Why 2018-19’s OG is the best example of Dota excellence

When you think about success in esports, you will always think of who has been the most successful in the biggest tournaments. In League of Legends, you have T1, and in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you have Astralis. In Dota 2, OG is the winningest squad that every team looks up to.

Ever since they were established back in 2015, OG has been one of the most consistent teams in the Dota 2 pro scene. They were created by Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik and Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein and they were built around the concept of friendship and loyalty. They managed to win four Valve Majors together but their once-spotless relationship became blemished when Fly left the team to join Evil Geniuses in 2018. 

After he left, N0tail was left to build the team back up with coach turned player Sébastien ‘Ceb’ Debs and Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka. They brought in Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen and old teammate Anathan ‘ana’ Pham to round out the lineup just before TI8. 

They had low expectations at the time but they managed to go on a Cinderella run as they won the biggest Dota 2 tournament in the world. Some people deemed it as a fluke win that led to the next TI in 2019 as they proved that they are the best team of all time with another victory. While they have all parted ways, they left a lasting impression on the Dota 2 scene. Let’s discuss why they are the symbols of excellence in Valve’s flagship MOBA game.

OG proved chemistry is key to success

While there were rightfully many doubters before their TI8 run, the team built immense chemistry behind the scenes. That is what fans do not see because they are not only teammates but they treat each other like family. It is a sign that the team is cohesive because they made sure to build relationships with each other that will also help them in the game. 

You can see that ana and N0tail have a little and big brother dynamic which is evidenced by how they were lane partners. Ana is obviously the hard carry that farms creep while N0tail is the support that ensured the carry with the farm that he needed to keep up with the enemy.

On the other hand, Ceb and JerAx were lane partners and you can tell that they have a quiet relationship with each other but when needed, they always spoke out. Ceb is the more talkative of the two players because he is the voice of the team. Before he joined the team as a player, he was the coach which meant that he already had an authoritative presence that seamlessly transitioned into the offlane role. 

Topson was the quiet yet explosive mid laner that completed the dynamic of this team. They were all special players but their best asset had to be their chemistry. It looked like every player on the team knew what each other was doing which is not a skill that is taught. That kind of chemistry comes naturally and OG managed to prove that building that kind of dynamic is the key to their success in both TI8 and TI9.

OG was always ahead in the meta

The Dota 2 metagame is always changing every few months but in that span, you will see players and teams ensuring that they are doing their best to take advantage of the patch’s strongest hero. This is not only contained to the heroes because items and game mechanics are also important to how the meta works.

Back in TI8, there was no true number one hero but during OG’s run, their ace was Earthshaker used by JerAx. They picked up that hero when they needed a team fight ace but also as an initiator. However, when it was picked against them, they also knew what to do when they picked Rubick in the fifth game of the Grand Finals to win the title. Another factor that people tend to forget about is OG’s use of buybacks in this tournament as they kept fighting knowing they have another life waiting for them.

At TI9, everyone knows about how they used Io en route to a dominant run. That kind of run was special because OG had a hero that would always be banned against them. Their Io was a special monster because it was one of the strongest heroes that Dota 2 has ever seen. Thankfully, that has been patched out of the game because it was too strong. 

OG overcame adversity

OG faced tons of problems during their run. The most prominent has to be Fly leaving the team because he was a co-founder and the captain. N0tail managed to rebuild the team and he led the new ship as its captain. 

However, that was not the only adversity that this two-time TI-winning squad faced. Before TI9, the team being labelled flukes was at an all-time high but they used it as motivation for their eventual run towards back-to-back TI wins. They were not a strong team outside of TI but they proved that they deserved to be called the best team of all time because of how they managed to step up during the hardest times. 

Every OG player represented their roles well

From the hard carry to the hard support, every OG player was rock-solid. Here are the reasons why they were filled with strong players in every position: 

  • Ana was the quintessential hard carry for the team as he truly kept them afloat when they needed him. He was always a stellar farmer but you can always count on him to make quick decisions that can end up winning the game. That kind of play was crucial for their success as he truly carried the teams to victory.
  • Topson is an unorthodox player but he always made it work. He was a wild card for the team which is needed in any top team. He is the type of player who is hard to prepare for because you could never expect what he will do. Thankfully, he thrives in those situations which led to two TI wins.
  • Ceb was the stable leader from the offlane that you can rely on to step up when the other two core players were struggling. He was the type of player who knew his role as an offlaner and he was always willing to serve as their tank.
  • JerAx is the team’s unsung hero because he was their ace at the playmaker role. He was crucial to the team’s success with his excellence with playmaking heroes and this led to supreme success.
  • Lastly, N0tail was not only reliable support but he was the captain and emotional leader. You can always see him trying to lift his team’s spirits and it worked almost every time. He is the most successful Dota 2 player of all time and it’s not a surprise because he is the optimal teammate.

Those were the top reasons why OG is the symbol of excellence in Dota 2. If you are looking for a set of players to emulate, you should look back at the principles that OG operated on. They were a team built through friendship but also trust in each other’s abilities. That kind of success can serve as inspiration for your future Dota matches.