Why the 2018-19 OG squad is the best team in Dota 2 history
Over the years, Dota 2 has been dominated by strong teams in The International’s big stage. OG is the winningest team at TI with two straight wins back in 2018 and 2019. Let’s talk about why the 2018-19 OG lineup is the best team in Dota 2 history.
The Dota Pro Circuit is filled with top teams during its run. The fans of the classic Dota 2 scene will be familiar with squads like Natus Vincere and Alliance. Those two teams can be considered the greatest of all-time discussion before but that changed when the 2018-19 OG squad popped up and took over the scene.
OG had humble beginnings because they were born out of friendship. The team was co-created by Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein and Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik so they can make a squad centred on friendship and cohesion. They were initially called Monkey Business but they became OG as they grew into one of the biggest organizations in esports.
The story behind this squad is immense
Many fans would know that OG was defined by Fly and N0tail’s friendship. They went through different iterations of the squad that had N0tail as the hard carry while Fly played as the hard support captain. This worked for a long time starting in 2015 until the disastrous end in 2018.
The Fly and N0tail dynamic ended after ESL One: Birmingham 2018 when Fly and Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson left the team to join Evil Geniuses. This was one of the biggest moves in Dota history because it created two all-time great teams.
The EG squad was composed of Fly, s4, Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev, Syed ‘SumaiL’ Hassan, and Andreas ‘Cr1t-’ Nielsen. While they didn’t win a Major or TI title, they were one of the best North American teams of all time. Fly proved that he was still a solid captain outside of the OG system.
However, that EG squad pales in comparison to the OG squad. With Fly gone, N0tail only had one remaining teammate on the squad in Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka. They had their coach Sébastien ‘Ceb’ Debs become a part of the team forming a three-man lineup. However, that was not enough to compete for TI8.
They were forced to create a new squad with a coach transitioning to a playing role. N0tail went from playing carry to the hard support captain role previously played by Fly. JerAx kept his role and they managed to re-sign Anathan ‘ana’ Pham. They recruited relatively unknown mid player, Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen.
At the time, OG was seen as the worst team out of the 18 choices at TI8. They managed to pull off one of the most surprising winning runs as they knocked out Paris SG.LGD in the grand final. However, there was also a massive victory on the road to the grand final with their win against Fly’s EG. It was a revenge story that worked out for the OG squad.
The TI8 win was seen as a fluke but OG proved that it was not by winning TI again in 2019. It was an amazing victory as they cemented their place atop the Dota 2 world and record books.
OG had limitless talent
During the OG era, they had five of the most talented players in Dota history in their lineup. When it comes to pure mechanical talent, ana and JerAx are probably their two most talented players, but you can’t count out the other three. When it comes to Topson, the squad has arguably the most disruptive player of all time.
Topson had the penchant to play weird heroes all the time and it worked for OG. Of course, he has taken an extended break away from the game to spend time with his family but he is still remembered as one of the most influential players in Dota.
On the other hand, Ceb and N0tail are no slouches in their own right. They are a solid duo that is reliable to the point that they can focus more on leading and shot-calling from the other side of the map.
OG’s back-to-back wins are hard to top
Dominantly winning TI8 and TI9 is a feat that can never be replicated in Dota 2. This esports scene has improved every year and it is nigh impossible to see a team dominate so hard in the biggest event of the year. There is a small chance but with the strength of every team in the event, it is unlikely.
Most Dota fans were expecting LGD to finally win an Aegis of Champions at TI10 but it was Team Spirit who took home the win. OG is the only team to win both back-to-back TIs but they also managed to defend their crown and win more event titles.
Those two will be hard to top because it is proof that a team can work even if there is a target on their back. At TI9, OG was the team to beat because they were the defending champs. They managed to still pull it off as they dominated the entire event with their use of Io, Tiny, and Faceless Void.
They proved everyone wrong
OG was one of the best teams in the world during the Fly era but they never won at TI. This led to some criticism of the team which was a driving force behind Fly’s exit. The OG squad was doubted and were not even seen as a strong team. The comparisons to fluke teams in other esports were made but OG kept fighting.
OG proved every critic wrong as they won two TIs. Motivation is a huge part of OG’s success and you can credit both N0tail and Ceb as they led the team to have tough skin amidst criticism of their playstyle on social media.
Words: Cholo Martin