“Back-to-back” TI champions

I haven’t written a blogpost in a while, and I for sure did not foresee myself write one in such conditions…
Where to start really?
I just managed to take a week off, trying to force myself to realize what just happened, but I am quite certain I was not successful in doing so.

OG TI9 Ceb

We won TI again.
We broke yet another curse, and this time it was one that I also believed was nearly impossible to break, at least certainly not in the way we did.
There are so many things that make this whole achievement quite unreal and at this point it is almost as if people were talking about someone else, about another team.

There is so much that I want to share with you guys, and it will probably require several blogposts. I want to tackle the 8/9 season, TI9 itself, the future, and many more things. One step at a time though, and in this one I will probably stick to the hottest topic : our TI9 back-to-back title.


Let me start off by saying that for this year’s TI, there was a lot of attention and content being created around our team, therefore I am sure you guys will be able to, throughout the year, get a very precise understanding of how we ended up winning TI9. I’m also very excited to go through it again, later this year. This experience is so intense that you barely get time to really understand what is going on, you just go with the flow and wake up once it is all over.

TI9 was completely different from TI8, that’s for sure. The overall level of competition was much higher, just like every year. The fact that it happened in Shanghai also brought a new factor to the equation : having the crowd cheer against you is a very special experience obviously. The way the metagame developed ( or should I say refused to develop ) was quite unique this time around. And the list goes on…

There is only so much I am allowed to publicly share, so I’ll have to double check what I write. For those who follow me since the beginning of my career, you know how much this frustrates me. One day, I’ll be able to give back as much as I want to. But as for now, I’ll just stick to whatever does not give my competitors a better chance of beating us!


TI9 teams :

international2019
Generally speaking though, TI9 was incredibly competitive. I truly think that there was no team, out of the 18, that couldn’t compete for a high-end finish. Back in my days, you always had a decent number of teams that clearly had no chance of threatening the top contenders. These days are long gone. It’s great for the scene but quite scary for the participants.

This brings me to tackle a topic that is very important to me. Competition is cruel, and TI being the most competitive tournament of the season makes it also the cruelest. Every year, you get 85 losers ( 17×5, spared you coaches and staff that also get heavily affected ), and only 5 champions. Society happens to give winners all the attention and credit whereas losers basically disappear, back to the shadow. Now that I am on the winning side of things, it’s easier for me to say that I find it quite unfair. Basically all the teams that attended TI9 have sequences they can be proud of, sequences that should be talked about post-event. You could even extend that to teams that were on the edge of making it to TI. So much hard work, dedication and time investment. It’s easier to grind when you know your chances of getting something in return are high. As far as I am concerned, my real heroes are the ones that dedicate all their time and efforts to their dream of winning TI, without knowing if they will ever get close. All they have is faith.

I often hear/read things like : « the level of a team is the level of their weakest link », when in fact I look at it very differently. To me, the level of a team is the level of their best showing. I would also suggest you guys apply that philosophy to how you see yourselves as players. Your potential equals the best DotA game you ever played, and that means you are surely much more talented than you actually realize.


Shanghai, and the TI9 crowd:

TI9 Crowd

I would like to say a few words about the crowd, and the way the teams were treated in the arena. I know that a lot of online fans were quite offended by the crowds approach to the games in the arena. People went under the assumption that the fans in the stadium blindly cheered for Chinese teams instead of cheering for good DotA. My experience was actually quite different, even though I understand where that impression came from ( after watching twitch clips of the games ).

DotA is absolutely huge in China, it’s been huge there for more than a decade. Fans share history with their teams, it’s much more than just casual support, at this point, it’s personal. They assimilate the success of the team they root for to their own success. Just like in traditional sports, it is a very common thing. Therefore, they try to help their team in whatever way they can. Even though I personally do not look at it this way, I do understand where they are coming from.

For instance during our series vs LGD, we even got booed while exiting the arena, right after we’d just lose game 1. This was the first time I’ve experienced it, and to be honest, it was quite rough. At the same time, after we won the series, hundreds of Chinese fans were waiting for us backstage to congratulate us and show great sportsmanship. A lot of them even had LGD outfits. This goes to show that it isn’t about trying to hurt or disrespect the team they don’t support, but rather trying to help their team in any way they can. Without entering the debate about whether or not this is a good way of doing it, I just wanted to share that experience to give you guys a wider perspective of what the experience was like over there in Shanghai.

Crowd?


OG as back to back TI champions:

 

I now want to take a closer look at what this TI9 title truly means to us.
Ever since I started playing, I always looked at winning TI as the ultimate goal. We reached that one last year, and it was absolutely amazing. Back then we had already proven ourselves we could become the best team in the world. Nevertheless, there was always a challenge above the TI title. A challenge that was so far up that even thinking about reaching it felt delusional : winning TI twice, back to back.

Becoming the best team in the world is hard, but what is even harder is to maintain yourself in that dominant position. In DotA, it has never really been achieved. Every time a team entered TI as clear favorites, they always ended up crumbling to the pressure. The only exception to that might have been Alliance in TI3. When it comes to defending champions trying to double their achievement, no one ever got close enough.

I think this has a lot to do with the lack of psychological preparation in DotA, and I even want to say esports in general. When you study the greatest athletes in sports, the ones that were able to maintain themselves on the top of their fields, all they really talk about is the mental part of what they do. Being able to reinvent yourself, to keep challenging your habits even though you are already the best at what you do. Being able to rebuild the same fire you had when you went for it the first time, dealing with the public pressure and the expectations everyone around you have for your team. All these things put together ( and much more actually ) make the task very hard to fulfill.

I can only assume that in traditional sports, athletes have an entire staff helping them out with that. They also have the previous generations of champions helping them understand the challenges and traps that lie ahead of them. In DotA and esports, we have to write that book ourselves. We basically have to figure it all out on the spot, by ourselves. As for the past champions, the first generation of dominant players is still actively competing, and if they aren’t, they are still thinking about building their own paths and careers.

I am not even mentioning the part where you actually have to keep being the best team in the world, above all sorts of competition, while having every single one of your moves gets dissected and studied by the opposition.

OG TI9 champions
Despite all that, we did it.

I read some crazy statistic about us not having lost a single series on TI main stage in two years, and it sounds insane.
I’m at a point where I can’t even think of a harder challenge. It almost feels like we’ve finished DotA. I am sure that feeling is temporary, and it will sooner or later get pushed away by new goals. Nevertheless, I am happy to enjoy it while it lasts.

Words cannot describe how proud I am of my team. We had to overcome so much together, and we grew a ton. I had dreams of the perfect roster, a line-up that would have all the skill, game understanding and camaraderie you could ever ask for. We’re even better than what I pictured, and we’ve proven it once again. Most importantly, we did not lose our connection to DotA along the way. We are true DotA lovers, and we are still able to enjoy the game as much as we need to, in order to give it all our time and energy. This game taught me so much about myself and about the world. This game got me to meet and connect with incredible people from all around the globe. I am so incredibly grateful for all of that.

Now is time to enjoy the fruits of our hard work. I want to thank everyone at OG who made this crazy achievement possible. Every single one of you was essential in this success. I want to thank my five teammates for being the best companions I could ever ask for. I want to thank my friends and family for believing and supporting us, through highs and lows.

Last, but surely not least, I want to thank OG fans for being the backbone of our story. You made all of this possible because you believed in our vision. We are grateful for the way you treat us. We know we have your support no matter what, and it makes us invincible.
This is your win as much as it is ours, so once again, thank you.

Thank you

 


 

OG

#DreamOG
OG esports on Twitter
OG esports on Instagram
My twitter
My Instagram

 

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41 Comments

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41 responses to ““Back-to-back” TI champions

  1. Sophia Arique

    So proud of you!! You’re such a good person💕 Congratulations again! -fan from PH

  2. Gowtham Pkp

    This is so fucken beautiful man. Your way with words is so good. I hope to see a book on DOTA from you after you retire. The journey from ‘an okayish player’ to 4 Major winning coach and becoming a player and winning TI 2 times in a row’. Just realised this will also be a great movie.

  3. Joe Debs

    J’adore

    Télécharger Outlook pour Android

    ________________________________

  4. zazar

    Félicitations, la différence de niveau de l’équipe entre le dernier Major et TI a été impressionnante. en espérant que vous mainteniez un haut niveau l’année prochaine. Dota et tous les jeux tendent à bénéficier d’avoir une équipe dominante et consistante. Bonne chance pour la suite et à la team

  5. Hera

    I am so proud of you. Your bond with your team mates is superb! I love how you smile every after game, I love how you keep your cool all throughout and I love how you seem to assure them that things will fall onto right places! I love youuuu so much, Ceb!!! – Filipina fan❤️

  6. Ez_KatKa

    Merci Séb, deux étoiles sur le maillot de nouveau grâce à toi ! Continues de partager et motiver les nouveaux joueurs français. Let’s GO OG

  7. Simply ceeeebalicious !! We from online viewers had too much fun with ana’s play and topsons ganks !

  8. Artemis

    Thank you for the positive, and never give up attitude that you showed, for always encouraging your team, and the great and fun games 🙂

  9. sayabaca

    Even throughout your humble notes I can sense your wiseeeee gesture. You simply one of the ideal idols. And I want to say thank you for just being you. Truthfully, I somehow admires your gesture more as I’m not so good to understand the game itself yet I follow you and teams are doing nothing but the best!! Congratulations ceeebbbbb #dreamOG many more to come.. be ready and stay modest!

  10. Samir Ballouz

    Akho Manyuke, Alf Mabruk! Thank you for sharing your insights and can’t wait for the True Sight and eventual Redbull Video on TI9.

  11. OG FAN

    you are a real inspiration, remarkable human being

  12. I don’t tweet much, but on may 28 last year I tweeted to you (and even got a like from you haha) “goddamn you seb, it was hard enough before this tweet. og die hard fan since monkey business, I sure hope you and that beautiful flower get back stronger than ever. gl!” on what was one of the saddest blogs you ever posted.
    Now you’re a 2 time TI winner along the flower and I couldn’t be happier for you. Your fans love you my man 🙂

  13. insignificant animal

    i almost cried when u said this “Your potential equals the best DotA game you ever played, and that means you are surely much more talented than you actually realize.” ,thank you,you’ve just made my day 🙂

  14. I teared up a little. What a man! I am looking up to you not only as an esport athlete but also as a person who really inspires me. Congratulations again! #DreamOG

  15. yuls

    I am not a fan of dotA yet I haven’t played it in my entire life, but OG fully stole my attention since last year TI8. I knew many failures but this team is so solid and supporting. I learn many from you as team and personal. Even I tweeted “my thesis problem has no place than n0tail’s and OG’s backstory” LOL but yes you guys are truly inspiring. Even I asked my friends how to start playing dotA 😂 please always be who you are! I wish I could meet you guys someday and say thanks for showing true friendships and hardworks 👏👏❤

  16. Li Hao

    Strong mentality. Well played OG!

  17. Kay Hanalee

    Can hear Ceb’s voice while reading this. WEIRD. 😀

  18. You’ve done the whole community proud Ceb, I am so proud to be a fan you f you boys and we I got my picture taken with Ana and jeRax the day after you were knocked out of TI7, I still beloved you could win. And here were are. Back to back champion’s. You’ll always be my team, till the bitter end!!

  19. Congratulations man, you’ve played the DotA you wanted and won with it, amazing run guys hope to see you in the next Ti, saludos desde Sudamérica!

  20. im so happy to see OG win, to see you all get Aegis for the second time. The power of friendship really brings you all to be there, always believe in friends, and keep fighting even though you are at the lowest point. Then you also prove that Dota is not all about winning, you can have fun no matter what the situation.

  21. alkry

    Good writings, thank you for sharing!

  22. Finn Randall

    Hi Ceb! I have followed OG since the start and what an incredible journey you guys have gone on. In the Kiev Major true-sight I was so impressed with the mentality you brought to the team as coach, and then as a player you proved all the haters wrong in your first Ti since Ti2. You guys really have some of the best Ideas in dota and the faith in each other to execute them.
    Watching you guys play really is inspirational and I am so proud to be an OG fan. If I ever forget, all I have to do Is watch an OG game to remember why I love dota so much.

  23. Binescu

    This is a fan from Romania.
    At the beginning, when OG was invented, right away, there was something about the team that I loved and I couldn’t explain. I’ve rooted for OG in every single DotA tournament since 2015 and I feel that I always will. TI8 was a dream come true, TI9 was the certainty that it was not a dream. Keep it up! And if you won’t, it’s ok, I’ll like you just like I did in your guys lowest moments.

  24. This is very well written, Ceb! I wish I could meet you and the guys someday! You have also a lot of fans in the Philippines. Congrats on winning back to back! I can’t wait for the next TI! ❤ #DreamOG

  25. No other pro team enjoys a game of dotes with friends like you guys do. TI10 – let’s go OG!

    CEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEB!!!

  26. frost

    “I hope to see a book on DOTA from you after you retire.”

    I second this. And I also wanna say: Write shit down now. You will forget. Not in a year. But in 3. If you want to be able to tell your story later, you need to write it as it happens.

  27. JessyJesss

    You are such an inspiration, Ceb. It feels so good to be an OG fan, where you feel that the team you admire actually cares for their fans. I’ve been an OG fan since the Manila Major and been routing for you guys through your ups and downs. I wish for you guys more success and happiness. #DreamOG

  28. Anson

    Love you guys, all the best in new season

  29. Joe vince

    Ceb you and og are such an amazing story.

    I wanted to thank you for showing all the happy moments, and problems you guys have fone through .

    Please keep being a inspiration.

    P.s. i still can’t fathom your ti8 ace play. As time goes on you DESERVE a top10, and honestly top 3, greatest plays of all time.

  30. Leo

    I am Chinese,I really want LGD or VG any of these teams could get the champion. However, I really appreciate that OG you guys have shown us such great games, you guys are so awesome and you played so well. I love DOTA2, I also love the five of you: Ceb,Notail,Ana,Tompson,Jerax. Again, congratulations.

  31. Timo M

    Ceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeb! With Ana and Topson thinking so far out of the box, the other teams will always have hard time to counter you guys when you go “full OG” on them. In the final game of TI8, you guys picked probably the most “off meta” team of the tournament and it didn’t look that good the first 10 minutes, but you guys always seem to find a way to turn anything around. TI9 was just pure joy to watch. So good Dota and that “sorry about your pubs” tweet was priceless and in my mind it was all OG after that. You guys were on another level. Here’s to waiting on TI10 and what you guys will pull out of your bag of tricks to stun the entire game and meta! I suck at this game, but it still keeps me coming back and you guys are a big reason for it as well, so thank you Ceb and the rest of the team for that.

    Congrats on Winning TI9. Three-peat, maybe?

  32. Leaker

    Great but modest.
    —Regards from a LGD fan

  33. OG! OG! OG! Man, I really appreciate you taking some time to write a blog for us fans. Hoping that the current OG team will not change for next year’s TI. I’m saying it early: OG WINS 3-PEAT AEGIS!!

  34. Rohit Sharma

    Legend Ceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeb.

  35. Oh Fati

    This is Amazing. As a new Dota 2 player, this was my first TI, my first time siding with a team, and my first time witnessing how much passion a game could incur.
    So this noob (me 😂) not only got a taste of what this game is, she also got a taste of that passion.

    And I’m proud to say that I’m here for the long run for you guys, thanks to you guys. :’)

    Amazing job! Now let me learn how to play better, they’re destroying me in online games ;-;

  36. Simon

    Thank u and thank team OG for the nice play u brought us,I really like the way u guys play DotA.
    I am a Chinese DotA fan,not like others,I’m also confused why every Chinese fan just want to support Chinese team.I playe DotA over a decade and I love this game so much,all I want to see is a nice and high quality game,so I’m happy to watch OG’s game,there are also many people like me in China.
    Now I’m a big fan of OG,not because of u guys won TI,but your tactics and unity.I have realized OG became stronger than last year since the first game u played at Ti9,so it was not surprise me a lot when u finally won,u deserved it.
    My english is not good,hope u can understand what I want to say:)Congratulations and I am looking forward to watching your next game.

  37. berosmey

    Our loud scream will always for your show,
    You know ceb, i feel so proud of being ur (OG) fans, almost drop a tear when u’re all get that amazing achievment #DreamOG spam 🌻 to give OG a lot of powers!

  38. Teng

    OG TI8 and TI9 story is truly amazing, the TI8 grand final true sight i watched so many times, and the latest Red Bull video – Against the odds is also truly amazing

  39. Velsky

    damn, you guys deserve it… so proud of you guys -Indonesian fan

  40. Wai

    Congratulation on your awesome achievement from Down Under. You and your team were a pleasure to watch, and your camaraderie shines through in all that you do. Keep inspiring people to do what they love and have fun doing it!

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