The most successful line-up in Dota history is done and dusted. But that doesn’t mean OG Dota is dead. It’s simply the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.
Anathan “Ana” Pham decided to take an extended break, although he will return next season. Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka announced his retirement due to a lack of passion and willingness to compete at the highest level. And Sébastien “Ceb” Debs has stepped down from the active roster to focus on a coaching and mentoring role within the organization.
The three players will be missed. And the void left behind will be hard to fill. But the heart and soul of the team is still intact. Beloved sunflower Johan “N0tail” Sundstein is still there to lead the team as a captain. Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen is still there to provide his selfless and chaotic playstyle for the team to work around. And Ceb will still be around to help behind the scenes. The foundation is still intact. And that means the unbreakable mentality and innovative playstyle we all know and love is here to stay.
OG has announced that Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan, Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng and Martin “Saksa” Sazdov will be the new additions to the team. SumaiL is an ace mid lane player and TI 5 winner who recently left Evil Geniuses after a stellar five-year career. He will replace Ana in the carry role. MidOne is also one of the best mid lane players in the world. He has won five majors with Team Secret. He will replace Ceb in the off lane role. Saksa is a phenomenal support player. He is best known for his time at Digital Chaos and their second-place finish at TI 6. He also played under TI winning captain Peter “ppd” Dager in OpTic Gaming and Ninjas In Pyjamas. Saksa will maintain his natural position and replace JerAx.
It might take them a bit of time to adjust. And they will be different from their predecessors, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. But they will be indoctrinated into the OG Dota mentality and playstyle. And once that happens, success seems inevitable.
History has shown that ‘galacticos’ teams with star-studded lineups haven’t always worked out. But none of them has been OG. A team that has faced turmoil time and time again and always found a way to bounce back. The first road bump happened when they lost both Gustav “S4” Magnusson and Tal “Fly” Aizik in a shock move to Evil Geniuses. The second road bump happened when Ana decided to take a break from the professional scene after winning TI 8. And the third road bump is happening now.
Still, there is every reason to believe that it will work out fine. It doesn’t mean they will definitely win the aegis again. Nobody could predict that. But they will certainly be a prime contender.
OG’s new lineup will debut in the ESL One Los Angeles 2020 European Open Qualifiers starting on February 3. If they qualify, they’ll have a chance to compete against eighteen other teams to earn a piece of the $1,000,000 USD and 15000 DPC point prize pool.
Alex is a freelance writer based in Adelaide, Australia. He finished a law degree but realised it wasn't the career for him and decided to follow his dream of becoming a writer. Since then, he has finished two postgraduate writing degrees at Swinburne University of Technology. Now he writes about his other passion; esports and gaming.