Three years ago, in 2015, when Valve started hosting the Majors between TIs, there was one team in particular that rose to the occasion. You guessed it, it was OG, or Monkey Business as they started out in the qualifiers of the Frankfurt Major, the first ever Dota 2 Major tournament. OG dominated the first year of Majors, winning two of the three. The next season, with a bit of a different squad, they managed to win both the Majors held in the season – the Boston Major and the Kiev Major. But somehow, the team just could not make a mark at The International. After TI 7, where OG finished 7th/8th, they signed Roman ‘Resolut1on’ Fominok, it seemed OG had finally found the missing piece to their puzzle in their quest for the Aegis. Reso had showed a dominant performance with Empire at The International 2017 and there was no way the team could go wrong replacing the inexperienced (but skillful) Anathan ‘ana’ Pham with him. But, it’s never the way it looks like on paper. The change did not work out, one thing led to another and by the end of the season, three of the members had left. Having no option but to withdraw from the last tournament of the DPC Season (the Dota 2 Supermajor), OG rebuilt the team with whatever they could find. Turns out, what they could find was more than decent as the team passed effortlessly through the TI 8 EU qualifiers. This year, unlike the past two years, OG will not come as one of the favorites. It was a different season for OG as compared to the ones we are used to seeing. Let’s see how it unfolded.
OG Current Roster:
Anathan ‘ana’ Pham
Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen
Sébastien ‘7ckngMad’ Debs
Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka
Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein
Total games played: 182
Games won: 119
Win rate: 65.38%
Games played on LAN: 96
Games won on LAN: 45
Win rate on LAN: 46.88%
Total heroes played: 110 (unpicked heroes – Bristleback, Enchantress, Meepo, Phantom Assasin, Riki)
Tournaments won: 1 (1 Minor)
The 2017-2018 DPC season started in a way they were not at all used to – qualifiers. Having dominated the scene for the past year and half, they would be invited to most events and not have to play qualifiers. But with a change in system, most teams had to go through qualifiers and OG found themselves competing with Team Secret for a solitary spot. Secret had had a change in personnel with Ace coming in for MP and were themselves on a trial period. As it turned out, Secret clicked immediately and OG just did not. And this was not just one qualifier, this was literally every qualifier played in. The first LAN event they made it to was Dota Pit in November, that too after beating Hellraisers 3-2 in a the grand finals of the qualifier. The four-time Major champions could not even make it to the first two Majors of the season! It was that bad. The initial verdict was that the team would require a bit of time to gel together. But later on, opinions changed and fingers started being pointed. Not everyone was on top of their game it showed. But in the middle of all the darkness, OG managed to illuminate their season by a surprising win at the MDL Macau Minor. Granted, the top teams were not participating and Virtus.pro were playing with a stand-in, but it was a win after all. OG took their good form to California and managed a 3rd/4th place finish at the Summit 8. As the year came to a close, it seemed OG had reversed their fortunes and were on the right track again. But that was nowhere close to the reality of things.
The new year did start off on a good not for OG as they got 3rd/4th place in the Captains Draft Minor. Additionally, the European outfit secured their first qualifications to Majors in the form of ESL One Katowice and PGL Bucharest. This season was laden with a lot of tournaments, but the start of February saw a few weeks with no LAN events. Additionally, ESL One Katowice was the first Major in nearly three months after Dream League Season 8 in November 2017. It was a tournament to look forward to and this was where OG had the chance to announce their arrival back with the big guns. But it didn’t happen. A 7th/8th place finish was followed by a 9th-11th place finish in Bucharest. Even though OG had started dominating the qualifiers, they just could not match up with the top teams at the LAN events. That was the final nail in the coffin for Reso as he left the team amicably. OG decided to promote coach Seb to an active roster player, but it never really worked out. OG could not achieve a top four finish in any of the tournaments to follow. But what happened after ESL One Birmingham was quite unexpected. Fly and s4 announced their departure from the team to join Evil Geniuses, another team having a nightmare of a season. It was unexpected as Fly is one of the founders of OG and has a stake in the organization. Additionally, Fly and N0tail are very close friends who have played together since their Heroes of Newerth days. For a team that always stressed on friendship, this was new and it left OG with three players just before the TI 8 qualifiers.
OG’s performance on the whole and on LAN for the 2017-2018 season
But OG have this very uncanny knack of picking up upcoming players and making them into superstars. They did it with Miracle and ana. This time, the organization decided to go with Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen, a player who was known from his stints in tier 2 and tier 3 teams, but one who had never fully realized his potential. Along with him, ana made a return after a failed stint with Echo International. And as the newcomers in the past have, Topson delivered with ana bringin back his dominating form from the past. In all this, the two main cores of OG changed positions. Seb went to position 3 while N0tail took his buddy Fly’s position 5. Jerax, the only player from the team who can hold his head high and say he has give it his best this season, remained at position 4. The new team annihilated opponents in the TI 8 EU qualifiers, losing only 2 of the 16 games they played!
There is not a lot to be discussed about the heroes played for this team as the current roster has played just 16 professional games. However, one hero that does stick out is Ember Spirit. OG have been putting ana on Ember in a lot of games and he has been delivering! That is one hero team will want to be vary of while playing against OG. Another one is Invoker. Even though OG called on his services only for three games, Invoker is one of Topson’s better heroes and with the recent buffs the hero has received, he is bound to be involved in a few of OG’s strats. N0tail’s transition back to support has been after a gap of 3 years since he played support for Cloud9 in 2015. For most parts, it has been quite smooth. Of the 16 games, 9 have been either on Witch Doctor or Warlock and that seems to be working for OG.
OG’s top 10 heroes in the TI 8 EU qualifiers
It has been a season of adversities for OG. But against all odds, the team has managed to fight them and make it to the biggest tournament of the year. No one really expects this OG team to win The International 2018. But given the quality in the team, it is not impossible for them to cause a few upsets and maybe make it into the top 6. The advantage this team has is that they have literally played just the TI 8 qualifiers as a five stack, so other teams going to The International have only those games to educate themselves about this team. It’s not everyday that a team forms just before TI and secures the qualification. A major factor will be to see how Topson performs against the best mid players in the business. Either way, this team has nothing to lose and everything to gain. The last two Tis, there were a lot of expectations from OG. But with the bar for expectations lowered quite a bit this year, we just might see some free flowing, quality Dota 2 from this team in Vancouver!
More TI8 team profiles:
– Virtus.pro – The CIS Team’s Final Frontier
– When Patience Pays Off: Mineski
– Beware of paiN Gaming
– China’s Best Hope: PSG.LGD Gaming
– Rise and Fall of a Chinese Giant: Newbee
– On the Verge of Making History: Team Liquid