This article is part of our Dota 2 series.
OG Esports became the Cinderella story of the year in esports after taking down PSG.LGD 3-2 to win The International 2018 in Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, capping an incredible run of games from qualifiers to becoming $11 million richer Saturday night.
Despite entering the grand finals from the upper bracket, OG was considered the underdog throughout the tournament, thanks to multiple roster moves made just prior to TI. With two players who had played only two years of professional Dota between them, including team captain Sebastien "7ckingMad" Debs, to even make it to the top stages of Dota would have been considered a victory.
On the hunt for revenge after being knocked into the lower bracket earlier by OG, PSG.LGD was warmed up after thrashing Evil Geniuses earlier in the day to qualify for the grand finals. Still, the Chinese team struggled in Game 1, unable to deal with the Meteor Hammer pushes from 7ckingMad's Treant Protector in combination with stellar Earthshaker plays by OG's support Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka. Game 2 was a complete 180 for PSG.LGD, which outdrafted its opponents' strategy by giving star player Lu "Maybe" Yao a Kunkka – whose X Marks the Spot shut down OG's global mobility abilities. OG's young mid laner was the target of many attacks, as Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen finished Game 2 with no kills and 12 deaths on Invoker, his best hero.
In Game 3, PSG.LGD once again rode to an easy victory off the back of its superior draft. LGD's ability to pressure the lanes was crucial to keeping Anathan "ana" Pham and Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen from getting off to a good start. The combination of Alchemist and Brewmaster were perfect counters to deal with OG's Phantom Lancer and Morphling. Game 4 was yet another brutal outdraft for PSG.LGD, giving its players confidence heading into what many thought would be the final match of TI8. PSG.LGD's captain Xu "fy" Linsen as Tusk was his team's saving grace, using his Snowball ability to protect his teammates from 7ckingMad's Berserkers Call. OG never surrendered, taking every inch PSG.LGD would allow, and slowly but surely worked its way back into the game for an incredible victory, forcing the first grand finals Game 5 since 2013.
Game 5 saw a contentious draft from both teams, with PSG.LGD ultimately getting the advantage once again. Maybe being given his signature Kunkka was a boon, as the star mid laner jumped out to a very fast start, winning his lane and wreaking havoc on the underfarmed heroes of OG. Choosing to play it safe was ultimately LGD's undoing as the players of OG hit their window of opportunity, perfectly rushing down the lanes, leaving dead heroes in their wake to claim the victory and the Aegis of Champions.
OG will reign as the best team in the world, The International 2018 champions for an entire year and will return home with $11,208,905. PSG.LGD will return home with $4,075,965.