WHAT Against the Odds wants to be is the story of five unlikely underdogs who came together to win the Dota 2 The International (TI) esports championship in 2018.
What we get is a primer on esports, and the drama that revolves around creating and becoming a championship-winning team like OG.
Going into TI 2018, OG consisted of N0tail (Johan Sundstein), JerAx (Jesse Vainikka), 7ckngMad (Sebastien Debs), Topson (Topias Taavitsainen), and ana (Anathan Pham).
Most of the footage that makes up Against the Odds comes from archived videos interlaced with voiceovers and interviews with the team.
This raw feel pulled me into the story despite not being a fan of esports, nor familiar with OG. The drama is real. The conflict comes from losses.
Although the team name stays the same, the roster is a revolving door, shaped by the will to win, and members leaving for greener pastures elsewhere, much like it is in other team-based sports.
Those who stayed on stayed true, despite their situation. Besides, once the team hit rock bottom after a string of painful losses, there was nowhere else to go but up.
More than being entertaining, I feel this documentary is educational. It introduces what is needed to build an esports team and how esports works, teaching viewers bit by bit.
That said, the documentary did not try to make its audience understand the game itself. Because of this, wins and losses become abstract concepts.
I do not understand the members’ struggle to win, and what makes a winning team, other than a reshuffle.
That’s all right to me, as the players are the main focus, not the game.
Besides, the game is too complicated for an 80-minute video.
You can watch the documentary, for free, at Redbull.com.