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It’s a precarious time for Dota 2 eSports teams, especially those participating in the 2017 Dota 2 Epicenter Tournament. While these smaller tournaments before the Dota 2 International Tournament (the prize pool of which has already crossed $13 million, sure to grow by millions more before its August start date rolls around) can serve as a last showing for teams on the bubble of the Invite list, they can also be used by shoo-ins to gain some momentum going into the big stage. The latter case applies most to OG.
For those unfamiliar with team OG, or even the Dota 2 competitive scene in general, you can think of them like the New England Patriots of Dota 2. They win essentially everything, and they do so in commanding fashion. There have been five “Major” tournaments, The Frankfurt Major, The Shanghai Major, The Manilla Major, The Boston Major and The Kiev Major. OG has won four of those. They’ve also had impressive showings in Dreamleague, ESL and the Dota 2 Asia Championships earlier this year.
But last year, their early-year success was for naught, as they dropped their first two matches in 2016’s International on their way to an early elimination. This year, OG’s predicted International slide may be coming a bit sooner, as their performance at the Dota 2 Epicenter, the $500,000 is threatening to knock them out of them out of the tournament before it even really begins.
It’s just the third day in the group stage of the Dota 2 Epicenter, but OG is 1-2, which is tied with Team Liquid for the second-lowest win/loss record in their group. That’s bad news, as the bottom two in each group get eliminated before they can even compete for a piece of that prize money. And, even in OG’s one win (a 2-0 victory over the lowly Na’Vi), they looked mortal, almost blowing a huge lead in game two if not for a few costly mistakes by their opponents to bail OG out. Then, if you look at OG’s performance at the Manilla Masters last month, they won their first game, but lost their next two, eliminating them from contention with a disappointing sixth-place finish.
The way ahead to avoid elimination is no sure thing, but it’s not out of reach. It’s neither impossible nor probable; it’s just difficult. They’ll most likely have to win their last game of the group stages (taking place tomorrow), but winning might not be enough depending on how Team Liquid and Team Secret Perform. Here are the scenarios in which OG can avoid elimination.
- A 2-0 win over Team Secret
- A win and a Team Liquid Loss
- A 0-2 Team Liquid Loss
The problem is that Team Liquid’s next opponent is much less threatening than OG’s next opponent. Team Liquid goes up against Na’Vi, who has already been eliminated from contention and hasn’t won a single round all tournament, whereas OG faces Team Secret, who is 2-0 and hasn’t lost a round all tournament. Even if OG beats Team Secret by a victory of 2-1, they can still be eliminated if Team Liquid beats Na’Vi 2-0, since Team Liquid now holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over OG.
Likewise, OG can be eliminated even if Team Liquid loses to Na’Vi. If Liquid loses to Na’Vi by a 1-2 margin, but OG loses to Team Secret by a 0-2 margin, OG is eliminated and Team Liquid advances.
If OG ends up advancing, it won’t be so shocking. After all, they’re OG. If they end up being eliminated, though, it also may not be so shocking, as a lot of scenarios have to shake down for them to avoid elimination. As of right now, they control their own destiny – that is to say, if they win (2-0), they get in – but it’s no easy task, and an elimination from the Dota 2 Epicenter, just a couple short months away from the International, could be the type of deflating defeat that makes their trip to Seattle a short one indeed.