Steven R. March 31, 2019
The return of Anathan “ana” Pham has already paid off for OG.
After a tumultuous start to the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season, The International 2018 champions have finally qualified for a major. OG successfully worked its way into the MDL Disneyland Paris Major through a crowded European field.
OG began its journey in the group stages with a romp over SexyAsF, a Greek team largely comprised of former Ad Finem players. Despite their foes having some pedigree, OG had little difficulty taking the 2-0 win in just 51 minutes of game time.
The team’s next series opposite Team Secret started in inauspicious fashion. Despite holding out for an extended period of time, OG had no opportunity to mount any real offense, leading to 41-minute loss with a lopsided 45-11 kill tally. The second game was much more competitive as the two teams matched farm and experience for the first 30 minutes but the end result was ultimately the same, with Secret taking the series 2-0.
OG won its way into the upper bracket with a deciding showdown against The Final Tribe. While OG was looked shaky in the first game, Ana made his presence felt in a big way from there. Playing as Terrorblade in game two, he amassed a 13-0 K/D with 733 GPM. He only got better on Anti-Mage in game three, going 20-4 with 909 GPM and pushing OG forward.
Though it earned a spot in the upper bracket, the team suffered a setback against Team Liquid. After squandering a massive lead in game one, it bounced back with a big win in game two but was soundly defeated in game three.
OG rebounded in emphatic fashion by squashing Alliance to advance to the lower bracket finals. There the team rematched The Final Tribe and once again got the better of the Swedes, beating them 2-0 to lock up a spot in the major.
It’s a huge achievement for the OG lineup.
Despite its victory at The International 2018, OG has looked the part of a lower tier team in recent months. It turned down the opportunity to compete at the Kuala Lumpur Major and failed to qualify for both the Chongqing Major and DreamLeague Major. Missing those events forces OG into an uphill battle when it comes to qualifying for The International 2019.
Some of this can be chalked up to the team’s instability at the carry position. Ana went on hiatus after winning a TI championship, and substitutes Per Anders Olsson "Pajkatt" Lille and Igor "iLTW" Filatov couldn't fill the void. Impact players Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen and Johan "N0tail" Sundstein have also struggled in recent months.
Though OG’s problems ran deeper than just its carry position, the return of Ana seems to have sparked something in the team. The MDL Disneyland Major begins on May 4.