Here’s how OG can go all the way at ESL One Germany

© Valve Corporation/Red Bull Content Pool
The reigning TI champions head into the autumn’s biggest Dota 2 tournament looking to reclaim their spot on top. Here’s how they can do it.
Written by Tom CockramPublished on
The greatest Dota 2 team of all time, OG, are back in action at the ESL One Germany 2020 online tournament – and now they have 200 IQ mid-lane legend Topias ‘Topson’ Taavitsainen back in action. How can the two-time Aegis winners go all the way and win ESL One Germany? Here’s what to look out for with the group stage underway.

Topson’s back

Topson was away for OG’s last appearance following the birth of his first child, but the Finn is back now and this makes a huge difference for the team. They can all go back to their main roles – during the interim Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein was taking on the mid-lane role while coach Titouan ‘Sockshka’ Merloz took the position five role. Historically, some of OG’s best strategies have involved Topson running around the map creating space for a carry to get rich – for example, Invoker, where he would buy a spirit vessel and then spend the whole game running around using Cold Snap and killing everyone.
Your mid player also has a direct correlation to how the rest of your team will function. Depending on the style of your mid, the carry may or may not get as much space as they would with other players. Your soft support and mid lane are going to link up to either kill the other mid laner, or gank someone on the side nodes. In other words, with Topson back, the gloves are coming off for OG.

Sébastien ‘Ceb’ Debs getting his pick

A photo of OG members at The International 2019
Thanking the fans
While Topson’s return is easily the biggest change for OG to win it all, it won’t be all they rely on. Sébastien’s ‘Ceb’ Debs’ hero selection is crucial to their success, for instance. They need to ensure he's drafted onto a high-impact, comfort pick such as Enigma, Batrider, Centaur Warrunner, or Magnus, used to such devastating success at the grand final of TI8. The Frenchman’s hero is very important because he sets the energy for the team. If Ceb gets to play on a high-impact hero with a good laning stage, OG is halfway there already.
Not only will he start fights for them and get good initiation for the team fights, you can be sure that Ceb’s shouting and energy will lift and carry the team through the games. If the team starts off with a bad run or is in the lower bracket then this will be even more crucial. While Ceb is a fantastic mechanically skilled player, his impact on the team goes way beyond just the hero he plays.

Drafting right

If OG want to beat the final boss that is the Team Secret of 2020, they'll have to have perfect drafting. As captain, N0tail arguably has one of the hardest jobs on the team – drafting. This 10-minute chess battle can completely decide your team’s fate, but get it right and you could dismantle the other team without even having to play much of the game!
OG’s toughest opponent will be Team Secret and the last few times they've matched up Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov has had N0tail’s number on this one. There's a fine balance in drafting, between picking your strategy and sticking to the heroes you’re comfortable with, or counter-picking your opponent’s heroes. This will be a crucial decision to make for OG and they’ll need a bit of both to beat Team Secret. It’s important as well that they play to the strengths of their players. Each of them are some of the best players in their roles and can make heroes look completely broken.
They need to ensure that Yeik ‘MidOne’ Nai Zheng is on a hard carry hero. One that requires a lot of farm and can take over the game in the late stage – heroes such as Spectre, Arc Warden, or Phantom Lancer.
Topson, meanwhile, will need to be on a space-making hero. Fortunately, he seems to play just about everything, so any of Invoker, Pugna, Riki, or his famous Tiny will work. Topson's ruined teams with Tiny by running around comboing and killing everyone he sees, turning up to every fight and being a thorn in the side of his enemies.
Martin ‘Saksa’ Sazdov can single-handedly win you the game in the right conditions. Give this man a stun or a team-fight ultimate and he won’t let you down. Here you have lots of options, but the most notable ones are Clockwerk, Phoenix and Tusk.
N0tail’s hero is arguably the least important in the composition, but still needs to be strong as this pick can determine whether your carry has a good lane or not. It’s important that OG picks a strong laner for their five position, so they can secure MidOne a good lane and then the other players will make up for N0tail's hero’s lack of strength in the late game.
Another important factor is ensuring his hero can save allies. He needs to be able to get his team-mates out of a sticky situation or save their life. Treant Protector seems to tick all these boxes with his high-risk click damage, the highest natural attack damage in the game and his Living Armour ability. Whoever you cast this ability on gets additional armour as well as HP regen, which can be cast globally.

Flex picking FTW

This concept of a 'flex' pick has existed in Dota for a while now and it’s important that OG have a few of these up their sleeves. This is because it leaves the draft open and leaves your enemies guessing. This simple idea of not knowing where a hero is going to be played massively impacts the draft, because it affects who your enemy will ban. It also affects the lane match-up as they won’t be 100 percent confident who they’re facing, making it tougher to ensure a good lane.
Magnus is one of these heroes, because he can be played in the offlane role with Ceb or the hard support with N0tail. Both Topson and MidOne play Arc Warden, meaning that it’s not a guarantee where it'll be played. This gives OG flexibility in who'll play the farming core and who'll make space for the other. It also allows you to get a better laning stage for the hero. If the enemy mid hero isn't a good match up, send it to the safe lane and vice versa. Arc Warden is already a strong pick, but having it as a flex pick makes this hero even more potent.
OG have proven time and time again that you should never count them out, but they have a tough European region to contend with and will have to play some excellent Dota to win the ESL One Germany 2020 trophy.