OG the first team ever to win two Majors
Team Liquid and OG are the only two European teams that stuck together since their inception, right after The International 5. Starting their journey on 28th of August 2015 as 5JuNGz and (monkey) Business respectively, the two teams had immediate success and rebranded just before the Frankfurt Major where OG became the first ever major Champions after a miraculous lower bracket run.
This time around it was Team Liquid who fought hard to avoid elimination during the entire playoff days to claim their spot next to OG in the Manila Major grand finals.
There’s no doubt that both teams know each other extremely well and that was obvious from the very first draft of the series. Liquid denied all the heroes that made the difference for OG through the entire tournament and won the game with a last pick Timbersaw for Adrian 'FATA-' Trinks into the four melees Fly drafted for his team.
OG recognized themselves as outdrafted and tried to salvage the situation with an aggressive starting trilane where the duo Lich – Earth Spirit should have shut down Ursa. However, it was Kuro 'KuroKy' Salehi Takhasomi’s Riki who zoned out Amer 'Miracle-' Barqawi and his supports while the other two lanes were also easily won by TL.
With both Lifestealer and Alchemist falling behind, OG rotated their carry in the safe at the ten minute mark but Liquid was one step ahead and all five heroes were smoked hunting in the enemy jungle for the Beastmaster or the Earth Spirit. Despite having the Radiance ready well before the 20 minute mark, OG couldn’t surprise Liquid in anyway as the Riki support provided the superior vision for his team and OG was constantly initiated with silences on their cores. The game ended in the 37th minute with a 38-10 kill score in favour of Team Liquid, who had one of the most dominant performances in the tournament with this opening game of the grand finals.
For the second game it was OG who tricked their adversaries during the drafting stage with a third pick Faceless Void followed by Juggernaut which TL read as an offlane hero. But OG closed the draft with a Dark Seer for David 'MoonMeander' Tan and put Johan 'N0tail' Sundstein on the Void safe lane.
Although Liquid got most of their comfort heroes, including the Lasse 'MATUMBAMAN' Urpalainen’s Lycan and Fata’s Dragon Knight, they got outmaneuvered in the laning stage and OG built up their lead with successful early rotations from their supports in both mid and safe lane.
Miracle snowballed extremely fast on the back of his two kills on DK before the six minute mark and was able to roam every time his Omnislash was off cool down to increase his farm even more. Two Roshan kills with the Aegis placed on the Juggernaut was all OG needed to chop through Liquid’s base and equalize the series score.
The draft for the third game was a tinkered version of the previous one for both teams, the new additions being Lion and Sven for OG, while Liquid brought in the Vengeful Spirit to counter the Void Chrono. The three cores draft for OG functioned like a well oiled machine due to deep warding and extremely good fight sustainability provided by the Phoenix and Juggernaut’s Healing Ward. Only 12 minutes into the game OG was able to gank and dive behind tier two towers securing pickoffs on the Dragon Knight on the back of two-three man Chronos that annihilate any kind of help from Fatas’s supports. Around the thirty minute mark, the Void Aghanim’s Scepter and Sven’s Daedalus came online and with a last Aegis secured five minutes later OG took the lead of the series.
The last game featured what we could call now, OG’s lucky charm hero, namely Elder Titan handled by Andreas 'Cr1t-' Nielsen along with Fly’s flawless Phoenix and a surprise Wrath King last pick for N0tail. Liquid went for an intricate minus armor strategy with Slardar and a carry Weaver.
Although in the first 15 minutes only five kills happened across the map, with the first blood in Liquid’s favor, the game was far from a passive one. Both teams looked for ganks but the reactive plays from all four supports were on spot and the mid game stage found OG and Liquid still even in farm.
The first team wipe took place 20 minutes into the game when OG smoked as five trying to surprise Liquid in their own jungle but they didn’t take into consideration a finished Radiance on Lone Druid’s Bear and instead of securing a lead for themselves, they got counter initiated and lost all their heroes. Nonetheless, Miracle had one objective only, namely to continuously haunt the Enchantress, and took her down countless times, creating enough space for WK to build up on his farm and at the same time putting Liquid in the impossibility of contesting Roshan as a 4v5 team fight scenario.
Slowly but surely OG kept pushing Liquid and displayed great discipline and patience when it came to high ground siege. It took them nearly ten minutes of slow sieging the tier three towers before they fully committed in Liquid’s base to become the first team ever to win two Valve Championships.
Manila Major final standings: