The Frenchman Sébastien “Ceb” Debs not only has one of the most famous careers dota 2but in all esports.
The former OG offlaner, along with his OG teammates, is one of five players to become two-time Dota 2 world champions after winning The International 2019 (TI9) and The International 2018 (TI8).
He has also won three Majors as a coach and another last year as a substitute, which he recently recalled. ‘The Return of Ceb’ documentary with Red Bull.
In an exclusive interview Yahoo Esports SEACebe reflected on his colorful career and pointed to OG’s victory at TI8 as his pinnacle.
“The pinnacle has to be TI8, in the sense that I’ve been chasing something for over a decade. It’s something that I’ve dedicated years and years of my life to,” Cebe said.
“And when that happened, it’s an incredible feeling and I don’t think anything can top that. So that was definitely the pinnacle.”
And what a peak it was. Despite the team’s reputation as four-time major champions at the time, OG entered TI8 as a major underdog.
Sudden departures of key players disrupted the roster, which forced Ceb to switch from coach to player while the team brought back Anathan “ana” Pham and signed an unproven midfielder Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen.
Rounding out that legendary team were Johan “N0tail” Sundstein and Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka.
That OG team is the stuff of legends now, but many expected them to bomb from TI8 in last place. It wasn’t even a controversial debate.
But we all know what happened next. Against all odds, OG claimed their first Aegis of Champions in an epic run that culminated in a titanic clash with PSG.LGD in the grand finals.
The ‘True Sight’ documentary for the grand finals of TI8 That legendary match was released by Dota 2 developer Valve Software a month later and Ceb’s fearless leadership and great play (especially in the fourth game) were crucial to OG’s victory.
The second time is not so easy
While Ceb listed TI8 as the “emotional peak” of his career, he believed that OG’s victory at TI9 was his greatest achievement.
“TI9 was the biggest achievement because it’s much harder to win as a favorite. To win again when everyone is expecting you, when everyone had their eyes on you all year, and also because you had to deal with yourself internally,” Cebe said. .
“What has it been, four years now? And we’re still the only player to win twice, that’s already a bit crazy, let alone back to back.”
The two-time champion explained that winning TI9 wasn’t as easy as going back and doing things again.
Cebe and his teammates had to deal with internal and external pressures, especially now that the team was seen as title contenders.
“As the competitors find the same level of motivation, not resting on your laurels, not being distracted by all that public recognition that comes with it, you have to handle a lot of stress. And the competition is tougher because everyone is trying. that much harder when they want to beat you,” Cebe said. .
“If they beat you, because that’s the closest they get to winning TI themselves, if you beat winners it’s true proof that you too can become winners,” Cebe said.
But despite once again facing seemingly overwhelming odds, Ceb and OG did the previously impossible and became two-time TI champions at TI9 for the first time, doing it in incredibly dominant fashion.
The TI9 Grand Finals True Sight Ceb continued to prove himself as the heart and soul of OG, rallying his teammates to another championship run.
While OG proved it was possible to win TI twice, it’s highly unlikely that another team will pull off a back-to-back championship.
In the two TIs since TI9, the defending champions only managed to reach the Top 8. Ceb and OG were knocked out by eventual champions Team Spirit at TI10, and Spirit themselves finished 13th-16th. they were eliminated in the TI11.
“I think it’s a testament to how hard it was. And I think every team that won TI once and they’re trying their luck again, this year it’s Tundra and last year it was Spirit, they’re going to realize one after the other what a great achievement it was honestly, after win,” Cebe said.
While many believed that OG’s TI9 win was a fortuitous outcome, Cebe and his teammates saw it differently, with the offlaner even telling Yahoo at the time that the win “meant everything” and that he felt he was “game over.”
Every match was a struggle, every step up the mountain a struggle, and Ceb said that after he and his team had reached it, they realized they were almost back to the top.
“It was very difficult. I think the ten years I spent in the grind were not as hard as this season. That season took everything from us, it was very hard,” said Cebe.
“You can never see the top of this mountain, and you just have to keep going and keep going and keep going until you have to. But I think it wasn’t until the last minute, during the tournament, that we realized during the run, ‘Okay, maybe we can do this.’
“It cost me all the money I had then”: Cebek quit Dota 2 almost before the OG dream
But for all the glory he won during his illustrious career, the two-time champion had to go through some rough times first.
If becoming the TI champion was the pinnacle of his career, Cebe said the lowest point was when he decided to end what was then a fruitless endeavor.
“I think in the beginning before I joined OG as a coach, because at that moment I decided to leave Dota completely, once and for all,” said Cebe.
“That’s got to be the lowest point, I think at that point I was at Alliance, I was working really, really hard and trying as hard as I could. I think we had really, really good results online, maybe more like 80 percent or so. rather than a 90 percent win rate, if I remember correctly. But in the end we didn’t even qualify for TI, so that was shocking news for me.”
In a scenario familiar to all professional Dota 2 players or anyone competing in esports, Cebe said he quit when he realized he wasn’t going anywhere.
“Then I was still a student, I was still studying. I had a lot of financial problems, because for Dota you have to travel a lot and everything. It really cost me all the money I really had then. It was becoming. it’s very difficult to live my daily life. So life caught up with me and if I didn’t succeed in Dota that year, I promised myself that I would quit. And I didn’t, so I decided to quit,” he said. Ceb.
But Ceb was one of the lucky ones who had another chance. The game pushed back because OG was looking for a coach in 2016. He took it and they won three Majors. And we all know what happened next.
“Next thing you know, half a year later, N0tail reached out to him, asking if I’d be interested in coaching. I accepted and it went really well, we won the Major, and the whole OG thing started right away. that,” Cebe said.
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