Sometimes doing what you love and being good at what you do can get you far. A very good example for that is OG’s mid laner Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen.
It was only two months ago when OG were dealing with an expected roster change from which they seem to have recovered nicely. The solution was to bring back their 2016-2017 mid laner Anathan “ana” Pham along with Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen, who for many strikes as a super fresh face on the professional scene. While Ana made his TI debut last year in Seattle, The Finish new core player of OG has been playing Dota 2 on a competitive level for about a year and a half.
November 2015 marked the first ever Dota 2 Major and witnessed the rise of OG. Through the entire next year OG would become the first ever team to claim three major titles and coincidence or not, 2016 was the year when Topson made his first appearance at a Dota 2 online event, with a full Finish team named Oogway.
Oogway didn’t last long but Topson remained determined to make his breakout. A year later, in the post TI7 shuffle, he got recruited by the Russian organization SFTe-sports. Despite being a Russian org, their Dota 2 team featured four players coming from Northern Europe, led by the CIS scene veteran Ilya “Illidan” Pivcaev. And that was Topson’s first big step towards a professional career. Under Illidan’s guidance, he started to show his potential and SFTe-sports won a few DPC events qualifiers battles that in theory they shouldn’t have.
In the open qualifiers for the first Minor of the season, they defeated 2-0 Aliwi “w33” Omar’s MidOrFeed team to make it in the closed regionals. A few days later, they made it again from opens to the closed qualifiers, this time in the contention for the European spot for the ESL One Hamburg Major. Here they proved to be a real contender as they took down 2-0 OG and Team Kinguin to reach the grand finals. They were defeated by Team Secret in the qualifiers grand finals, but for Topson this was one of the more important moments for his career. Defeating OG 2-0 got him noticed by the four times Major Champions. A month later, he and Johan “N0tail” Sundstein met again. It was the European qualifier LAN finals for WESG and N0tail was playing for the National Danish team while Topson was playing for Finland. The two never had a direct confrontation in Barcelona, however, while Topson qualified with his team for the $5.5M WESG Global Grand Finals, N0tail and the Danish Dynamite team did not.
Topson with Team Finland at WESG Barcelona – European LAN Finals
By the end of the 2017 year, SFT-esports dropped the entire squad but the five members continued to play together for a little bit longer under the No Rats tag and Topson got to fight against OG once more. It was in the regional qualifiers for the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor. No Rats made it to the qualifiers semi finals by besting The Final Tribe 2-1, but their journey was stopped by OG who took revenge for the Hamburg qualifiers loss.
At the beginning of 2018 Topson joined forces with his WESG teammates and entered the qualifiers race for DAC with 5 Anchors No Captain. He made it once again from opens to closed regionals and OG were the first team he had to fight. OG won 2-0 and ended up winning the tickets for DAC 2018.
The beginning of April 2018 marked the end of the road for 5 Anchors No Captain who disbanded right after taking 3rd place in the joinDOTA League Season 12 Europe. Topson didn’t join any other team, preferring instead to focus on streaming. There was not much left from the DPC season, just two Majors and the Supermajor were on the schedule before the TI8 Qualifiers. OG were already out of contention for DPC points after their roster change from March. However, despite them not doing particularly well, they were slowly improving and there was hope that the team would get back in shape in time to claim their TI 8 tickets via qualifiers. ESL One Birmingham, the last Major in the DPC system had a strong impact on the scene and opened the doors for Topson to make his breakout. The OG members woke up one day to find out that Fly and s4 decided to make a region swap and join Evil Geniuses.
With less than two weeks before the TI8 open qualifiers, OG announced Topson joining their ranks in the mid lane. Coach Seb moved to the offlane and Ana, the TI7 OG mid laner returned to the team to take the carry position. At a first glance these look like changes that would require months for all the players to accommodate with. But the clock was ticking and OG’s ace in the sleeve was their two new recruits. OG already knew that Ana can swap between position 1 and 2. He did it before, when N0tail was OG’s carry. Topson, despite his youth and lack of experience, has a rather wide hero pool that allows him to play any of the three core roles. OG already saw him bouncing between mid, offlane and carry positions depending on what SFT-esports and 5 Anchors No Captain needed. So, it was just a matter of trust and quick bonding for them to claim the one spot available for the European region at Valve’s most important tournament of the year.
photo credits: OG
Before joining OG, Topson’s most played heroes were Invoker, Arc Warden and Monkey King. Without too much time at their disposal to train Topson for new heroes, OG played around him and let the youngster go mid lane with his Invoker winning all the matches with this hero. However, Topson’s most played hero in the TI8 qualifiers is Windranger. All in all, he played eight different heroes, including Bloodseeker, Zeus, Ember Spirit and a core Skywrath Mage. Seb drafted Monkey King for Topson just twice. The first time Topson took the hero offlane while Ana played in the mid lane on ember Spirit and Seb was a safe lane Lycan. The second MK for Topson was played mid lane and OG lost that match. Luckily it was a bo3 in the winner’s finals against Wind and Rain where OG could recover to make it to the grand finals where they defeated WaR once again to book their trip to Vancouver, Canada.
From all the TI8 newcomers, Topson had the fastest ascension. TI8 will mark his first big LAN. The other LAN apparition of his was at WESG Global Grand Finals earlier this year in China and OG will have a hell of job to help him keep his nerves in check once he will step on the big stage. Until then, OG, Topson and all the other 15 teams participating this year at TI8, will have to earn their place into the main event via group stage matches which are just five days away.