The back-to-back defending TI champions showed why you can’t count them out just yet, and played eight games in a single day to clutch the final TI spot for Europe.
It’s a great time to be an OG fan
Despite having the shakiest, most inconsistent and disappointing DPC season, it was still OG in the end that managed to rise above every European team to take that final TI spot in the WEU Qualifiers. The team lost in a rather spectacular fashion during day three to Tundra Esports, with the latter surprising the TI veterans in their own way to send them back to the lower bracket. However, they came back hard, winning against Team Nigma in a momentous series that saw captain Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi not attending TI10, breaking his streak of nine iterations.
Knocking out Nigma
Before moving on to the Grand Finals, OG had to first face off against Team Nigma, whose run in the lower bracket was due to the former in the first place. Team Nigma looked hot in their run leading to that lower bracket final, securing key wins against both Spider Pigzs and Team Liquid and proving themselves against the stacked competition.
While they decisively managed to take the first game against OG, this small victory would be their last as OG rolled over them in games two and three. Post-matches, a lot called out the seeming disconnect between KuroKy and proper drafting, with the seasoned captain picking questionable heroes like support Razor just to counter a single aspect of OG’s draft. Whether this ultimately cost them the series is debatable, but it did play a huge part in helping OG secure the second game to move the series to a third.
OG captain Johan “N0tail” Sundstein flexed a weird pick of his own, and to the surprise of many it worked. Support Naga Siren (coming to pubs near you) was the perfect pocket strat for their third game, as it allowed OG to counter Team Nigma’s heavy initiation-based lineup of Mars, Phoenix and Vengeful Spirit. Sébastien “Ceb” Debs’ off lane Sand King also came in clutch with his Burrow Strikes and Epicenters, completely demolishing Team Nigma early to mid game.
Winning this series was just the beginning, as OG still had to endure at most five straight games against Tundra Esports, the team that bested them 2-0 and went straight to the Grand Finals without dropping a single game.
OG headed back to TI, against stacked odds
Without any proper context, the five-game series between OG and Tundra Esports in the Grand Final of the TI10 WEU Qualifiers could be mistaken for the Grand Final at TI. The series went back and forth between the two teams, with Tundra Esports taking the first and third game decisively thanks to their integral performances centering on enabling their carry, Oliver “skiter” Lepko.
OG took the second game as they started to reveal their full hand. Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan played a traditional carry hero for the first time, picking Terrorblade partnered with N0tail’s Nyx Assassin. OG mid-laner Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen flexed his Invoker once again, and with this aggressive draft they managed to take game two without any significant issues.
The fourth game could’ve been anyone’s game if Ceb did not get on his comfort Axe pick. With him on it, the game showed Tundra Esports why OG is not to be discounted, even if they managed to take two games against the defending TI champions in both the upper bracket final and this Grand Final. The fifth game was the final proof of that, as against the odds OG managed to find a very good answer against Tundra Esports mid-laner Leon “Nine” Kirilin’s Winter Wyvern. After baiting Tundra to draft it early, OG comes up with the Disruptor for N0tail, whose kit shuts down every aspect of Winter Wyvern, and Pangolier for Topson, who can get on top of him very easily and perma-stun him thanks to Rolling Thunder.
With this lineup, even with Tundra Esports respectable high-ground defense, OG could not lose. SumaiL’s safe lane Templar assassin went 14-0 and was all over the map to stop any split-pushing shenanigans thanks to an early Aghanim’s Scepter. skiter on his Ursa was being kited left and right, and even with their off-laner Neta “33” Shapira on his signature Tidehunter, it was not enough. OG takes the fifth and final game to get that final TI10 spot, giving them a very solid chance to defend their title this October in Bucharest.