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Western European juggernauts OG claimed the championship of the ESL One Dota 2 Stockholm Major, capping off an incredible lower bracket run by defeating North American powerhouse TSM FTX 3-1 in the grand finals on Sunday (23 May).
OG's run in the Stockholm Major is made even more remarkable by the fact that they won with stand-ins. After Mikhail "Misha" Agatov and Evgenii "Chuvash" Makarov encountered visa issues, OG veterans and two-time The International champions Sébastien "Ceb" Debs and Johan "N0tail" Sundstein stood in as the team's position 5 support and coach, respectively, for the Major.
After a solid showing in the group stage, OG earned an upper bracket berth in the playoffs and faced TSM in the first round. The North American squad swept OG in their first encounter of the tournament to knock them down to the lower bracket.
TSM then proceeded to sweep Gaimin Gladiators 2-0 and defeat Tundra Esports 2-1 to become the first team in the Stockholm Major grand finals.
Meanwhile, OG went on a rampage in the lower bracket, starting off with a 2-0 sweep over BOOM Esports before outlasting Fnatic, 2-1. They then scored three-straight 2-0 sweeps over Thunder Awaken, Gaimin Gladiators, and Tundra Esports, earning their rematch with TSM for the Stockholm Major championship.
The North American squad started the grand finals strong, as they took a dominant 33-minute win in the series opener with a 31-9 kill lead, managing to find an answer to Ceb's Windranger that had looked unstoppable in the series that came before.
Unfazed, OG quickly struck back in game two and tied up the series 1-1, after a 38-minute beatdown of TSM.
Bozhidar "bzm" Bogdanov on Storm Spirit notched a series-high 14 kills while Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf on Night Stalker pitched in with 12 kills of his own to pace OG's 45-15 kill lead in game two.
The pivotal third game of the series saw OG emerge victorious over TSM in a hard-fought 41-minute slugfest behind standout performances from bzm on Invoker and Artiem "Yuragi" Golubiev on Templar Assassin.
The two players led the way for their team with 12 and 11 kills, respectively, while only having two deaths apiece.
OG smelled blood in the water in game four, as they simply bulldozed TSM in a 37-4 stomp. Some excellent maneuvers from the support duo of Tommy "Taiga" Le on Grimstroke and Ceb on Windranger allowed OG to dominate the laning stage.
The team just snowballed from there, eventually forcing the GG call from TSM after 33 minutes to secure the 3-1 series victory. Yuragi on Bloodseeker notched a game-high 11 kills against two deaths, bzm on Storm Spirit had a clean 10 kills of his own, while ATF pitched in with a clean nine kills to close out the series.
— ESL Dota2 @ the Stockholm Major! 🐣 (@ESLDota2) May 22, 2022
With their victory, OG claimed the grand prize of US$200,000 and 680 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points. This also marks the organisation's fifth Major championship, with their last Major title coming from the Kiev Major back in 2017.
With that said, the Stockholm Major title is the first for the players on OG's new young squad. While this is also Ceb's fifth Major championship, it is his first as a player after he won his first four as the coach of OG.
Meanwhile, TSM's commendable run in Stockholm ends in a second place finish. They will be taking home US$100,000 and 610 DPC points in consolation.
OG and TSM's DPC point earnings from the Stockholm Major have also earned them coveted direct invites to The International 11, which will be hosted in Singapore in October.
Here's an in-depth breakdown of the Stockholm Major grand finals:
Despite OG's overwhelming momentum from their lower bracket run, TSM grounded them to a halt to start the grand finals. After TSM took the series opener in a 31-9, 33-minute stomp, it seemed as if OG may have finally found their match.
Or so it seemed. In game two, it was clear how much TSM respected ATF, as they spent their first five bans on offlane heroes, leaving Ceb's Windranger in the pool. Ceb was 11-1 with the hero at the Stockholm Major, with the only loss coming in game one of the finals, yet teams were reluctant to respect ban a support.
OG doubled down on mobility in game two, taking Storm Spirit for bzm, Night Stalker for ATF, and a Monkey King for Yuragi. Taiga's job was to provide the team with heavy artillery as Snapfire.
TSM also had mobility on their mind for their cores. Enzo "Timado" Gianoli had a carry Nature's Prophet, Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek had Darkseer, and Jonathan "Bryle" De Guia was on Puck. TSM rounded up the draft with Doom for David "MoonMeander" Tan and Pugna for Kim "DuBu" Doo-young.
The issue with TSM's draft is the lack of stuns. Apart from Puck's Dream Coil, the team had no way of locking people down unless Doom eats a Centaur and has a Blink Dagger — a tall order, especially for a position four.
OG managed to win the laning stage thanks to Yuragi's Monkey King laning against two melee heroes. TSM ceded six deaths in the top lane in the first 10 minutes, giving the Western European squad a significant early game advantage.
Despite having five of his heroes banned, ATF proved his flexibility on Night Stalker as he had an absolutely dominant performance in game two. After OG traded Ceb for Bryle and Dubu, ATF decided to continue the fight and allowed OG to get three more kills for the team while diving the tier four towers and magically escaping like Houdini.
One of the reasons OG was able to take out Tundra Esports was due to Ceb making huge plays in both games of the series. Ceb managed to survive ganks that nobody but a two-time TI winner could.
That ability showed itself again when OG faced TSM in the finals. Despite being focused by Bryle, Ceb survived on a sliver of health as his team turned the fight around, killing six members of TSM while only losing Taiga. It was game over for TSM after that fight as the series was evened out 1-1.
TSM started game three with a focus on stronger lanes for themselves. To that end, the team picked up a Monkey King for MoonMeander and an offlane Night Stalker for Saberlight. DuBu remained on his signature Pugna while Bryle and Timado played Leshrac and Wraith King, respectively. It was a good mixture of mobility, lockdown, and mixed damage types on TSM.
OG opened their draft with the Dragon Knight-Snapfire duo for ATF and Taiga, giving the team two durable heroes with low cooldown stuns. Ceb's Windranger was banned so he took another skillshot archer hero in Mirana. Bzm's Invoker was responsible for dishing out magic damage while Yuragi took Templar Assassin to deal heavy physical damage.
It was a good lineup and a good start for TSM, the lanes were going well for them as they secured five kills for the team while only losing MoonMeander once. TSM started to pull ahead until the most unlikely enemy showed himself.
Sometimes it's obvious that Gaben himself interferes in Dota 2 pro games and that's what happened at the nine-minute mark. For some reason, a neutral creep decided to stun Bryle at a critical moment, giving OG two kills and allowing them to stop TSM's snowball. The North American squad had no chance when facing the combined might of OG and Gaben.
Despite the setback, TSM still managed to pull ahead in game three. It was a smaller lead than the team had relied on but it still allowed TSM to control the map during the mid game and take a networth advantage.
That was until the 31-minute mark when OG managed to fight back against TSM despite the Aegis advantage. The North American squad was forced to take a fight next to multiple choke points, which worked to the advantage of bzm's Invoker. It was a huge teamwipe for OG, who only lost Ceb.
OG's big teamfight victory led to an 11,000 net worth swing in their favor, firmly placing control of the game in their hands. TSM was forced to call the game 10 minutes later, giving OG a commanding 2-1 series lead.
The final game in the series saw TSM double down on teamfight for their supports, with MoonMeander on Snapfire and Silencer for Dubu. Bryle and Timado picked Leshrac and Wraith King again while Saberlight picked Dragon Knight as his Enigma was banned.
OG took three of their most picked heroes in the patch: Windranger for Ceb, Mars for ATF, and Storm Spirit for bzm. Yuragi played his first Bloodseeker pick of the patch while Taiga took Grimstroke.
Grimstroke lineups tend to be risky to play, as the team relies on getting Soulbind combos off to succeed. Luckily for OG, the final game of the series was by far the most one-sided of the grand final.
OG absolutely crushed the laning stage, securing seven kills for themselves while only losing Taiga once. They then used their early game advantage to purchase Black King Bar on all three of their core heroes.
This proved pivotal for OG during the mid game, as TSM attempted to bring down ATF but ended up losing three of their heroes instead. ATF's three Bracer purchases also allowed him to shrug off a lot of the damage coming from TSM.
It was all over for TSM after that, OG's heroes were simply unkillable and the final game of the series ended with a score of 37-4. And just like that, OG claimed the championship of the Stockholm Major, their Major fifth title as an organisation.
Artiem "Yuragi" Golubiev
Bozhidar "bzm" Bogdanov
Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf
Tommy "Taige" Le
Sébastien "Ceb" Debs (stand-in)
Johan "N0tail" Sundstein (stand-in coach)
TSM FTX roster:
Enzo "Timado" Gianoli
Jonathan "Bryle" De Guia
Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek
David "MoonMeander" Tan
Kim "DuBu" Doo-young
Rasmus "MISERY" Filipsen