Anathan “ana” Pham isn’t playing pro Dota 2 these days, but his spirit lives on with his former team.
OG is competing in Omega League’s Europe Immortal division and won its second group stage match against Ninjas in Pyjamas. Both games featured OG carry player Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng playing carry Io, a unique take on what is traditionally a hard support hero.
ana showed the power of core Io at The International 2019, but nerfs seemingly killed the hero’s viability in this role. MidOne was forced to take the hero in a very different direction than ana did, but core Io still looked incredibly powerful in the series.
Ana’s core Io revolved around the power of Spirits at the time, which could be amplified through multiple talents and Aghanim’s Scepter. If ana was able to hit level 15 and purchase Agh’s in a timely manner, it combined to be a very strong power spike.
Valve nerfed this approach to Io out of existence shortly after TI9, but that didn’t deter MidOne. Instead of building up Io around Spirits, MidOne built the hero up as a basic attacker to great effect.
MidOne builds carry Io for success vs NiP
As with ana’s core Io, MidOne’s first big purchase was a Helm of the Dominator. The item serves a number of different purposes for Io, allowing the player to control a creep that can be used to farm the jungle more efficiently and hang around as a partner for Tether. From there, he completed small early game items in Magic Wand and Ring of Basilius.
The first big mid-game item he goes for is Heaven’s Halberd, an item that serves as a strong counter to most opposing carries and a great option for increasing Io’s tankiness.
The next item from there is situational, but revolves around giving Io the ability to heal in some way. In the first game this came through an Essence Ring while in the second, it came from Vladimir’s Offering. In both cases, the items gave MidOne much-needed sustainability as well as extra effects for Topias Miikka “Topson” Taavitsainen. From there, it was all about attack speed through items that upgrade Hyper Stones such as Assault Cuirass and Mjolnir.
All of this adds up to Io being a strong damage-dealing threat that can also complement his mid laners.
OG won the series against NiP in convincing 2-0 fashion, taking both games with massive kill differentials. This advances OG to 2-0 in series and 4-1 on maps in the Omega League group stage. The team will next face FlyToMoon.