Lots of teams say that they just want to play to have fun at important tournaments. OG actually means it.
Despite having tens of millions of dollars on the line, the reigning champions have taken a stunningly casual approach to The International 2019. The greatest example of this came during their first series on the main stage opposite Newbee.
On the tail end of an engagement in the second game, captain Johan “N0tail” Sundstein was taken down by illusions from Johan “pieliedie” Åström’s Shadow Demon. It was a strange kill that largely went unnoticed as the attention turned to a larger fight on the other side of the map. An intrigued user on Reddit went back and looked to see what caused N0tail’s death.
The answer? OG carry Anathan “ana” Pham intentionally got him killed by body blocking him so he couldn’t escape the illusions. After his death, Ana promptly uses the “My Bad” chat wheel selection to seemingly joke about it.
OG had a considerable lead by that point, but it’s not something one would ever expect to see in the middle of a pro game. Never mind a pro game at The International. It’s a hilarious play that is indicative of OG’s cavalier approach at the event.
The team had rocky 2018-2019 season, struggling to deal with Ana’s post-The International 2018 hiatus. Despite finding able replacements at the carry position, they consistently struggled in the first half of the season. Even after Ana’s return, the team did not look extraordinary at events like the MDL Disneyland Paris Major and ESL One Birmingham.
Once TI9 came around, the team suddenly returned to form.
OG put on a stellar performance in the loaded Group B, racking up a 14-2 record. Though OG largely did this by playing rock solid Dota 2, they still found the opportunity to dunk on opponents with unorthodox strategies and compositions including their shockingly effective core Io lineup.
It doesn’t seem like OG is even taking TI completely seriously at this point, but it’s impossible to ignore the results.
The big question right now is whether they will be able to retain their composure going forward. They’ve been able to take a casual approach throughout TI9 but are now stepping into a heated grudge match with Evil Geniuses in the upper bracket semifinals.
OG will no doubt be actively looking to win this one, and that might not be ideal when they’ve been thriving by playing so loose.