Source: OG VK
Coming into TI 10 there is one team that will draw the attention of every single Dota fan to the event. OG, despite a somewhat quiet 2020 season, enters the event as two time defending champions. Their quest for a third title, likely to be an unbeatable record, is more convoluted this time around.
After trying to reform and renew their TI winning roster, OG has endured instability and the eventual retirement of Ana in the middle of the year. The OG coming into TI 10 retains their core trio of Topson, n0tail and Ceb but also will look to integrate Sumail and Saksa into their championship recipe.
So just how good are their chances to win another TI? Despite the proven skill and LAN experience from both Sumail and Saksa, the real question is will the OG magic still be there? Sumail is originally a mid player so his hero pool remains the biggest question mark in the carry role. Saksa has already proven himself to the OG fanbase but after falling just short of a title in 2016, he is the only member of the team without a TI win.
With all of that in mind, OG’s chances may actually be better than expected. For the sake of discussion, let us assume that n0tail, Topson and Ceb will perform at their usual level. The current pool of heroes seems quite favorable for these three. N0tail staples like Nature’s Prophet (45% win), Chen (51% win, 1% pick) and Enchantress (45% win) have struggled lately but will still likely pop up in the innovative LAN environment. Meanwhile, support Silencer (52% win, 19% pick), Abaddon (51% win, 8% pick) and Bane (55% win, 12% pick) all fit nicely into the captain’s wheelhouse of sacrificial but high impact hard supports.
In the offlane, Beastmaster (55% win, 8% pick) has rotated back into popularity just in time to make Ceb’s life easier. Other notable heroes like Enigma (53% win), Magnus (50% win, 9% pick) and Batrider (52% win, 10% pick )also appear to be on the rise. It’s also pretty safe to assume that Dawnbreaker will make an appearance at TI 10 and that OG will show up with some interesting ideas around the hero. Topson’s mid lane hero pool could not be in a better place. Windranger (15% pick), Void Spirit (16% pick), Pangolier (18% pick) and Tiny (14% pick) have dominated high level pubs and should give the Finnish phenom a variety of options to control the tempo of a match.
Let’s talk about the two roster differences between TI9 and TI 10. Saksa has been a great fit for OG since replacing Jerax. His hero pool covers most of what OG lost in the position four role. Jerax was widely known for his play on heroes like Earth Spirit (133 picks, 69% win), Tusk (132 picks, 62% win), Earthshaker (72 picks, 55% win) and Rubick (71 picks, 53% win). Saksa’s numbers on those heroes are as follows: Earth Spirit (37 picks, 56% win), Tusk (60 picks, 68% win), Earthshaker (25 picks, 56% win) and Rubick (87 picks, 44% win). Saksa also adds some great stats on relevant heroes like Lion, Winter Wyvern and Shadow Demon. Overall, it’s hard to quantify the impact that Jerax has as a shotcaller but Saksa does fill a very similar role both in terms of hero pool and his playmaking ability. It’s also worth keeping in mind that Saksa was part of a dark horse Digital Chaos squad that made a Cinderella run at TI6 through the lower bracket to meet Wings Gaming in the finals. All this to say that Saksa’s potential impact at TI 10 should not be in question.
It sounds strange to say this, but Sumail is the biggest question mark on this OG roster. Not only is he the most recent addition to the team but he is years behind the other top tier carry players in terms of his hero comfort in the role.
Obviously, Sumail is an incredible talent and has shown some success in the carry role already. It’s also worth noting that Ana was also a mid player converted into the carry role for OG. In fact, if we look at Ana’s hero pool we can see that of his top five most played heroes: Ember Spirit (49 picks, 65% win), Invoker, Phantom Lancer, Alchemist (21 picks, 85% win) and Morphling, almost all are played in both mid and carry roles. Dota fans will tend to remember the incredible games that Ana played on heroes like Io and Spectre. However, his Io games all came at TI9 and Spectre is actually one of his least successful heroes (13 picks 46% win).
Looking at Sumail’s most played heroes we see Ember Spirit (75 picks, 60%) and a bit lower down is Alchemist (35 picks, 61% win). The main point is that OG is already familiar with figuring out how to set up their unique players for success. Sumail has been practicing a lot of traditional carries like Terrorblade, Luna and Sven but it wouldn’t be that surprising to see OG lean into what he has always done best.
In fact, with carry Tiny absolutely dominating in high level pub games (1385 picks, 57% win) it is hard to forget Sumail’s unbelievable 31 kill Tiny game against OG at TI 8. Even with all the turmoil that OG has gone through in the 2020-2021 season there is a very real chance that the meta lines up favorably with their highly experienced and highly skilled roster to make Dota 2 history once again.