for more news and stories about Dota 2 here, at EarlyGame.

Antonio Kaurinovic

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