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Topson and SumaiL / OG

OG wins TI10 qualifiers, will have chance to defend title

The International 2018 and 2019 champion OG has secured the 18th and final slot at The International 2021 with a 3-2 victory over Tundra Esports.

TI10 will be OG’s fifth consecutive year attending The International. The two-time championship squad have continued the streak of qualifying as underdogs. The battle for over $40,000,000 will take place in Bucharest, Romania starting October 7.

OG’s perilous upper bracket run ended with a 0-2 loss to Tundra Esports in the winner’s final. A heartbreaking victory over Team Nigma gave OG one last chance in the grand finals. A hard-fought victory over Tundra means that Johan "N0tail" Sundstein and company have a shot at becoming three-time The International champions.

 

The inaugural match was an hour-long slugfest that was taken over by Tundra’s Leon "Nine" Kirilin. His Lina racked up 45,100 net worth with 17 kills. Game two was another back-and-forth affair featuring coordinated team fights from both sides. OG eventually stormed Tundra’s base with 810 GPM on SumaiL’s Terrorblade. 

The third game looked like a complete out-draft for OG, but a standout performance from Nine’s unanticipated mid-lane Winter Wyvern put his team on match point. OG responded to the pressure with a safe lane Templar Assassin for Syed "SumaiL" Hassan, who ended the match with 13 kills and 820 GPM.

Tundra once again took the early lead in game five, but OG’s highly mobile cores were able to outmaneuver Nine’s Winter Wyvern. A series of questionable early plays from Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen was quickly amended with successful ganks all over the map. After constricting Tundra’s map control and taking two sets of barracks, OG sealed their victory with expert positioning around their carry as SumaiL took command once again to seal the series for OG. 

Are OG the favorites for The International 10?

While this qualifier win was a very big deal for the struggling roster, it’s still difficult to call OG a TI10 favorites. In the second Dota Pro Circuit season, N0tail’s team came within just one match of being relegated to the lower division. OG certainly wasn’t the favorite going into the Western Europe qualifier, but underdog status is effectively a power-up for the reigning TI champs.

Their lack of recent LAN experience doesn’t help OG's case. The squad failed to qualify for either the Singapore Major or WePlay AniMajor. N0tail's have been locked to playing other European teams for the entire year. Then again, OG won both TIs right after slumps.

While OG certainly has an X-factor from its reigning champion status, it’s hard to place them over PSG.LGD, T1, or even fellow Europeans Team Secret. While they’re statistically below a lot of their competition, no other team carries momentum at TI like OG. Hard support Martin "Saksa" Sazdov is the only OG player that hasn't won an Aegis of Champions, and even he reached the grand finals of The International in 2016. Pressure is almost a non-factor. Regardless of their eventual placing, fans can look forward to whatever cool tech OG discovers in the upcoming balance patch.

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