Saksa shines as OG score huge 2-0 win over Team Secret

(Illustration: Yahoo Esports SEA, Photos: OG, Valve Software)
(Illustration: Yahoo Esports SEA, Photos: OG, Valve Software)

OG defeated Team Secret, 2-0, in arguably the best match of Season 2 of the Dota Pro Circuit's (DPC) European regional league on Sunday (9 May), with Martin "Saksa" Sazdov silencing all doubters and proving that he truly belongs alongside the two-time The International (TI) champions on his team through back-to-back show-stopping performances.

Saksa's Clockwerk was the star of the show in a bloodbath of a game one that saw both teams rack up 97 total kills in 55 minutes of action. As OG relentlessly brought the fight to Secret, Saksa somehow landed one clutch Hookshot after another amid some of the most chaotic team fights you will ever see to help his team emerge victorious.

In what ended up being the game-winning sequence for OG, Saksa caught a retreating Secret squad unawares with Hookshot then used his hero's Aghanim's Scepter ability, Overclocking, to quickly launch another Hookshot that let OG take down Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen's Bloodseeker without buyback. Saksa then sealed the deal by catching two Secret heroes in yet another Hookshot, giving his team the full team wipe and forcing the GG call from their opponents.

In game two, Saksa on Lion pulled off another phenomenal play that gave his team a decisive advantage. In a pivotal clash by the top-lane entrance into OG's base, Saksa disrupted Secret's initiation by catching Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat's Phoenix mid-Icarus Dive and finishing him off with Finger of Death. With Secret forced to retreat soon after, Saksa secured a huge pickoff on Matumbaman's Slark with a couple of nicely-timed disables.

Saksa's teammates had their fair share of flashy plays too. OG midlaner Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen on a mid Snapfire frustrated Secret to no end in game two, as he ruined another one of their attempts at initiating by dodging three ultimates — a Spear of Mars-Arena of Blood combo, Chaotic Offering, and Supernova — with timely uses of his Eul's Scepter of Divinity and Blink Dagger.

In true OG fashion, Anathan "ana" Pham continued to lead his team in their fountain-diving ways as his Phantom Lancer capped off a 42-minute slugfest in game two by fountain-farming Secret after they were forced to buy back to protect their exposed base.

With their huge victory over Secret, OG now have a 3-2 record in the league and are tied for third place with Team Nigma. It's a welcome sight for fans of the team, especially after their disheartening loss to Tundra Esports earlier in the week and considering how important every win is for their campaign towards a third-straight Aegis of Champions.

"Tonight was true OG Dota. We just let it all out. We were completely free in how we played and it turned out much better than the last series," said OG offlaner Sébastien "Ceb" Debs in the post-match interview.

"People have expectations for us. That’s just how it is and we are proud that they have expectations for us, but we have to learn how to deal with it better. I think we did a good job tonight and hopefully we can keep that going so we can be our true selves and hopefully that will be enough to take us to TI."

With only two matches remaining against Team Nigma and Team Liquid, OG are in good position to qualify for the second Major of this year's DPC. Should they make it there, they will need to be in top form and finish strong if they hope to secure an all-important direct invite to TI10 this August.

Of course, OG still have their eyes set on qualifying to TI10 and hopefully make history once more by becoming the first-ever three-time TI champions. However, Ceb said regardless of how — or even if — they make it there, the team's focus remains on being the best they can be. If OG want to win yet another Aegis of Champions, they will need to showcase more of what we saw from them in their victory over Secret.

"We’re not nervous about [qualifying to TI10] at all, we’re ready for whatever comes. If we have to go through qualifiers, then we go through qualifiers happily. If we don’t get to TI then we’ll also survive through [it]," said Ceb.

"We’re working hard, of course, and we’re getting better everyday. But the most important thing is for us to just feel good about what we do, which is how we peak. Our TI wins were on the back of that and tonight’s win was on the back of that too."

OG will cap off their regular season campaign at the upper division of the European regional league with high-stakes matches against Team Nigma on 15 May and Team Liquid on 19 May.

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