With the final of The International 2018 so close, the conversation about who is going to cast the biggest game in esports is reaching fever pitch, with a new British name being thrown hard into the hat. Owen ‘ODPixel’ Davies, a 25-year old former Boots employee from Market Harborough in the UK has made a name for himself over the last few years with astonishing feats of commentary, and now could be in line for the biggest gig in esports.
Recent finals have been dominated by Toby ‘TobiWan’ Dawson’s dulcet Australian tones, but a groundswell of public support for ODPixel has seen many express their desire to see him take the final. His usual partner in rhyme, Ioannis "Fogged" Loucas, would presumably be alongside him if that should happen, with the pair having wonderful chemistry on the mic.
ODPixel rose to fame around 2015, when his fast-paced, play-by-play style of commentary attracted the attention of a number of Dota 2 tournament organisers. According to an interview with Red Bull Esports, he was all ready to take a promotion with Boots and move up the corporate ladder when his big break came, first thanks to Beyond the Summit, and then TI5.
As a person, it also seems as though ODPixel is also considered top tier by the community he serves, and the love he gets from inside the Dota 2 scene is a testament to his quality. TI8 fans have been given a chance to see a bit more of him too this year, and on every occasion he has presented himself as an honest and positive person, something esports is not always blessed with.
Warm to ODPixel
It is obviously logical that people would warm to ODPixel further having seen the film regarding his girlfriend Jorien 'Sheever' van der Heijden's battle against cancer, as she is at least as beloved in the Dota scene as ODPixel, if not more so. However, this has no place in this conversation aside as an illustration of how close a community Dota 2 is, and won't be a factor in any decision Valve take.
There is also no doubt that he has earned the right to be in the conversation for a spot in Grand Finals through his superb work on the microphone, rather than sympathy. This is clear from the number of requests for his presence on that stage appearing on social media, and his staunch refusal to talk himself up, which only serves to make your granny love him too.
The wonderful thing about TI8 is that they could throw any one of their commentary duos on for the final and you’d have a fantastic time. The level of talent across the board in Vancouver is frankly absurd, especially considering the threadbare offering other TO’s have made for CSGO Majors and the like, or are still trying to make. Whoever gets the big gig will have earned it, but it might just be the year a fast-talking man from Leicester finally ascends to his rightful throne.
Image credit: Sheever Gaming