While the two-time TI winners looked invincible in their first series against Brame, Alliance brought their own heat to stop OG in their tracks.
OG had all eyes on them coming into Season 2 of the EU DPC. With TI looming on the horizon, they announced the return of their legendary carry Anathan "Ana" Pham. This change follows a disappointing Season 1, after OG failed to qualify for the Singapore Major. Fans were hopeful that Ana, now nicknamed humblegod, would help OG return to their TI-winning form. After a thunderous debut in week 1, OG ran into trouble in the form of Alliance in week 2.
Week 1: Quick recap of OG's dominant debut match
OG's opening match was against Brame, the fiery squad formed from ex-members of Ad Finem. The Greeks had just been promoted from Division 2, and were looking to prove they belong in Division 1.
With the humblegod back at their side though, OG showed everyone why they were once called the best team in the world. Their signature non-stop aggression and team synergy made it seem like he had never left.
Humblegod had stellar performances on Juggernaut and Phantom Lancer and made his home in Brame's fountain. They ended up crushing the Greeks 2-0 in a fashion reminiscent of their TI 9 winning form.
The OG magic seemed to have returned - or so we thought.
Week 2: The Iron Wall of The Alliance
OG's real test came in Week 2 against Alliance. After falling early out of the Singapore Major at 13th place, many questioned if Alliance were really the squad that finished 2nd in the EU Regional Leagues.
Game 1 : OG Whips Out A Timeless Combo
Game 1 saw an OG lineup that looked like it could've been from a couple of patches ago.
They drafted the newly buffed Faceless Void along with Topson's signature Invoker for the big Chrono-Cataclysm combo. In response, Alliance picked up survivable cores in Centaur, DK and Juggernaut. They also had Handsken's Shadow Demon to save any ally caught in the Chrono.
The first 20 minutes saw non-stop fighting, as the teams bashed heads relentlessly. The early-game culminated into a 2 minute-long bloodbath of a team-fight near the pit. While OG seemed to have the upper hand, Alliance used key buybacks to win the fight and take the first Rosh for themselves.
With Aegis on Nikobaby's Jugg, Alliance bee-lined towards OG's mid tier 2 tower. A crucial Chrono from humblegod catching the Alliance backline broke the fight open for OG. The cores of Alliance could do little but run without their supports.
OG took this inch and made it a mile, chaining successful team-fights into objectives. Before Alliance could muster a response, they found humblegod knocking on their high ground. With his back against a wall, Nikobaby eventually got caught outside their base by Saksa's Earth Spirit. Even without a Chrono, OG was simply too far ahead, and struck down Nikobaby with a Cataclysm to secure the first match.
Game 2 - [A]nything You Can Do, I Can Do Better
Going into Game 2, Alliance decided to pick up humblegod's Faceless Void for themselves with a Snapfire to combo with instead. On top of that, they drafted to combat OG's aggression through picks like S4's Timber and Limmp's signature Tiny. On the OG side, they had Topson and Ceb on their comfort heroes in Riki and Magnus. The game plan was one they'd done time and time again: empower humblegod's PA and watch him go BRRR.
The early game was once again a massacre, to no one's surprise. With the set-up from N0tail's Elder Titan and Saksa's Lina, OG got Topson off to a hot start. Of course, in typical Topson style, he danced around Alliance with individual outplays as well.
Not to be outdone, Limmp made use of the space to farm a Blink Dagger, and from there it was go time for Alliance.
In the game defining fight for the 2nd Roshan, right before getting RP-ed by Ceb's Magnus, Nikobaby pulled out a fat 3-man Chrono to snowball the game in Alliance's favor.
OG weren't completely out of the game, thanks to fancy moves from Topson with his Sleep Dart and Spell Prism, but it was clear that Alliance's lead was turning insurmountable. In the end, Nikobaby even dove OG's fountain, giving humblegod a taste of his own medicine. Unable to push the Alliance out of their base, OG were forced to concede Game 2.
Game 3 - We've Seen It Before, We're Seeing It Again
With the series on the line, both teams opted for their trump cards, picking humblegod his TI winning Spectre, and Nikobaby his signature one-versus-five Morphling.
Despite both Spectre and Morphling being considered weak early on, Fng's Undying got Nikobaby off to a hot start. On the other side of the map, OG's safe lane duo could do little to threaten S4. OG's relative lack of disable came back to bite them, as what looked like a free pick-off on the Centaur turned into a Nikobaby triple kill.
With the map opening up, Alliance managed to pick off humblegod not once but twice within 2 minutes. The enemy carry slain, Alliance marched straight into the Rosh pit. OG weren't going to make it that easy though. With humblegod respawning with Haunt, they took their first successful team fight thanks to a perfect Vacuum set-up from Ceb.
Even though OG had a few decent fights in the mid-game, they simply couldn't burst through the Morphling. Nikobaby was well aware of this, and played fearlessly - netting himself another triple kill.
At this point, Nikobabypicked up a 21 minute Skadi. Between the Cold Attack item passive, and Fng's Flesh Golem damage amp, Alliance easily sliced up the once "tanky" cores of OG. Sensing blood in the air, Alliance surged forward and eventually team-wiped OG in front of their own mid racks.
In what was the beginning of the end, OG attempted a last-ditch effort to take Roshan. Alliance easily smacked OG into the ground, killing humblegod who just bought back.
This was enough to seal the deal for Alliance as they took Game 3, and the series under their belt. Nikobaby ended the game with a perfect 22/0/9 score.
The Revival Of EU Dota?
Despite being stopped in their tracks, OG's "new" roster has definitely revitalized the team. The level of Dota in the EU region has increased exponentially since Season 1, and it's clear from how competitive the games have been thus far.
The era of Secret's untouchable dominance seems to be ending, with the standings looking unlike anyone could've predicted.
We still have 2 weeks of exciting games up ahead, and with the way the games are going, any team could beat another it seems. This is good news for Dota 2 fans as that just means no more one-sided stomps.