OpenAI Five favourites to beat OG in Dota 2 clash

The best Dota 2 team of 2018 (in theory) will take on the world’s most advanced gaming AI program, with OG esports up against OpenAI Five in a showmatch on Saturday. A venue in the San Francisco Bay Area will host a relatively small live event, with TI8 champions up against machines and fighting for the future of humanity.

Well, that might be an exaggeration, but those of you out there predicting the impending technological uprising might be spooked, or maybe secretly pleased, to know the computers are currently favourites with the bookies to overthrow their fleshy MOBA overlords.

OG vs OpenAI 5 2019 VOD


The reasoning behind OpenAI being favourites to beat one of the world’s best Dota 2 teams is probably fairly simple, because the game being played is not exactly Dota 2. Although the program exists to operate within the Dota 2 framework, there are actually many restrictions on the tools OG will have at their disposal. In the past, even simple tools such as smoke and invisibility were banned in OpenAI exhibitions to facilitate this, and the pool of heroes it can ‘play’ against is far smaller than the average pro, and not close to the entire cast.

Always bet on bot

However, we also want to mention the fact that like at The International 2018, the game will be played with a set of rules and limitation that will be disclosed in the future and is therefore not yet representative of the full complexity of Dota 2.

The set of limitations the bot will have this time around have not been disclosed yet, but the excerpt from the post above shows that there will still indeed be limitations or restrictions on the performance of OpenAI Five. It has famously beaten players from the world of chess and Go, but testing itself against an elite Dota 2 team (in 2018 at least) is another level entirely, both due to the complexity of the game and the level of team play required compared with board games.

OG’s players seemed happy enough to be included in the event, which is not that surprising after a terrible year so far. The return of Anatham ‘ana’ Pham to the team has given them hope, but they have some ground to make up if they want to get to TI9 and defend their title, having missed out on a couple of Majors already. As legendary OG player/coach Sebastien ‘Ceb’ Debs rightly pointed out, they are experts in AI already to some degree, having spent their entire lives learning to be gods in a virtual world.

“As a professional gamer it goes without saying that I have been confronted with different kinds of AIs my whole life,” the Frenchman told OG’s Facebook page. “Being able to challenge a very advanced one at my own game seems like a dream come true. I am both grateful and impatient. Let the best minds win!” It’s great to see the enthusiasm players have for the project, with Jesse ‘JerAx’ Vainikka summing up what the elite of the game find compelling about the project.

If the machine's purpose is to win then we have something in common

“To me the most fascinating thing is to see how the machine finds its way to break the game, and how it will clash with the human way. This event will be a big learning experience as we will get a glimpse of how the machine prioritizes resources and utilizes heroes. May the best Dota win!” It’s pretty clear the game and OpenAI has been a topic of discussion for the team as well and their interest is genuine, as team captain Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein revealed they are divided on just how good OpenAI can be.

“If the machine's purpose is to win then we have something in common, we will be doing what we do best and settle our internal arguments about how potent a machine can be at DotA,” he was quoted as saying on the OG page, and those same arguments have been taking place on social media for a long time, too. Fundamentally, that is what makes the OpenAI project compelling, the test of the outer limits of artificial intelligence, and that’s why you should tune in this weekend for one of the most unique esports events of the year.

OpenAI Five vs OG date, start time and live stream

OpenAI Five Dota vs OG is due to start at 6.30pm BST / 7.30pm CEST on Saturday, April 13, with a live stream and latest betting odds available at Luckbox.

Picture: Copyright ESL / Bart Oerbekke