Road to The International: OG

On August 2nd, 18 teams will descend upon Seattle for the start of the The International 7's group stage. To get you prepared, I'll be previewing each of those teams starting with the winner of both of this season's Majors, OG. Check back each day leading up to the tournament for more previews.

OG comes into TI7 as one of the most successful teams of the past season, earning a direct invite with wins at the Boston and Kiev Majors. This has them pegged as one of the favorites to take home the Aegis this year. But if any team is aware that success leading into TI does not equal success at TI, it's OG.

Last season, OG also entered TI with two major titles and high expectations. First place in their group set them up with a favorable bracket for the main event. It did not go as planned. A 2-1 upset at the hands of MVP Phoenix followed by a 2-0 stunner against TNC knocked OG out on just the second day. The poor performance at Dota's biggest event left the team in shambles in the ensuing transfer period. Midlane wunderkid Amer "Miracle-" Barqawi left for Team Liquid, Andreas Franck "Crit" Nielsen took over the Captain role for Evil Geniuses, and offlaner David "MoonMeander" Tan joined Digital Chaos (now known as Planet Odd).

Replacing that kind of talent was a tall order for the two remaining members, Johan "N0tail" Sundstein and Tal "Fly" Azik. The two of them had played together since the beginning of their Dota careers with the old Fnatic squad, and after a brief stint on separate teams in 2015, reunited to form the original OG squad. That experience and history of success was enough to convince Gustav "s4" Magnusson (TI3 Champion) and Jesse "JerAx" Vanaikka (one of the world's best 4-position supports) to join. Rounding out the new squad was a relatively unknown Midlaner from Australia, Anathan "Ana" Pham.

Despite some initially shaky play from Ana, the new team quickly came together as they strung a series of Top 4 finishes at LAN's together including the championships in Boston and Kiev. The team had found success with JerAx playing space-creating heroes like Monkey King and his signature Earth Spirit while N0tail carried through the late game with illusion-based heroes like Terrorblade and Naga Siren. Dota, however, is a game of constant adjustments. Balance patches can cause major shifts to the meta and heroes and strategies that were once dominant can become almost unplayable. The balance patch that came after the Kiev major was not kind to OG. Illusions were heavily nerfed as were many of the 4-position heroes that JerAx had dazzled with. The most successful teams are those that can adapt to the changes. OG's results in their two TI tune-up events (5-6th at the 8-team Manilla Masters and 7-8th at the 10-team Epicenter, with a combined record of 3-9 against other TI teams) has many wondering if they will be able to adapt in time.

Roster

PlayerRoleCountrySignature HeroesBest TI Finish
Johan "N0tail" SundsteinCarryDenmarkTerrorblade, Naga Siren, Drow Ranger7th-8th (TI3 - Fnatic)
Anathan "Ana" PhamMidAustraliaInvoker, Alchemist, Storm SpiritFirst TI
Gustav "s4" MagnussonOfflaneSwedenBatrider, Puck, Clockwerk1st (TI3 - Alliance)
Jesse "JerAx" VanaikkaSupportFinlandEarth Spirit, Monkey King, Elder Titan7th-8th (TI6 - Team Liquid)
Tal "Fly" Azik (C)SupportIsraelPhoenix, Dazzle, Warlock7th-8th (TI3 - Fnatic)

Notes

- A TI7 championship would make s4 the first, and only, repeat TI champion.

- The other 4 players would become the first to win a TI from their respective countries.

- Their 4 Major championships are easily the most all-time. Team Secret is the only other team to even win a Major.

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