Just like last year’s Upper Bracket Finals, defending champions OG took out
Chinese juggernauts PSG.LGD 2-1, becoming the first team to make it to the Grand Finals of The International 2019.
PSG.LGD kicked off the first game with a strong core duo with Wang “Ame” Chunyu on Ember Spirit and Lu “Somnus丶M” Yao on Gyrocopter, while OG countered with a high-damage lineup with global presence in Faceless Void for Anathan “ana” Pham, Zeus for Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen, and Nature’s Prophet for Sebastien “Ceb” Debs.
Both teams were content to trade kills early, but OG came out looking better after they invaded LGD’s jungle, killed three of their heroes, and got the tier one mid tower. OG’s early success let Ceb get a 14-minute Orchid Malevolence, but he would get picked off by Ame and give away a big bounty.
That pickoff on Ceb gave Ame a huge boost in farm, which subsequently let him lead LGD to invade OG’s side of the map and win the ensuing fight to seize the lead. OG would later attempt to contest a Rosh attempt by LGD, but the Chinese team won the ensuing fight and even forced a buyback from ana. While OG failed to snatch the Aegis away from their opponents, they were able to escape without losing any more of their cores.
Pick offs ended up dictating the result of the game, with OG getting one on Ame to try and stall, only to hand the reins over to LGD when ana got picked off without buyback. With their carry on the sidelines for 2 minutes, OG tried to mount a desperate defense against an LGD intent on punishing ana’s mistake, but the Chinese juggernauts could not be stopped from taking the first game of the series.
For the second game LGD picked a fast-paced tower pushing composition with Ame on Sven, Somnus on Dragon Knight, with Xu “fy” Linsen on Jakiro for even more pushing power. OG opted for a classic facerush lineup featuring Alchemist for ana, Tiny for Topson, Ceb on Dark Seer, Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka on Spiritbreaker, and Johan “N0tail” Sundstein on Chen.
The early game was relatively quiet as OG was content with LGD getting more kills in exchange for ana getting free farm, which led to a 10-minute Radiance pickup.
LGD mistakenly thought that meant OG wanted to take it late and let both Ame and Somnus build into a Hand of Midas, which played into the defending champions’ hands as they went on an early offensive. With his Radiance, along with Ion Shell and Surge buffs from Ceb, ana repeatedly bulldozed his way through a hapless LGD lineup.
With LGD on the backfoot, OG pressed their advantage by getting pick offs, taking objectives, and even diving into the enemy tier three towers 16 minutes into the game. With ana’s Alchemist virtually unstoppable and their towers falling before them, LGD was forced to call GG and let the series go to a deciding game three.
OG ran the Alchemist-Chen combo again for ana and Notail for the decisive game three, alongside a mid Tidehunter for Topson and Legion Commander for Ceb. Meanwhile, LGD countered with a core duo that could compete late with Ame on Slark and Somnus on Tiny.
Having learned their lesson from game two, LGD pressured ana heavily, but OG did their best to keep his farm in good shape — including an instance where Notail pulled a creep wave from the bottom lane all the way to ana in mid. With the Alchemist armed and ready, OG went on the offensive once more.
LGD clawed their way back to the game by turning the tables on an OG gank and getting multiple pickoffs afterwards. However, OG set their sights on the Rosh pit and the Chinese squad were unable to stop them. With the Alchemist having the Aegis of Immortality in hand, OG marched down the middle lane and took the first set of barracks of the game.
LGD were able to hold against OG’s next attempt at their top barracks and were in position to even take the next Roshan away from them, but OG bought back and won the clash for it to give ana his second Aegis.
The game drew on long enough that ana’s Alchemist was already six-slotted and had the money to give his allies Aghanim’s Scepters. He would hand it over to Topson’s Tidehunter, who picked up a Desolator and utilized his hero’s talents to become a secondary damage-dealer on top of his teamfight-changing ultimate in Ravage. OG took the fight to LGD’s and the Chinese team delay the inevitable, eventually losing the bottom barracks.
LGD put up a valiant defense, but a clutch Duel by Ceb’s Legion Commander caught out Ame and let OG kill him without buyback. The Chinese squad would try to hold on to the very end, but OG destroyed their Ancient to claim the series and the first spot at the Grand Finals.
OG has now become the first team since Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) in 2013 to make the Grand Finals of The International for a second time, and will also be the first team to defend their title since Na’Vi in 2012. Most importantly, the defending champions are in prime position to become the first-ever team to claim the Aegis of Champions twice.
Meanwhile, LGD will await the winner of the match between Team Liquid and Team Secret to find out who they will face in the Lower Bracket Finals, where a shot to wrest the championship from OG will be at stake.