One of the biggest stories from the Dota 2 world in 2018 was the absolute brilliance of OG at The International as they played near-perfectly to secure the title – even after nearly everyone wrote them off. One part of their amazing equation was a young Finnish star who came out of nowhere to take the team to the pinnacle of success in Dota 2 – Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen.
You don’t need to go very far back to find Topson’s first foray into the majestic universe of esports – it was only late in 2017 that his name was first seen or heard in Dota 2. He was picked up by Ilya “Illidan’ Pivcaev”s squad, SFTe-sports, a team which did surprisingly well – even registering a victory over OG at one stage, before drama within the organization forced the players to leave and appear under the name ‘No Rats’. Unfortunately, this squad barely lasted a month and all 5 players split, leaving Topson to move on to a Finnish squad which is where things begun to spark for the young prodigy.
Topson joined the Finns as they required a replacement for their World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) squad – a tournament sometimes regarded as one of the most unpopular Dota 2 events throughout the community. However, that aside, the team managed to make their way into the Global Finals to be held in China and through their European Qualifier performance, they decided to band together and form ‘5 Achors No Mid’ to compete beyond WESG.
(This team name is a fantastic throwback to ‘4 Anchors + Sea Captain’ which was the team which brought both Lasse ‘Matumbaman’ Urpalainen and Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka to the forefront of the Dota 2 world from their Finnish background.)
With neither squad really managing to make it very far, Topson left them behind and decided to turn his cap to the back and become the very best, like no one ever was – and nothing stood in his path. Without a team and focused on streaming to his Twitch followers, Topson dominated the European Dota 2 servers – and his time to shine was quickly approaching.
While Topson was reaching the solo dream, the cogs were in motion elsewhere – OG, having been on a rather poor run through the Dota 2 Pro Circuit were about to be in need of a few new players. In late May 2018 both Tal “Fly” Aizik and Gustav “s4” Magnusson left the OG lineup leaving the team to rebuild with their remaining 3 – and they definitely created a monster in doing so. The team saw the return of Anatha ‘ana’ Pham but more importantly the addition of Topson.
OG were counted out right from the initial announcement of the new squad, with many esports websites slating Topson as being the team’s weak link. The International 2018 EU Qualifiers were his first entrance into the ‘big leagues’ and what an entrance he made as OG turned their opponents to rubble and Topson was heading to his first LAN event – the biggest stage of them all, TI.
Just making it through the Group Stages of TI was huge in itself for Topson and OG, especially in Group A which had Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, PSG.LGD, Mineski and Fnatic – all hungry to take down their opponents. The dream Upper Bracket run awaited them after this as they took down VGJ.Storm, EG and LGD and made it to the Grand Finals, a feat which was amazing on its own with a young, new player.
We all know the outcome of those Grand Finals, a 3-2 victory over firm favourites PSG.LGD – Topson, at his first ever TI would aid his team to lift the Aegis after OG had seemed to be down-and-out through the DPC.
2018 was a year filled with some amazing Dota 2 – and some unfortunate events too – but Topson’s story is definitely one of the most inspiring to know and witness and we hope that 2019 brings us more amazing play from him and OG.
headline image credit: Valve
Disclaimer: VPEsports is a Washington?State based?esports news media company funded by VPGame.