TI9: Winning TI back to back would mean everything to me, says OG's Ceb

Bryan Huang
Lead Producer, Editor
Sebastian “7kngMad” Debs, also known as Ceb, offlaner for OG, at The International 2019 Media Day on 19 August. (Photo: Yahoo Esports SEA)

SHANGHAI — Last year’s fairy tale winners at The International Dota 2 Championships, Europe-based OG are back with a goal to make history by becoming the first-ever consecutive winners of TI.

“Winning TI for the second time, especially back to back, it would mean everything to me when it comes to Dota,” Sebastian “7kngMad” Debs told Yahoo Esports on Monday (19 August).

OG is one of sixteen professional Dota 2 teams vying for the US$33 million prize pool at the main stage event of TI9. It takes place from 20 to 25 August at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China.

“There were ‘curses’, that it’s really hard to win TI from open qualifiers, really hard to break the East versus West, all of these we’re done with,” the French player said during TI’s media day. “There’s one thing that remains, that you cannot win TI twice.”

“If we do, it will be absolutely crazy… It would mean we ‘finish’ the game, kinda. That’s what it means to me.”

Coaching and the meaning of a team

The 27-year-old, who goes by his nickname Ceb, also touched on the importance of having a coach at the highest levels of professional Dota, having been an analyst as well as a coach for OG before eventually taking on the offlane position.

“At this level, I think having a coach is absolutely crucial,” Ceb said. “For us, we would not be able to function as well as we function without a coach.”

“He (OG coach Titouan "Sockshka" Merloz) helps us immensely when it comes to the Dota part, but also helps us understand ourselves better, he keeps us in check… there’s so much that he does, and that’s only what we’re conscious of,” he said.

“I think there’s a lot of things that we don’t even realise that are happening around the team and the team’s life.”

He shared that he and team captain Johan "N0tail" Sundstein also had the same view on the idea of “team” and that it was more than just the players.

“For us, the team is not the five players. It’s a group of seven, eight, it keeps growing. Now it’s a group of nine people, and nine people are the team,” Ceb said.

“We’re gonna win TI as nine people, if we win TI, and not as five.”

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