Following a full best-of-five series, the victors of the largest prize pool in esports history has been decided.
OG, who entered the tournament as tremendous underdogs, took down Chinese favorites PSG.LGD by a score of 3-2 at The International 8 grand finals on Saturday night. The series lasted over six hours, and saw both teams push each other to the absolute edge.
PSG.LGD kicked off the first game of the series with an incredibly convincing early game. The main target for the aggression was Ana Pham’s Spectre, who went down several times by the 15-minute mark. Simultaneously, PSG.LGD were also able to pressure the offlane, which eventually became the home of ana due to the continued aggression.
At 21 minutes, OG secured their first major pickoffs, taking down three PSG.LGD players. The European team had also staved off PSG.LGD from snowballing out of control due to Sebastien “Ceb” Debs’ Treant Protector—who spent most of the game healing the team’s towers. At this point, the Chinese team were comfortably in the lead. But 26 minutes into the game, ana secured an ultra kill at PSG.LGD’s mid tier-two tower.
The first set of barracks fell 32 minutes in, and at that point, neither Wang “Ame” Chunyu or Lu “Somnus” Yao could bring down ana or Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen. Despite coming off to a tremendous early game, OG had once again stunned the Chinese team, and took a lead in the series.
The second game of the series saw PSG.LGD continue their aggression, with Yang “Chalice” Shenyi providing the highlights. Playing as Enchantress, the offlaner quickly began dominating Ceb’s Abyssal Underlord in terms of income. Once Chalice began roaming around the map, things got even more ridiculous, with OG’s heroes standing little to no chance against Impetus’ high-damage attacks.
The secret weapon for OG at The International 8 up until the finals had been Topson. But despite playing on Invoker, a hero he played to great effect against PSG.LGD in the upper bracket finals, Topson was completely shut down by Somnus and Chalice.
As the game progressed, OG were contained on their side of the map, which PSG.LGD had complete vision over. Without a solid backbone in Topson to aid OG in teamfights, ana was quickly demolished, and was unable to have any significant impact in the game, giving PSG.LGD their first victory in the series.
While Chalice and Somnus were the obvious highlights of the previous game, Xu “fy” Linsen absolutely stole the show in the third one. Playing as Phoenix, fy was extremely aggressive in the Dire offlane. When he wasn’t denying neutral spawns or participating in teamfights, the support player gained so many levels that he took extreme liberties away from his team.
The sole shining light in the third game was Topson, whose Morphling quickly took the lead in terms of net worth. Fighting against the OG midlaner was impossible for the first 20 minutes, so PSG.LGD simply avoided him as much as possible, instead favoring pickoffs or extended teamfights when he wasn’t present.
Once the game reached 25 minutes, the core heroes of PSG.LGD had come online, and they could suddenly draw out any engagements for so long that OG’s spell-heavy lineup were out of damage. Topson’s farmed Morphling was of little consolation when the rest of his team was easily swept away, and PSG.LGD took a 2-1 series lead.
The fourth game almost immediately devolved into bloodshed. The toplane for both teams instantly began challenging each other, trading kills as early as two minutes into the game. But just like in game two, PSG.LGD’s main focus was Topson, and yet again, the midlaner was punished heavily—dying several times before the 10-minute mark.
OG did have a response, however. An exceedingly-farmed Axe played by Ceb was quickly able to secure multiple pickups for OG. By buying an early Vanguard, and having the heals from Johan “n0tail” Sundstein’s Chen, the Axe was able to freely roam across the map and kill any hero he could lay his eyes on.
Ceb’s presence on the map was unmistakable. At any given opportunity, the 26-year-old offlaner initiated on his own terms and almost always walked off with at least one kill, providing Topson and ana with enough space to grow and claim more on the map.
OG’s first attempt at breaking PSG.LGD’s base initially looked to be successful as the team easily brought down the tier-three mid tower. A miraculous teamfight by PSG.LGD ended up with OG getting wiped, after fy successfully kept his offlaner alive with his Tusk snowball.
Just like in the previous game, PSG.LGD started getting more bold with their initiations, which OG were suddenly unable to deal with. The game was completely turned in the Chinese team’s favor, who ended up being the first squad in the game to claim a set of barracks.
PSG.LGD went back in to get the top barracks, but OG pulled off two incredible teamfights that forced several buybacks out of the Chinese side. This also gave OG the opportunity to grab a quick Roshan. Despite being down two set of barracks, OG suddenly looked to be in a position where they could very well punish PSG.LGD. And they did just that by finding a kill on ame, leading OG to equalize by taking out two of PSG.LGD’s barracks.
Sixty-five minutes in, OG secured the fourth game of the grand finals after a series of outrageous teamfights.
Fy, yet again, set the pace for PSG.LGD’s early game. Playing as Earth Shaker, the Chinese side quickly took a lead in terms of kills as all three lanes started out in PSG.LGD’s favor. Things also got a lot more complicated for OG after fy secured his Blink Dagger only 12 minutes into the game.
OG’s first response in the game came at 25 minutes, after JerAx was able to spell steal Somnus’ Ghost Ship, turning a fight in the bottom lane in their favor. Throughout the series, OG seemed to run away with the games after these type of engagements, and the same was true in the fifth game. Suddenly, OG took a very favorable Roshan fight. Upon winning a second teamfight, OG transitioned their momentum into taking their first set of barracks only 28 minutes into the game.
PSG.LGD were unable to stem the tide, and against all odds, they were forced to concede the match and the series only 20 minutes later. OG were crowned the champions of The International 8 and became the winners of the largest esports prize pool of $11 million.