Western European Dota 2 juggernauts and ESL One Stockholm Major champions OG claimed the championship of ESL One Malaysia 2022, after they soundly swept Chinese powerhouse Team Aster 3-0 in the tournament's grand finals on Sunday (28 August).
With their victory over Aster, OG notably avenged their previous loss to the Chinese team in the lower bracket semifinals of the PGL Arlington Major.
The two finalists of ESL One Malaysia looked dominant starting from the Group Stage, with Aster topping the standings in Group A while OG secured the top seed of Group B.
However, OG and Aster's paths diverged in the Playoffs. The Chinese team cruised to the grand finals, defeating Fnatic in the first round before sweeping Team Secret in the upper bracket finals.
Meanwhile, OG stumbled in their first Playoff match against Team Secret and were knocked down to the lower bracket. Under constant threat of elimination, the Stockholm Major champions flipped the switch.
OG outlasted Thunder Awaken and Fnatic in back-to-back, hard-fought 2-1 slugfests to get a rematch with Team Secret in the lower bracket finals. The Stockholm Major champions got their revenge in a 2-0 rout to earn the right to challenge Aster in the grand finals.
OG entered the grand finals with all the momentum in the world, as they outplayed Aster in one teamfight after another to take their opening win after 46 minutes of action.
The Stockholm Major champions didn't let up in game two, as they shut down Zeng "Ori" Jiaoyang's Puck early on behind a surprise Techies pick for Evgenii "Chu" Makarov and Nyx Assassin for Tommy "Taiga" Le.
With OG's supports keeping Aster's cores at bay, Bozhidar "bzm" Bogdanov on Ember Spirit had free rein to wreak havoc in teamfights while Artiem "Yuragi" Golubiev on Terrorblade farmed virtually uncontested.
Aster then struck back hard once Du "Monet" Peng's Phantom Assassin came online, thus extending the contest into the late game.
In the final clash of game two, Taiga gave OG the opening they needed to force the deciding engagement in Aster's base. However, Monet gave his team a glimmer of hope as he scored an incredible Rampage. But in the end, OG had enough buybacks to outlast Monet and take the game after almost 50 minutes of action.
Yuragi and bzm racked up the kills for OG, combining for 29 to pace their team's 44-33 kill lead, to give them a commanding 2-0 series lead. Monet had 11 kills of his own despite the loss.
OG smelled blood in the water in game three, as they last-picked Underlord for Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf to man the frontlines and make space for Yuragi on Phantom Assassin and bzm on Puck to initiate.
Meanwhile, Chu provided much-needed saves on Shadow Demon while Taiga provided both damage and crowd control on Dark Willow.
After the laning stage ended with both teams on even footing, OG dominated the midgame clashes to take the lead and never looked back. Despite Aster's best efforts, they could do little to stop a relentless OG from forcing them to call GG at the 40-minute mark.
Bzm had a game-high 12 kills against three deaths as OG secured the 3-0 finals sweep, with both Yuragi and Taiga adding nine kills of their own in the victory.
As the champions of ESL One Malaysia, OG claimed the grand prize of US$175,000. Meanwhile, Aster settled for a second place finish and US$85,000 in consolation.
OG's victory at Malaysia is made even more impressive by the fact that Chu, the team's coach, was forced to play as a stand-in after team captain Mikhail "Misha" Agatov encountered visa issues.
This is now the second time this season that OG won a tournament with a stand-in, as they claimed the championship of the Stockholm Major with Sébastien "Ceb" Debs as a stand-in.
OG is looking like a strong contender for the Aegis of Champions in The International 11 (TI11), this year's iteration of Dota 2's marquee million-dollar world championship tournament. The champions of the Stockholm Major and ESL One Malaysia are one of the 12 teams with a direct invite to the tournament.
TI11 will be hosted in Singapore in October, featuring a revamped format with 30 participating teams and a new LCQ.
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