Exclusive: Ceb talks OG’s new players, and what goes into building a team


This is the first article in an exclusive interview series with OG’s Sébastien “Ceb” Debs.

Two Aegises of Champions, multiple Major titles, and one retirement later, Sébastien “Ceb” Debs is still here.

He’s taking on yet another new role, this time as the captain and hard support for OG’s newest Dota 2 roster.  In this exclusive interview with ONE Esports during ESL One Kuala Lumpur in December, Ceb talks about OG’s newest acquisitions, how OG prepares for player changes and roster reshuffles, and what separates OG from the rest of the pack.

OG’s two new players were a year in the making

Credit: Valve

OG has always been bold in trying something new, and their post-TI12 roster shuffle was yet another example. The team elected to pick up Adrián “Wisper” Dobles and Matthew “Ari” Walker as their new offlane duo.

Ceb said that recruitment at OG isn’t about “reacting to opportunities,” but rather a steady scouting process that ensures the names are already there when the time comes.

“We spend a lot of time building a team and thinking through the dynamics,” Ceb said. “We think through if we have to make a change or if anything comes up, who would be our first choices and what prospects. You kind of have to do that throughout the season.”

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“We’ve been talking about them for almost a year, even though we didn’t plan on making any changes back then,”

This long-term process for OG meant that the organization was one of the earliest to announce their finalized rosters in November last year, in contrast with other Western European rivals like Tundra Esports and Team Secret.

“I think if you start doing it as soon as the need happens, then you have to rush it, and you probably end up with a worse option in terms of how well it would fit within the team,” Ceb said.

And these are two big pick-ups as well, especially for Ceb — who’s shouldering a bigger responsibility for 2024.

“For this team, I guess I’m fully in charge of this team. It wasn’t the case before. I took the responsibility back after the end of last season.”

Wisper gives Ceb ‘Ana vibes’

Credit: Valve

Fans who’ve followed the pro scene will be familiar with Wisper — and Ceb certainly was.

“Wisper was a full first contact kind of thing. I always looked up to him a lot as a player, especially because I used to play offlane. I remember telling my team quite some time ago that this guy is one of the best in the world. He has always been in my top three offlaners, even though they weren’t performing so much.”

The risk here was recruiting a player whose “English isn’t the best.” The 22-year-old put his name on the map as part of the iconic Infamous roster that finished in the top half at The International 2019, which literally broke barriers for South American Dota to flourish. His stints with Beastcoast and Evil Geniuses established himself as one of the best offlaners in the world. But since 2018, he’s only played in the South American region, making OG the position three’s first team outside of his comfort zone.

“It’s been a while since I’ve met a player that was that good at what he does, “Ceb said. “He gives me a little bit of Ana vibes if I’m honest. He’s the same kind of guy. Very quiet, kind of shy. Honestly, I think he speaks even less.”

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“But the Dota speaks. It’s funny. He’s not going to say much, but the way he plays, you kind of understand how he’s feeling. If he’s feeling super hype, or if he’s feeling confident, or he’s feeling tense, or he’s feeling like he really wants to win.”

Wisper being situated in South America comes with unique obstacles. Ceb brought up the fact that during the team’s practices, OG’s new position three continued to excel — even while playing with massive lag.

“We’re practicing versus tier one teams that are in the top three here [at ESL One Kuala Lumpur] like, very good teams. And he is, oh my god, he is owning in these games. He is owning, and I don’t think they understand he has 200 ping.”

“He’s an absolutely gifted player, really. I think one of the best players I’ve seen in a while.”

Ceb calls Ari ‘one of the best professionals’ he’s seen

Credit: Valve

Ari is quite a newcomer to the scene, only starting his professional career in 2022 with Chicken Fighters and Into the Breach. The player moved to North America to join TSM, staying there for a year, before moving back to Europe to become OG’s new position four.

Despite his young age and relative inexperience, Ceb had nothing but praise for his fellow support player, calling him “one of the best professionals I’ve ever met.”

“His work ethic is near flawless in every sense. He’s always on time, always ready. He does a lot of extra work on his side. He brings a lot of value to the team, more than you could ask or expect from a player,” Ceb said. “We’re really lucky and that is something that we didn’t know about him.”

Unlike Wisper, people were already familiar with Ari — not least because the 20-year-old reached out to OG of his own volition.

“Ari already had spoken to some people at OG,” Ceb said. “Not to join, but they spoke a lot about Dota and teams and how things worked and compared experiences. So I think he already had thought about the possibility and probably was happy about it. So I think for him, it came really quickly.”

How does OG react to losses? Spoiler: they don’t

OG, once (monkey) Business, was an upstart player-run organization created in 2015. Almost a decade later, it’s now one of Dota 2’s juggernauts, and an established presence in multiple esports.

Through all that, OG remained steadfastly committed to their philosophy that things take time — whether it’s recruitment, building a team, or churning out results.

“We don’t set a time limit ever, and we also don’t react to results,” Ceb said. “It always takes so much time to reprogram people that come to OG, whether it is players or staff, and it’s like, hey, this isn’t your regular org.”

Ceb brought up an example of newcomers to OG who asked how many losses it was going to take before a reassessment.

“I kind of felt like telling them: ‘Hey, you’re safe now. I’m not going to give you a number. We don’t work this way here.’”

The 31-year-old said that while regular assessments happened and were important, they weren’t based on a set number of losses or lack of results.

“I think reacting to results just doesn’t make any sense because building a team is a process, and it takes time. There’s a finish line you’re trying to get to. And in the process of getting there, there might be a lot of losses, there also might be wins, but it still doesn’t mean the team is ready.”

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“We keep track of how the team is evolving, whether we built it properly, or if there’s like a dysfunction that we didn’t see,” Ceb said. “You need to keep working and keep reassessing.”

OG’s captain said that there were processes and systems built in place for the players to communicate regularly, and that Wisper and Ari were both “pleasantly surprised about it.”

“We’ve been players ourselves, we are players,” Ceb said. “I remember when I was younger, it was hard to say things sometimes. I didn’t know how to say them. I didn’t know when was a good time to say them. So we structured all of that.”

“Helping them do that helps them understand each other better. Oh, that guy feels this way. This guy gets affected by this positively or negatively. And he voiced it out, and I was there to listen. I think that plays a big part in having people come together quicker.”

“And it’s everything. It’s really everything.”

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