Two Time TI Champions OG Eliminated From Dota 2’s TI10
OG Esports had one of the best storylines heading into the Dota 2 TI10. The group of friends that banded together under difficult circumstances would go from qualifiers at TI8 to become one of the most dominant teams in the history of Dota 2’s The International. Many suspected that OG in their current state would repeat the winning narrative that led them to the Aegis in 2018: a team united by fate fighting through the qualifiers, fighting from the bottom, to make it to the grand final of the event and win it all in a flashy and exuberant way. With the addition of SumaiL to the OG Esports roster, many felt certain that OG would once again grip gold at the Dota 2 TI10.
Unfortunately, their TI10 run was cut short today. But what fatal mistakes and missteps could have occurred to keep OG away from their third win at Dota 2’s The International? What has it been about TI10 that lured OG into a false safety that Team Spirit preyed upon?
Kings Losing Their Crown – Context Behind OG’s Loss at TI10
The hero pool for safelane carries have historically been dry during the 2020-2021 professional Dota 2 season, but the latest series of patches for Dota 2 have been working to improve the diversity of heroes that can succeed in the role. At TI10, Tiny sits at the third most picked safelane carry, just behind Luna and Terrorblade, according to statistics provided by datdota. In picks and bans overall, Tiny ranks 12th as one of the most contested heroes at TI10.
Tiny’s popularity as a safe lane carry comes from his explosive burst and natural tankiness, which makes him formidable at nearly all parts of the game. This clip by pro player Sneyking really exemplifies how strong Tiny is with just a handful of items and levels.
The strength of Tiny as a hero and his scalability made OG feel comfortable picking the hero for SumaiL, as Tiny can farm fairly reliably and join fights early. With Team Spirit being a team that enjoys teamfight compositions that fight early, it makes sense why N0tail and Ceb would prioritize the hero for SumaiL.
The Nature’s Prophet pick on N0tail certainly made sense against Team Spirit’s prior drafts. Team Spirit enjoy drafting heroes with impactful teamfight abilities with high cooldowns, meaning that oftentimes their counterpush can be lacking, with only one hero able to respond to lane pressure. Nature’s Prophet ability to move globally on the map, push lanes with his units, and provide vision globally with those suits N0tail nicely, as the player has been known historically throughout his career for his exceptional micromanagement.
As an offlaner, Ceb has preferred strong initiators and counter-initiators, with no real offlane hero being preferred by OG during their drafts. This means that for a majority of OG’s drafts, Ceb’s hero has been a reactive pick based on what line-up the opponent is building and what synergizes well with the team.
Rise of the Young Dragons – Team Spirit’s Win Against OG at TI10
If you watch the games between Team Spirit and OG, it’s easy to get lost in flashy plays coming from SumaiL, Yatoro, and Collapse. This game has a lot of really exciting team fights that makes watching Dota 2 a lot of fun. What’s important to note in these games is that OG weren’t playing poorly or the weaker team, but that Team Spirit were simply better at adapting to OG’s decisions and drafts than OG were adapting to Team Spirit’s playstyle.
In Game 1, the game was incredibly close between OG and Team Spirit. N0tail’s use of Nature Prophet’s ability ‘Nature’s Call’ allowed N0tail to scout the map with additional units and prevent Team Spirit’s heroes from farming by blocking the spawn of neutral creeps, which Spirit were relying on in order to scale with SumaiL’s farm. Despite having a difficult laning stage, Topson managed to even things out and participate in the game, as he managed to farm both a Eul’s Scepter and a Sange & Kaya in order to survive team fights and open up options for the rest of his teammates.
Team Spirit would focus on fighting early, disrupting the farm of both Topson and Ceb so that they’d be unable to carry the game late and set up SumaiL for the possibility of carrying in the late game. OG were able to pivot and create space for SumaiL, focusing on items that allowed them to either survive fights, reinitiate, or exert map pressure. However, Team Spirit’s heroes would respond by farming Blink Daggers on both Mira’s Lion and Miposhka’s Winter Wyvern, which would allow both heroes to re-position after Clockwerk’s initiation and avoid getting focused by the abilities of OG’s heroes. TORONTOTOKYO would also farm a Refresher Orb after his Aghanim’s Scepter, giving him huge burst and mobility potential with his Fire Remnants.
As OG were focused on playing around the high cooldowns of Team Spirit’s heroes, they would look to initiate fights of their own on Spirit’s vulnerable supports. With Blink Daggers, both Miposhka and Mira could reposition after the Clockwerk initiation on Collapse or Yatoro, preventing follow-ups by using their crowd control abilities. In the meantime, during most of the early game and some of the mid game, SumaiL was farming diligently until he became a significant threat during fights.
In the late game phase of game 1, Team Spirit would respond by splitting up OG during team fights as best as they could. Collapse would initiate for Team Spirit by using Magnus’ Horn + Skewer combo to isolate either SumaiL or Topson and kill them quickly, leaving OG at a disadvantage during fights. While SumaiL was pushing Team Spirit’s bottom barracks, Collapse managed to skewer SumaiL all the way into the Dire fountain, causing the fountain to rapidly annihilate SumaiL’s health until he was killed by Team Spirit. This play would open up the game for Spirit as they would push the middle lane and destroy OG’s ancient to win game 1.
Game 2 would see a similar draft from OG that prioritized Tiny for SumaiL once again. Team Spirit’s response to the Tiny pick would be a Lifestealer for Yatoro. The Lifestealer pick was inspired as Lifestealer is a hero that can play aggressively early and has two abilities that take advantage of large health pools: Feast and Open Wounds. Both these abilities grant additional damage to Lifestealer based on the max health pool of the enemy hero he targets.
Team Spirit’s itemization during Game 2 also undermined the Tiny pick. TORONTOTOKYO would build a Spirit Vessel, which reduces the health of enemy heroes by 4% every second. As a relatively cheap item, Spirit Vessel was a great pick up against Tiny, as it would undermine his overall tankiness as Team Spirit looked to fight him incredibly early. The Spirit Vessel pick up would also be effective on Saksa’s Night Stalker, a tanky hero that OG picked in order to punish the squishiness of Mira and Miposhka.
Saksa’s Night Stalker would unfortunately get completely shut down, leaving most fights between OG and Team Spirit at a disadvantage. Team Spirit’s constant team fighting and pick-offs would give them a significant advantage during the game. At one point, OG would be able to kill Yatoro, game 2’s kill leader, but still fall to the rest of Team Spirit’s heroes, thanks to the sustain provided by Spirit Vessel and Mekanism, as well as a stellar performance on the Void Spirit by TORONTOTOKYO. Game 2 would end early, just a few seconds short of thirty minutes after a team wipe at OG’s tier 3 tower.
What’s Next for OG?
The future of OG seems uncertain. After OG Esports’ loss at the Dota 2 TI10, offlaner Ceb would take to Twitter to express his feelings after the 0-2. In his tweet, it seems as though TI10 will be Ceb’s last tournament for a while, assuming he feels the itch to compete again and returns to Dota 2.
N0tail’s response seems a tad more hopeful, emphasizing that the OG roster has grown close in their time preparing for TI10. Hopefully this won’t be the last time we see these legendary players at The International, as OG has definitely helped modern Dota 2 become the game that it is now.