Steven R. March 27, 2019
OpenAI is back and it is set to take on its greatest challenge yet.
The complex artificial intelligence is set to take on reigning The International 2018 champions OG in a showmatch. The announcement was made by the team on Facebook.
“To me the most fascinating thing is to see how the machine finds its way to break the game, and how it will clash with the human way,” OG support player Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka said. “This event will be a big learning experience as we will get a glimpse of how the machine prioritizes resources and utilizes heroes.”
OpenAI publicly debuted at The International 2017 winning a one vs. one game against one of Dota 2’s most popular players, Danil “Dendi” Ishutin. From there, professionals and casuals alike were challenged to face OpenAI at the event, with many marveling at the AI’s prowess.
In 2018, OpenAI began taking on challenges in team environments with the squad being named OpenAI Five. Though the games used a limited rule set that barred most of the game’s heroes and gave each player its own dedicated courier, having any level of success in a situation with that many variables would be a triumph for an artificial intelligence.
The OpenAI Five made its first public appearance in August 2018 playing opposite “Team Human,” a squad that included pro offlaner David "MoonMeander" Tan alongside a group of Dota 2 broadcasters and analysts. Though the AI managed to come out on top then, that success did not translate to facing teams of actual pro players.
At The International 2018, OpenAI Five played a pair of unsuccessful showmatches. Though it had a competitive opening against South America’s PaiN Gaming, it found less success against Big God, a stack comprised of Chinese veterans including Luo "Ferrari_430" Feichi and Zhang "xiao8" Ning. In both games, OpenAI demonstrated an effective ability to team fight but struggled with more nuanced aspects of the game like itemization and farming.
Though OpenAI Five hasn’t been seen publicly since, OpenAI chairman Greg Brockman put out an open call for Dota 2 teams on Twitter in January. OG captain Johan "N0tail" Sundstein was quick to answer that call.
Since capturing the Aegis of Champions at TI8, OG has been struggling to find success in tournaments. It has failed to qualify for any majors to this point in the Dota Pro Circuit season and fizzled in other tournaments including ESL One Katowice and AMD Dota 2 Pro Series 2018, though it could be poised for another return to form after reuniting with carry player Anathan “ana” Pham.
Regardless of those recent issues, OG represents the greatest challenge OpenAI has faced to date. The match is set to take place in San Francisco on April 13.