Shanghai Major Preview: Team Secret
Team Secret is a team of extremes. They either look like an unbeatable juggernaut or they seem to crumble at the slightest sign of trouble. While all of the players are incredibly mechanically skilled, experienced, and respected, the current iteration of Team Secret has not performed to their potential since the Frankfurt Major. They have suffered disappointing early exits in a number of tournaments in 6.86, notably the Mars Dota 2 League, the WCA Championships, and Starladder/i-League. However, if any captain can lead his team to perform at their peak at the ideal time, it is Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov. The remainder of the team will look to draw strength from his immense well of knowledge, outwit their opponents with his unique drafting style, and make a deep run in Shanghai.
Since their formation in 2014, Team Secret has been a team brand name associated with being a home for super-teams comprised of all-star players of the time. Now, in the third major incarnation, this attribution still rings true. Their line-up remains unchanged since the Frankfurt Major. All of the players in the current roster are in the top echelon of players in their respective role.
Johan ‘pieliedie’ Astrom is known for creating unrivalled amounts of space for his team with his support play. Rasmus ‘MiSeRy-’ Filipsen has risen from being a questionable inclusion in Team Secret to an offlaner that enemy teams struggle to deal with. Omar ‘w33’ Aliwi has risen above his slightly inauspicious past, rivaling Sumail ‘SumaiL’ Hassan and Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson amongst others for the title of best mid-laner in the professional scene. Jacky ‘EternalEnvy’ Mao, when given his signature heroes, requires significant attention from the enemy team in order to be controlled. The glue that binds the team together is captain and drafter Puppey, whose support play has been consistently top-tier for a number of years.
Image from joindota
Team Secret roster:
Team Secret’s playstyle is flexible, but generally revolves around the rest of the team providing space for EternalEnvy to farm. Puppey and pieliedie are amongst the more mobile support players in the game, harassing enemy mid-laners, stacking the jungle, and providing lane support where necessary. The team is at its best when they are precisely aware of their draft’s critical timings and only fighting at the moments when they are at their strongest. Of late, the constantly-clashing nature of 6.86 has caused Team Secret into sub-optimal engagements more regularly than previous patches. This has led to a number of defeats in tournaments where the team might have expected to be competing in the Grand Finals.
Team Secret has only played a few dozen professional games on 6.86. They have experimented with both Oracle and Earth Spirit (the heroes who entered Captain’s Mode in the patch), with different levels of success. w33 has shown that he is a force to be reckoned with on Earth Spirit, whilst pieliedie has had a lesser success on Oracle. Despite this experimentation, Team Secret clearly needs more competitive experience on the patch to better adapt to its playstyle and meta-game in order to perform at their peak.
Achievements since the Frankfurt Major:
Team Secret’s Most Frequent Picks in 6.86
Spectre (5 games played, 80 percent win rate)
Ember Spirit (5 games played, 40 percent win rate)
Gyrocopter (3 games played, 67 percent win rate)
Invoker (8 games played, 50 percent win rate)
Earth Spirit (6 games played, 83 percent win rate)
Zeus (3 games played, 33 percent win rate)
Lone Druid (6 games played, 83 percent win rate)
Dark Seer (4 games played, 50 percent win rate)
Nature’s Prophet (3 games played, 67 percent win rate)
Rubick (4 games played, 50 percent win rate)
Oracle (4 games played, 25 percent win rate)
Witch Doctor (3 games played, 67 percent win rate)
Dazzle (5 games played, 40 percent win rate)
Bane (4 games played, 50 percent win rate)
Tusk (4 games played, 50 percent win rate)
Statistics from datdota
Team Secret is a team with great individual skill and can potentially challenge other teams for the title of the Shanghai Major Champions. However, unlike at TI5 or the Frankfurt Major, they do not rank amongst the top contenders. Their relative inexperience on the current patch and tendency for questionable, risky plays have allowed other, more consistent teams to defeat them at the major tournaments since Frankfurt.
Will Team Secret return to their formidable best? Will they continue to underperform? With only a handful of days until Shanghai, we shall not have to wait much longer to find out.