Despite being one of the favorites to win the tournament, the boys in blue were among the first teams sent home. Playing in a best-of-one in the first round of the lower bracket, EG was dealt a surprising loss from a shorthanded OG.
OG captain and support player Johan “N0tail” Sundstein was shelved for the team in Moscow due to health issues. Coach Titouan “Sockshka” Merloz has been competing as a substitute with less than ideal results. Though Sockshka is a former professional player who previously played for Sigma.int and Quantic Gaming, he stopped competing professionally in 2015 and looked rusty in the group stage as OG was relegated to the lower bracket.
Even at full strength, EG would have been favored, but a version of OG featuring a long-retired journeyman seemed like a slam dunk.
Things looked that way for a long while. EG preyed upon Sockshka early on, killing him five times in the first 20 minutes with Syed “SumaiL” Hassan and Artour “Arteezy” Babaev jumping out to a sizable gold lead as a result. At one point, Evil Geniuses’ was up 18,000 gold on OG, but the team wasn’t able to convert that into a high ground push.
Strong play from Anathan “ana” Pham allowed OG to hold their base, charge across the map, and clean out two lanes of barracks. OG was suddenly in the lead and they began to choke the life out of EG. They pressed the advantage, scored a team fight win, and forced out the GG call at the 51 minute mark.
It was a stunning win for OG given the circumstances, and one they sorely needed.
The champions of The International 2018 have had a rocky 2019 due to turnover at the carry position. Ana returned to the team in March following a lengthy hiatus and that has breathed new life into the organization. Still, the team needed to perform at the Epicenter Major in order to guarantee a direct invitation to The International 2019.
OG doesn’t yet have a spot mathematically guaranteed but the odds are certainly in their favor at this point. They can seal the deal by scoring another upset in the second round of the lower bracket, this time over Team Secret.