TI7 Preview: OG

As OG approaches their two-year anniversary as an organization, there is no question that they have earned themselves a place in the history books of Dota2. The word ‘dynasty’ appears frequently in conversations mentioning OG. Will this be the year the solidify themselves as arguably the greatest Dota2 team in history?

Current Roster

Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstien

Anathan ‘ana’ Pham

Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson

Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka

Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik

Recalling the past year

After winning two out of three Valve Majors in the 2015-16 season, OG fell flat at The International 2016, finishing just outside of the top eight. Despite their incredible results, OG decided to start over, jettisoning the entire roster sans N0tail and Fly. Among those leaving OG was the Jordanian midlaner, Amer "Miracle" Al-Barkawi, regarded at the time as the best player in the world. Understandably many on the outside were appalled by this decision but, as is evident now, OG knew they were doing what was necessary to win. Regrouping with JerAx and s4 in the flex and offlane positions, respectively, OG finished off their lineup with ana, a young midlaner from China.

Despite missing out on ESL Genting to start the year, OG were quick to take back their seat in the winner’s circle. After playing runner-up to Virtus.pro at The Summit 6, OG took The Boston Major by storm, defeating upstart Ad Finem 3-1 in the Grand Finals. OG would stand victorious again a few months later at the Kiev Major, the second and final Major of this season. Although they have not been in top form during their last several appearances, OG now stands on the precipice with greatness on the other side of the valley and a slew of pretenders in between. Whether or not they will reach the Aegis on the other side or be torn asunder by their enemies is firmly within their control.

Strategies to watch

During their impressive run to the top at each Valve Major, OG developed a somewhat negative reputation for "spamming" illusion-based heroes deemed to be overpowered in the meta. While both of their victories did come at a time of strength for Alchemist, Naga Siren and Terrorblade, OG is much more than a one trick pony.

In recent months with the advent of a new patch, OG’s drafts have shifted to very well-rounded lineups that can heavily punish mistakes while still accommodating their own agenda. This shift in draft strategy is indicative of OG’s true nature as opportunists. It is a given that every team relies on the meta to guide hero picks and bans, to know what's hot and what’s not. The mark of a good team is the ability to make that meta your own, which is exactly what OG has done time and time again. Among OG’s most picked heroes, three stand head and shoulders above the rest and for good reason. Those heroes are Batrider, Invoker and Earth Spirit. Those heroes, favored by s4, ana and JerAx respectively, are OG’s true bread and butter no matter the patch. OG’s strategy has always been and continues to be centered around controlling engagements. Those three heroes control the tempo and outcome of engagements more so than most others. Despite concerns about ana’s limited hero pool, OG should be well positioned to succeed at this year’s International.

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