OG built one of the biggest names in esports by dominating the competitive Dota 2 scene, surviving turmoil, and becoming the first team in history to ever win two times at The International, even doing so in consecutive seasons. But that era of OG has come to a close. The organization is moving in a new direction and signing an entirely new roster.
Both Topson and n0tail are stepping down from the active Dota roster to take extended breaks, and Ceb announced his retirement earlier this week. Their departures made room for OG to sign five new players, three of which are changing their tags entirely, to represent the team—starting with the team’s former coach Mikhail “Misha” Agatov.
Misha joined the team during the second season of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit and acted as the team’s head coach through TI10. Now, the organization believes in his abilities leading OG as both their position five and new captain, taking over the role from the departing n0tail with a unanimous vote of confidence from the organization.
“He is a very nice person and he has a very good heart. He cares about people around him and he cares so much about the game,” Ceb said. “This is a winning recipe. He is smart, talented, and willing to learn. What else can you ask? I can safely say that without him we would have not qualified for TI10. He came in, helped us clear all the confusion, helped us get much smarter about a lot of things. Misha has all it takes and I believe in him and I will be there for anything he needs to help out.”
Joining him in the backlines is Tommy “Taiga” Le, who was long rumored to be joining OG once Saksa left the team alongside SumaiL and Team Liquid began its own rebuilding process. The Norwegian player’s flexible playstyle should be a great tool for this new team to build around. He also has a connection to OG since he gained his first bits of notoriety alongside Topson on SFTe-sports.
With two experienced support players locked down, OG is taking a chance on three younger players that are relatively new to the competitive scene, including two 16-year-olds from Creepwave.
Ammar “Ammar The F” Assaf, formerly known as ATF, spent time competing with Creepwave and Chicken Fighters throughout the 2021 DPC, making a name for himself as one of the youngest players to ever compete in the DPC and a force in the off lane. He was one of OG’s first targets when the team decided to rebuild, with Misha and the former roster seeing a ton of untapped potential that could be brought out with just a little guidance.
Likewise, his teammate Bozhidar “Biziem” Bogdanov—who formerly played as Hansha—is also known as a promising prospect at position two. He only joined Creepwave in its second iteration and displayed strong mechanical skills on heroes like Invoker and Void Spirit.
Ammar recommended the team look into recruiting Biziem, and during meetings, the pair’s passion for competing and synergy clicked with what OG was looking for.
“When we met with Biziem and ATF together, it really gave us a lot of Monkey Business vibes,” OG CEO JMR Luna said. “They are just so excited to play Dota, so passionate. And they had a very good friendship going on. Misha really connected with it. And the Dota part speaks for itself. Very happy to have them.”
Both left the revamped Creepwave roster on Oct. 22 following a win at the Dota 2 Champions League 2021 Season four, which is likely when discussions or trials with OG began to take form.
The final piece of OG’s new puzzle is Artem “Yuragi” Golubiev, previously known as spAce—a relative unknown in the broader competitive scene, but also a player that has ranked highly on the EU leaderboards for an extended period of time. OG brought in the Ukrainian mid laner via transfer from Team Unique because of his creativity, versatility, and drive to improve.
The core of the OG team that once dominated the world of Dota 2 is now gone, but that departure shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans who followed the team closely.
With ana and JerAx leaving after the team lifted the Aegis of Champions for a second straight year, Topson and n0tail were the only players that stayed committed to the goal of a three-peat and remained on the active roster. Even Ceb stepped down, though he would rejoin the team less than a year later.
Both Topson and n0tail have also been very open in their beliefs that they would not be playing Dota forever, with the former even hinting he may step away for an extended period to spend more time with his family as recently as July.
It felt as if the team was held together by the strength of their play, a shot at three-peating at TI10, and a love for the game of Dota. But after the team was eliminated in a tie for seventh place, it seems like that competitive fire started to flicker.
As Ceb said in his retirement announcement, realizing the team might not be as strong as before was a blow, and it made second-guessing the sacrifices being made to continue competing at the highest level a lot more frequent. And now, the last three players have stepped aside, allowing for new seeds to be planted in their wake, with plans to help nurture them and help them grow.
“Winning is a consequence, not an objective,” Ceb said.
While OG’s goal with this new roster is still to compete at the highest level and win matches, the organization is aware of how young its players are and is more focused on developing them as individuals and a unit by hammering home the OG way: practicing the right way, playing with the right mentality, and talking to your teammates the right way.
N0tail will remain directly with the team as they bootcamp at the Sunflower hours in Libson, Portugal, providing direction and support as the team competes in the 2022 DPC and ushers in the next era of OG Dota.