OG’s journey to the top prize in Dota 2
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.