For those who have been out of the loop for a bit, OG has made it big, no...huge lately, winning not only this year's Dota 2 The International but last year's as well! It's the first time we've had the same team take the trophy home two years in a row, and that really speaks volumes about their level of coordination, teamwork, and skill.
Speaking of OG, we recently sat down for a chat with the team's no-nonsense midlaner, Topias Miikka Taavitsainen. "Topson", as the Dota 2 community knows him, discussed the team's recent achievements at The International, and also shared a little on his experiences. On an added note, he's in town this weekend as part of Singtel's PVP Esports segment at the Singapore Comic-Con, so make sure to check-in at his Q&A/autograph session if you get the chance - it'll be from 1-2 pm on Saturday, 7 December!
Getting back on topic, when we met him at the media preview on Thursday morning, we got a brief idea of how OG's opponents usually feel at tournaments. The sight of the tall, stocky Topson is pretty intimidating on his own, and we could only imagine the "aura" when the whole team is there. Eep!
Imposing appearances aside, let's get into the juicy bits.
Note: The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
HWZ: First of all, congratulations once again to the team for clinching TI8 and TI9 back-to-back. It's no easy feat to win such a prestigious tournament once, much less twice in a row.
Topson: Thank you.
HWZ: On that note, let's get into the interview proper. How did you first get into Dota 2, and what made you stick with it and decide to go competitive in the end?
Topson: It's quite the "usual" story, really. I saw my older brothers playing it and thought it looked fun, so I decided to give it a go myself. As for what made me stick around and go pro, I guess that's because I like the fact that there's always room for improving your game, regardless of how high up the competitive ladder you are.
HWZ: Who do you think was the toughest opponent the team had to face at TI9 and why?
Topson: Evil Geniuses (EG) seems like the prime contender here. While of course all the competing teams were extremely skilled, EG's mental resilience and never-say-die attitude just seemed impenetrable at times, making them that much more intimidating to face.
HWZ: Which is your favourite character in Dota 2, be it for gameplay or for lore?
Topson: Hmm...I actually like Earth Spirit a lot, simply because his playstyle and abilities really appeal to me. That being said, it's difficult to pinpoint an exact favourite since I find they're all unique and fun in their own right.
HWZ: How do you think the esports industry has changed since you came in?
Topson: Frankly, I've actually only been in the pro scene for about a year and a half, so I don't think it has changed that much for me. However, both the community and the initiatives have grown more substantial, which is definitely a good sign.
HWZ: No disagreements there. Last but not least, what's your fondest memory of Dota 2?
Topson: For me, it would definitely be that amazing comeback we made in TI8 against LGD during the Upper Bracket Finals. We were in a really rough spot: playing from behind the whole game, having to concede objectives, not to mention almost losing completely. However, somehow we managed to make it out of that and counterattack for the win. So yes, that was definitely one for the history books.
HWZ: And that's a wrap! Thank you for your time, Topson.
Topson: You're welcome!
With 2019 quickly coming to an end, it remains to be seen if OG will be able to hang on to their title for a third consecutive year. While we sip our tea and think about that, we hope everyone enjoys Singapore Comic-Con this weekend - there'll be lots to see, so don't miss out!
Featured Image: Valve