OG clutch out a 5 game series for a chance to defend their championship title at The International 10. Opponents Tundra put up an incredible fight.
Two teams who have had rough seasons ended up in the final battle for a spot at The International 10. Reigning champions OG and the rising stars of Tundra clashed for the single slot from the Western Europe Qualifiers.
Fortunately for OG, if you have to defend the throne, it helps to have the King (SumaiL) on your side. After a 5-game slog of a series, OG managed to tough it out and get their chance to defend their title at The International 10. A $40 million event.
Following the victory, OG's Sebastien "Ceb" Debs commended Tundra for their "Insane dota" and said they forced OG to reinvent themselves. "Honestly this season and qualifier has been the hardest battle of my entire career. I am so proud of my team and everyone around us, the resilience and energy we showed made the difference," said Ceb.
A Disappointing Start
OG has a had rough ride this year. The defending TI champs started out their DPC season playing with SEA phenom Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng. Having mediocre results, OG were unable to qualify for the Singapore Major after getting knocked out in the tiebreaker for the wildcard spot.
Unsatisfied with their results in the first season, OG brought back their original TI winning carry player Anathan "ana" Pham. The two-time TI winner had come off of an almost 2-year break of playing Dota. After a decent start to the season, OG again fell off in a tiebreaker series and were unable to qualify to the Animajor. Shortly after, ana officially announced his retirement from professional Dota.
A New Hope
Looking for hope in the tough TI Qualifier, OG turned to another old teammate, this time placing trust in NA prodigy Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan. He would now be playing carry, a role which he rose to swimmingly. Placing decently in the ESL One Summer tournament, OG looked good to place well or even win the hyper competitive WEU Qualifiers.
OG had to fight with every breath to make it to the grand finals. Every single series they played, barring the winners bracket final match against Tundra, were 2-1 series. The only 2-0 was their lost against Tundra. Clawing back from that loss, OG managed to beat Nigma with some clever strategies including a crazy stacking Johan "N0tail" Sundstein Chen in game 1 and 3.
A Battle for it All
It all came down to the rematch against Tundra. Tundra started off strong with a huge comeback win off the back of Leon "Nine" Kirilin’s Lina. But OG fired back in game 2 up against an Anti-Mage draft, managing to pick off Tundra when they were out of position and beat them back.
In game 3, despite what looked to be an outdraft by OG, Tundra surprised everyone with another round of mid Winter Wyvern that decimated the ranks of OG’s heroes. Still not ones to give up, OG turned back to the classic Sébastien "Ceb" Debs Axe to turn the game around. Putting SumaiL on one of his best heroes, Templar Assassin, he was able to split push the map and decimate heroes with his damage.
It was the same story in game 5, the pivotal match decider. Despite an rough start in the early game, one pivotal team fight changed the course of the series, and SumaiL’s damaged proved to be too much for the Tundra lineup to handle. In the clutch moments, SumaiL appeared to rise to the occasion.
The King's Speech - OG's Sumail post-win
It was fitting then that SumaiL was interviewed at the end of the game. When asked about the difference in his teammates of Team Liquid, who he stood in for in the second DPC season, SumaiL chalked it up to mindset differences.
He went on to explain that pressure is what really makes or breaks a team: “It doesn’t matter how good you are, what strategies you have, if you’re not comfortable, confident, it’s gonna bite you in the end.” SumaiL seemed to think that it was OG’s supreme confidence that led to them to clutch out this crucial series.
This series concludes all of the qualifiers for TI, which will now be held in October, leaving a 3-month gap in Dota events for now. For coverage of whatever Dota comes up, and all your other favorite esports, stick with us here at esports.gg!