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OG and Winning Over Looking Good

Mythos 2019-04-09 09:10:51
OG’s win at the eighth International showed what the team was capable of when playing at their peak. It didn’t matter how hard you beat them down. They’d stand up, stall, and take every little edge to turn a game around. The win condition driving their turtling was of course Ana. The whole team believed in his carry potential completely, knowing that if given the space to farm, he was unbeatable in the late game. Bending every game to enable carrying from one player requires absolute commitment from the entire team though. Now that they’ve reunited with Ana and demonstrated play at the major qualifiers, it’s a good time to reflect on their run at TI, and contrast it with recent form. In the presence of Ana, the members of OG all play extraordinarily supportive and utility styles for their roles. N0tail’s position 5 play strongly resembles that of PieLieDie from his Cloud9 days. Valuing vision and space for his carry over his own life. His support partner Jerax often plays the standard greedier position 4, but it’s also common to see him looking like a backup position 5. Together, they’ll focus on winning a trilane, causing chaos around the map, and stacking jungle camps.   Going up the chain, you have Seb, whose go-to picks include the likes of Magnus, Dark Seer, and Beastmaster. Initiators with plenty of utility — not uncommon for offlaners, but not the preferred way for some. The most extreme example of Seb’s devotion to OG’s style was his Treant Protector in game 1 of TI8’s finals. His role was indistinguishable from a support and the benefits halted all momentum from PSG.LGD’s initial onslaught. Lastly is of course Topson, who had never played for a top team prior to OG. Although few would debate his skill at this point, there is a career risk associated with being the mid laner for this team. Topson must not only be self-sufficient in lane, but get enough resources to lead the charge in OG’s 4 man chaos machine. Whether it be Monkey King, Ember Spirit, or Pugna, he will make the 10 minute rotations to direct ganks, pushes, and opponents’ reactions. While again not uncommon for the position 2, few give themselves up so completely to this mode of play. Consider the support resources and carry opportunity afforded to players like Suma1L, Ori, or Abed. It’s not that Topson never carries. He has plenty of standout performances from this position. The affordances are simply fewer and further between. On the other hand, he’s occasionally given a laning matchup that is set to fail. Whether it be running QuasWex Invoker against Maybe’s Kunkka or going offlane with Pugna, Topson sometimes finds himself in situations where carrying is implausible, if not impossible.   If a player’s ability to carry a game is considered their “potential”, then the OG of TI8 enabled only one player to fully realise his potential with a high degree of consistency. This shouldn’t be considered as a criticism. On the contrary, it shows just how much the teammates trust each other; and how dedicated they are to winning. To illustrate this point, consider the later period of iLTW’s time as carry on OG. The team worked hard and experimented with their stylistic identity. Eventually they made use of a system that almost worked. Forgoing their traditional 4 protect 1, OG blurred their two primary core players. Topson now shared a “position 1.5” role with iLTW. Although more development was needed to make a major, they played some fantastic Dota during this period. Topson showed that he could carry his team with consistency if given the opportunity. Such a situation made him a very attractive pickup for any team on the hunt for some serious firepower in the midlane. In winning games, Topson averaged 1.0 more kills, 1.83 less deaths, and 1.28 less assists with iLTW, than Ana. He also averaged 41.25 more GPM.   A shared role meant flexible lanes and an intriguing carry pool for OG. Ember Spirit became a go-to pick as both players excelled at the hero. During this period, OG gradually adopted a faster playstyle. No longer the ultimate turtling team, the squad rallied around their aggressive cores and strong mid-game timings. If Ana’s departure left the community at large wondering what OG could’ve done with him post-TI8, then surely iLTW’s removal has left the same feeling in the hearts of some hardcore Dota enthusiasts. Leading into the Paris major qualifiers, they announced the re-acquisition of their prodigy carry player. With little time to practice together, OG had to figure themselves out quickly to have any chance in the brutal EU qualifiers. The situation was exciting, delighting, and concerning all at once.   Who knows if they tried fitting Ana into the system they’d developed? The result of their boot camp was a place at the major, brought about by the classic 4 protect 1 that won them an aegis. It looked all too familiar. The four man supportive cast once again showed their commitment not only to Ana, but to winning.
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