Steven R. March 10, 2019
Struggles continue for the defending TI champions.
Entering the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor following a string of rough outings, OG was dealt another tough blow. Despite entering as one of the favorites to win the tournament, OG washed out of the event with a fifth-place finish after failing to advance out of the group stage.
OG’s minor run started with a showdown opposite Russian stack Old but Gold. Though OG was hammered in its first game, the team settled down and evened the series with a dominant win in the second. The third game saw a sloppy performance from both teams as OG gave away kills while Old but Gold failed to capitalize on ensuing opportunities. A monster performance from carry Ilya "Illidan" Pivcaev allowed Old but Gold to seal things up 2-1.
OG stayed alive with a strong showing against Royal Never Give Up. After dominating the first game in a 27-minute stomp, OG ran off to an early lead in the second only to have RNG stage a massive rally. While the Chinese team managed to climb its way out of a 16K net worth disadvantage, it couldn’t crack OG’s solid base defense.
OG held on to take a 2-0 series win and advance to an elimination rematch with Old but Gold.
The final series started with two lopsided games, as Old but Gold dominated the first game while OG returned the favor in the second. The deciding game was an almost exact remake of the first, with OG farming well initially but handing the Russians too many openings around the map. Though it took a while to finish, Old but Gold was eventually able to take advantage for the 2-1 series win.
That resulted in OG unceremoniously exiting the event in fifth place, falling well short of qualifying for the Stockholm Major.
It’s a terribly familiar position for OG.
While the team entered the season coming off an epic victory at The International 2018, it has struggled to remain competitive since. The departure of carry player Anathan "ana" Pham saw OG struggle to field a roster and miss out on the first major of the season. While it eventually found a solid replacement in Igor "iLTW" Filatov, the team hasn’t been nearly as potent in the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season.
Competing in a deep European field, OG has struggled to qualify for prominent events. Johan "N0tail" Sundstein and company watched the Chongqing Major from afar after similarly flopping in qualifiers and washing out early from the Bucharest Minor. OG has stayed active in smaller tournaments but hasn’t found serious success there either, failing to make the finals of events like ESL One Katowice and AMD Dota 2 Pro Series.
Though the team is mechanically gifted and has a championship pedigree, it doesn’t feel like a legitimate threat to win at any given event. It’s hard to shake the feeling that a big change could be around the corner.