The EG that we once knew is no more. The reign over North America that came off the back of PPD’s leadership was gobbled up by their competitors after his forced departure. After taking first place at TI5 and 3rd at TI6 with PPD, EG placed 9th-12th at TI7 in his absence. It was becoming abundantly clear that in order for EG to regain their status changes needed to be made and the team agreed. It started immediately after TI7 with the departure of Zai, bringing back Fear into the lineup. Shortly after that, in December of 2017, Universe announced his departure from the team which moved Suma1L to the offlane, and Fear to Mid while bringing in Misery to take over as 5 position support and captain of the team.
Even with Suma1L doing well in the offlane it wasn’t enough to bring EG back to being a serious contender, the best results being their win at GESC: Indonesia and a 2nd place finish at Galaxy Battles 2, a tournament which was removed from the DPC. After six months of middling results the members of EG decided another change was needed and kicked Misery, with Fear once again leaving the roster. After leaving such a legacy behind him Fear’s departure from the team was particularly shocking, being with them since 2011 as both a player and coach. To replace Fear and Misery EG turned to a very surprising pair of players, signing Fly and S4 from OG.
EG has always been filled with some of the most talented professionals in the Dota 2 scene and their acquisition of both Fly and S4 lives up to the standards of such an organization. EG is the Heavyweight champion of the North American region, simply losing their footing for a brief period of time is acceptable as all teams must go through transitional phases after making major roster moves.
While we as a community may be quick to write off a team or certain players as soon as they begin to under-perform based on our expectations of them, it’s important to remember why we thought so highly of them in the first place. This goes both for the newcomers of Fly and S4 from OG, and for Arteezy, Suma1L, and Cr1t. It reminds me of an old story about a Heavyweight Champion in Boxing who is now better known for selling grills in North America than he is for his Boxing career, George Foreman.
George Foreman won his first Heavyweight title in 1973, and by 1977 he decided to take time off and retire before coming back over a decade later to try to regain his belt. In 1994 he became the Heavyweight champion once again at the age of 45. Likewise EG were once the champions, but instead of going into retirement they have slowly lost their way due to the passage of both time (patches) and players. They currently stand at the edge of a potential comeback, with the leadership of Fly and the brilliance of S4 in the offlane as their newest weapons. They can make their comeback into the top of competitive Dota 2 and once again become the champions of not just the North American region but the whole world, but only if they can seize the opportunity here at TI8. It will be hard and the path will not be easy, but each of them have proven they have what it takes to stand on that stage against the best of them. Will they be remembered for what they accomplished in the past, or will they continue to add to their story of dominance in Dota 2? Indeed, only time will tell.
EG has an advantage few other teams who are heading into TI have, nobody is really sure exactly how they’ll approach their matches. They can continue their lane-focused approach they had before acquiring S4 and Fly from OG, a style which would probably work quite well given the current meta of dual lanes and the individual talent that is oozing out of the members of the team. Their showing at The Summit 8 proved they could more than handle themselves against some of the other competitors they’ll be facing at TI and their laning stage was almost never lost. In fact, if we were to only take The Summit as evidence of how EG will do, they may have one of the strongest laning stages in the world. Even when they were dying in lane, they were still able to out cs their opponents nearly every time. An example of this came in the grand finals against Fnatic, where despite being down 7-2 in kills and being roamed on in every lane they had the 2nd,3rd, and 4th highest net worth. This was happening while the enemy safelane was also being shut down fairly effectively. Eventually when they were able to take a good fight we immediately saw them overtake the 1st and 2nd spots on networth and the game quickly became much easier for EG. Every lane has players known for being able to outplay their opponents but the difficulties come after that.
The mid-game is where teams must be on the same page and avoid getting caught out of position, something that might be difficult for a team with a new captain and players adjusting to their new environment. We saw this come into play during the group stage of the NA qualifiers for TI, EG would sometimes clearly be confused about the state of the game and would be operating off how each player perceived the game to be going, rather than listening to a single unifying voice. To EG’s credit this problem should be rectified as the players become more familiar with each other. Fly is well known for being able to bring out the best in his players as we saw with how he enabled Miracle on OG. With Suma1L and Arteezy on EG it would be hard to imagine he would have difficulty doing the same with them, especially given how well Suma1L has been playing lately.
We’ve seen Fly bring a little bit of his old style back with some Phoenix picks, as well as taking a page out of the current meta with Necrophos and Bloodseeker. The combination of old and new proved to be successful at The Summit and the main qualifiers for TI. He’s also been drafting Magnus, a rather unseen hero lately, and using empower to make EG even more efficient at farming quickly on Arteezy and Suma1L. This is without mentioning Magnus’ team fight potential, with RP being a bkb piercing stun, and Shockwave being a decent pushing tool for S4 himself. This speaks to the plan Fly has created in order to win; buff Suma1L and Arteezy and empower them to carry games. Overall it will be up to all of them to determine whether or not this will be the beginning of EG’s revival or just another stop along the way.
The Canadian wonder child Arteezy is somewhat of a Dota 2 prodigy even if EG’s results haven’t been great as of late. He made a name for himself at a young age and ever since 2014, when he joined EG, he’s been one of the best core players in Dota 2. Nearly everyone has seen the Twitch clips of his Armlet toggling or Manta dodges. While the NA region had been notoriously weak in the early days of Dota 2 Arteezy was seen as a potential change to our situation, followed similarly by Suma1L. While there has been fierce debate over the two of them not being able to work on a team together due to the greedy farm-heavy approach to Dota 2 they both have, the issues that EG have faced seem to be rooted deeper than that. Winning TI would certainly put the doubts of Arteezy and Suma1L being able to work together to bed once and for all though.
Graphics: Valve, Julmust, Exitiums
Graphics: Valve, Julmust, Exitiums