Two-time The International (TI) champions OG will be missing out on Dota 2's world championship tournament for the first time in the organisation's history after they were knocked out of TI 2023's Western European regional qualifier by Quest Esports on Wednesday (30 August).
Quest were widely considered to be the heavy favourites to claim the first of two spots for TI 2023 in the Western European qualifier. Meanwhile, OG were expected to be among the many squads contending for the second spot.
However, the qualifier has not gone quite as expected for both teams. Quest started the qualifier strong with a 2-0 sweep over KZ Team but were unexpectedly knocked down to the lower bracket in the next round after getting upset by Luna Galaxy.
Meanwhile, OG were immediately dropped down to the lower bracket by Team Secret. They then had to go through Ancient Tribe and Alliance to meet Quest in the lower bracket quarterfinals.
Quest had to outlast OG in a hard-fought three-game series to survive to the final day of the qualifiers.
Game one may end up being the best game of the entire TI 2023 regional qualifiers as Quest practically stole an 83-minute win away from OG. Both teams were geared for the late game, with Quest being led by Aybek "TA2000" Tokayev's Naga Siren while OG looked to Artem "Yuragi" Golubiev's Medusa.
Quest dominated for much of the game, thanks in large part to Tony "No!ob" Assaf's Pangolier dominating the teamfights. However, OG put up a stubborn defense of their base that forced the game well past the hour-mark.
While OG slowly clawed their way back into a winning position, Quest slowly chipped away at their base and had their opponents' Ancient exposed. OG looked like they could pull off the comeback with key pickoffs just outside of their opponents' base, but it was only a distraction as Quest snuck into their base to steal the win.
TA2000 and No!ob each had 11 kills to pace Quest's 36-34 kill lead in that nail-biter of a game one. Meanwhile, Yuragi put up 17 kills and 12 assists on four deaths despite the loss.
OG then bounced back in another drawn-out affair in game two, surviving another strong midgame onslaught from Quest before successfully closing things out in 58 minutes to force a decider.
Yuragi once again led the way for OG, this time on Terrorblade, notching 15 kills and eight assists against two deaths to fuel his team's 29-25 kill lead.
While the first two games of the series were slugfests that were decided by the narrowest margins, game three seemed decided from the draft as Quest methodically closed out the series in 44 minutes.
Quest countered OG's midgame deathball draft anchored by Yuragi's Luna with a Shadow Demon pick for Oleh "kaori" Medvedok, who shut down the enemy carry in the laning stage and in teamfights.
Despite their best efforts to mount a comeback, OG could do little to stop Quest from knocking them out of contention for a spot in TI 2023. Tobias "Tobi" Buchner notably shined for Quest in game three, pacing their 24-10 kill lead with eight kills and 12 assists on just one death as an offlane Earthshaker.
With their victory over OG, Quest advanced to the lower bracket semifinals, where they will face Team Secret on Thursday (31 August) for the chance to grab the second spot in TI 2023 out of the Western European qualifier.
Meanwhile, OG ends what has been a roller-coaster year in disappointment, failing to qualify for TI for the first time in the organisation's history. It remains to be seen what's next for the two-time TI champions.
— OG (@OGesports) August 30, 2023
TI 2023's regional qualifiers will run until 31 August, with the competition being split into three five-day phases where two regions will compete in each phase. With the qualifiers for North America, China, South America, and Eastern Europe now concluded, Western Europe and Southeast Asia will then close things out from 27 to 31 August.
China's Azure Ray, North America's Nouns Esports, Eastern Europe's Virtus.pro, as well as Vivo Keyd Stars and Thunder Awaken from South America were the first five teams to earn a spot in this year's world championship tournament for Dota 2 through the regional qualifiers.
TI 2023 will be hosted across multiple weekends from 12 to 29 October in Seattle, the United States. This year's tournament also features a revamped format split into two distinct phases, called 'The Road to The International' and 'The International' itself.