OG are ready to defend their title at The International 2019

Clear eyes and full hearts can’t lose a series of Dota.

Photo via Valve

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After defeating PSG.LGD in the upper bracket finals of The International 2019, OG became the second team in the history of Dota 2 to make it to a second consecutive TI Grand Finals. 

A full year after shocking the world with a win at TI8, the ragtag group of players that came together just before their legendary run is going to try and defend their title and become the first two-time TI Champions. 

Their comeback victory of LGD this year had shades of last year’s competition too, and as OG are quick to remind their doubters, they overcame all of those adversities to reach the pinnacle of Dota. After another season where they came into TI as underdogs, they showed their mettle and made it back to the summit. 

Following their TI8 win, Anathan “ana” Pham decided to take a break from competitive Dota to reflect on his position and spend some time relaxing. OG honored his decision and placed him on their inactive roster, moving forward to play with various stand-in players when they finally jumped back into the competitive field. 

Skipping the Kuala Lumpur Major entirely, OG made it into two Minors but never secured a qualifying spot for a DPC Major after coming back at the start of 2019. It wasn’t until ana’s return in March that OG finally started showing signs of life again. 

Their first Major of the season was the MDL Disneyland Paris Major, where they stormed in and showed that they weren’t going to fade away into obscurity. With wins over Fnatic and Virtus Pro, along with several impressive games against other strong teams, OG stepped back into the spotlight. 

Though they would finish fifth in Paris, they again fell very short of winning big at the EPICENTER Major, as they would go out in a tie for seventh. But they did manage to take a game off of number one ranked Team Secret in the lower bracket. 

Barely scraping into TI9 in tenth place, OG were again viewed as a tournament underdog when the group stage began. 

That view was quickly tossed out as they rampaged through their competition, laying waste to the likes of Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, and Virtus on their way to the top seed in Group B. And once they reached the main event, they didn’t slow down. 

OG destroyed Newbee in the opening series before getting their first real challenge in a rematch against EG. The heated rivalry between former teammates bore fruit to another intense series as EG took the first game in dominant fashion. 

But OG pulled a classic move, fighting back in the most spectacular way possible to 2-1 EG and set up a rematch of TI8’s Upper Bracket Finals against LGD. 

LGD also took game one while looking strong, but OG punched right back, taking game two in 22 minutes before locking down the series as a whole. The most entertaining team in Dota came back in full force with the same epic comebacks, the same level of emotion, and the same drive to play the game for fun no matter what. 

“Focus on the good parts, enjoy the game, enjoy your teammates,” Johan “N0tail” Sundstein said in an interview prior to the group stage. “Don’t queue up for the next game if you are in a bad mood. Only queue if you are looking for that if you are looking for the fun, looking for that nice game or experience. And that doesn’t mean winning. Some of the best games are still spent losing.”

This is the first time since Natus Vincere at TI2 that a tournament winner has been in a position to defend their title and take a second Aegis. The Na’Vi roster fell to Alliance in their title defense before fighting back again at TI3. 

If OG manage to defeat their next opponent, they will not only become the first two-time champs but also cement themselves as the most dominant team in Dota history.