Neslyn A. August 19, 2019
The International 2018 champions look poised to take another Aegis.
OG were the standout performers of The International 2019’s group stage, taking first place in Group B with quirky drafts and well-executed strategies. The team won six series and defeated strong competition including Evil Geniuses and Virtus.pro, amassing a 14-2 record. That score beats out Group A’s top team, PSG.LGD, who finished at 13-3.
Although OG started the group stage with a 1-1 series against Natus Vincere, they rebounded later in the day by thrashing Infamous. The team then went undefeated in the second and third days of the group stage, with the only other blemish coming on day four when they went 1-1 in a series with Vici Gaming.
Though the stakes were high, OG showed a willingness to try new things during the group stage. The team won two games against Ninjas in Pyjamas with a wildly unconventional carry build on Io. OG also made a bold Techies pick in one of their games against Vici Gaming, which they ultimately lost.
Vici Gaming took the second upper bracket spot with an 11-5 record. While OG looked stronger than anyone else in the group, the two-time major winners still look like a strong candidate to win TI9.
In third place, Evil Geniuses came back from an ugly 1-5 start to the group stage after dropping 0-2 series to OG and Fnatic. That start had some fans feeling worried, but they showed they remain a serious contender by taking a 2-0 win over Vici Gaming.
OG and Evil Geniuses both have the chance to make Dota 2 history.
No player and no organization has ever become two-time The International champions. The entire TI8-winning lineup of OG is returning with the team for TI9, while Evil Geniuses won The International 2015 with current mid laner Syed “SumaiL” Hassan. It also has TI3 winner Gustav "s4" Magnusson playing in the offlane.
Virtus.pro secured the last upper bracket spot for Group B with an 8-8 record. The team climbed its way out of an early hole but is still entering the main event looking somewhat shaky.
Infamous, Fnatic, Natus Vincere, and Royal Never Give Up survived the group and will start their main event journey in the lower bracket. Finally, Ninjas in Pyjamas were eliminated after an ugly 3-13 performance.