After announcing a talk show dedicated to the team coming up in the next week, OG has made two more huge announcements in the last two days, with Anathan ‘Ana’ Pham taking a further break till next season and Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka retiring.
OG has not played since dominating their way through TI9, becoming the first team to win two world championships while also achieving it back-to-back, an unmatched accomplishment in the game. However, the threepeat that many fans had hoped for is now no longer on the cards, with the roster that had achieved the repeat wins no longer being together as a five.
Ana is well known for taking extended breaks from competitive play following TI, skipping nearly the whole season before coming back to join OG and win TI8 with their miraculous run through the upper bracket despite being predicted to finish in last place. He joined the team as a 16-year-old in 2017, winning two majors with the roster before departing following a disappointing run in TI7. His second break came after the first TI win in 2018 when he decided not to play with the roster until the fourth major of the season at Disneyland Paris. The team would then qualify for TI9 and demolish the competition to win their second title in a row.
In a tweet released on Saturday, the team announced Ana planned to remain on his break until the next season, which means that OG will be looking for a new carry player for the rest of the season leading up to TI10.
Our carry player and Io god @anadota99 will extend his break and come back for the next season.
— OG (@OGesports) January 25, 2020
JerAx joined OG back in 2017 from Team Liquid, when the team had lost three members of its roster following their poor performance at TI6. He was part of the team that won two majors that season and remained on the roster following the devastating departure of former team captain Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik and offlaner Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson to Evil Geniuses after ESL One Birmingham 2018. The 27-year old Finn played a huge part in changing the meta around the ‘4’ position, playing heroes who could roam and play a part in winning lanes across the map by ganking and getting kills rather than playing greedy fourth core type heroes that had been the standard for a number of patches.
He had a number of signature heroes that he was known for in the scene including Earthshaker, Rubick, and Tusk; however, his most iconic hero will always be the Earth Spirit, a hero that he took and made his own by dominating the entire map during the early game and winning fights by himself at times. It was widely thought that the continued nerfs to the hero were in part due to his phenomenal performances on it, despite the constant nerfing of its abilities. JerAx will go down in history as one of the best ‘4’ position players of all time with two TI wins and two majors on his list of accomplishments
He said in a statement released on the OG website ‘I have been very fortunate to have my spot as a professional player, and I can’t quite understand how I ended up at this point. Small things could have been different, and I would have never made it.’ He clarified that despite his success in the game, he no longer felt the passion to compete and play at the highest level anymore and thus would be retiring from competitive play, while remaining a part of the OG organization.
The next week is a big one for OG, with the Valve produced documentary True Sight, that will tell the story of the TI9 grand finals, premiering on Tuesday night to an audience in Berlin where the team will be in attendance. Followed up by the ‘OG Night’ on Wednesday, where the team will take part in a talk show where they have said huge announcements are to be made. It looks as though the team will be announcing their roster for the rest of the 2020 season, however nothing is confirmed as of yet despite any rumors that have been floated around.
With not many top players being available currently for the captain Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein to pick up, it could once again be a case of a young pubstar being given a huge chance to show what they can do. Whoever does replace the two players on the team will have incredibly big shoes to fill, trying to fit into a roster that is steeped in a history of success.