Cin­derella Story

OG’s jour­ney to the top prize in Dota 2

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The In­ter­na­tional 2018—Valve’s Dota 2 mega-tour­na­ment— com­bined a Re­lo­cate from Seat­tle to Van­cou­ver (a lit­tle Io joke for those of you pay­ing at­ten­tion to the cur­rent meta) with spec­tac­u­lar pro gam­ing and dra­matic sto­ry­lines for one of its best years yet. The stars of the show this year were OG, whose jour­ney to the $11m USD prize forms one of those amaz­ing es­ports fairy­tale nar­ra­tives. The last day be­gan with the lower bracket fi­nals where PSG.LGD (a Chi­nese squad which has part­nered with Paris-Saint Ger­main’s es­ports wing) took on Evil Ge­niuses. Both teams ended up in the lower bracket af­ter tus­sling with OG, so who­ever won here would earn a re­match.

A lit­tle back­story: Evil Ge­niuses won The In­ter­na­tional in 2015. No or­ga­ni­za­tion has ever lifted the tro­phy twice, so EG rep­re­sented this year’s only re­main­ing chance at fi­nally see­ing a re­peat win. The last re­main­ing player from that 2015 lineup, Su­mail ‘Su­maiL’ Has­san, and Gus­tav ‘s4’ Mag­nus­son, would be the first play­ers to hoist the tro­phy a se­cond time (s4 was part of the 2013 win­ning team, Al­liance).

Fill­ing out the re­main­der of EG’s 2018 lineup were Ar­tour ‘Ar­teezy’ Babaev, An­dreas ‘Cr1t-’ Nielsen and Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik. Fly, Cr1t- and s4 used to play for OG—Fly was ac­tu­ally a co­founder of that team along with Jo­han ‘BigDad­dyN0­tail’ Sund­stein. While Cr1t- de­parted back in 2016, Fly and s4 quit just be­fore a Ma­jor

The In­ter­nati onal acted as a prov­ing ground for former al­lies

event which OG were forced to drop out of as they scram­bled for re­place­ments.

The In­ter­na­tional thus acted as a prov­ing ground for former al­lies. To get a sense of the at­mos­phere be­tween the teams, just take a look at YouTube clips show­ing the mo­ment where Fly and N0­tail shake hands post-match, or the fan spec­u­la­tion over whether Cr1t- shoul­der-check­ing N0­tail back­stage was on pur­pose or by ac­ci­dent. But EG had to make do with third place (and $2.6m).

fight to the fin­ish

The grand fi­nal pit­ted OG against LGD—the or­ga­ni­za­tion which ended OG’s run last year. OG won the first game of the best-of-five but LGD dom­i­nated the next two. OG fans have watched the team choke at pre­vi­ous In­ter­na­tion­als so this seemed wor­ry­ingly fa­mil­iar.

But the fourth game was spec­tac­u­lar. OG turned what looked like a com­pre­hen­sive body­ing into an ac­tion­packed win. LGD went down in a cloud of Phan­tom Lancer il­lu­sions and Axe dunks. Game five sealed the deal. LGD seemed to have the up­per hand, only for OG to rip them apart in a piv­otal fight around the Roshan pit. In the end it took just 36 min­utes for OG (and cap­tain N0­tail) to fi­nally se­cure the Aegis. Philippa Warr

OG ex­am­ine the Aegis of Cham­pi­ons.

ABOVE, TOP: Some­times dogs hap­pen be­cause, well, es­ports.

ABOVE, BOT­TOM: With so much on the line, The In­ter­na­tional has amaz­ing highs and dev­as­tat­ing lows.

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