SHANGHAI — Europe-based team OG made history on Sunday (25 August), winning back-to-back titles at The International Dota 2 Championships 2019.
In front of a packed Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China, the defending champions OG went head to head with another former TI winner from Europe, Team Liquid, who had earlier in the day defeated the last Chinese team in the tournament, PSG.LGD.
Liquid took the first game of the grand final, with OG unable to deal with Aliwi "w33" Omar’s Meepo as he showed his micromanagement skills to great effect.
w33 was the only one of the 10 players who had not won a TI before, and his plays both in the lower bracket final and the first game of the series showed his hunger to change that.
However, the defending champions came back strong with a good draft in the second game, bringing the series to 1-1, with Anathan "ana" Pham on Ember Spirit terrorising Team Liquid almost from start to finish.
OG then dominated the third game of the series, sending it to match point as the defending champions felt themselves inching closer to the elusive back-to-back TI titles, an even greater feat as OG were playing with the exact same roster when they won last year in Vancouver.
With everything on the line, Team Liquid failed to ban Io, and it was an automatic first pick for OG.
They followed up with an unorthodox draft in the fourth game featuring Timbersaw and Abaddon, which Liquid looked to be containing initially, especially with Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi on the Bristleback.
But in a swift turn of events, OG turned the tide in a single game-changing team fight and pushed Liquid’s base repeatedly, leaving the TI7 winners without buybacks.
And with Team Liquid calling the game, it sent the crowd into applause as OG made history and reclaimed the Aegis, as well as the US$15 million top prize.
Liquid took the runner-up prize of US$4.4 million, while PSG.LGD had to settle for third.
Only future TIs will tell if OG’s feat can be repeated, but as two-time winners who won it in consecutive years with the same roster, this moment in esports history will be hard to top.