Mars Dota2 League Autumn 2016: The proving grounds for Team Secret and OG
In our attempt to understand what the new team line-ups are going to deliver for the rest of the year, based on what we witnessed this past weekend at MDL, we will look only at the top four MDL teams. Team Secret, OG, Newbee and Evil Geniuses have always been regarded as strong contenders and their recent first LAN performance after the shuffle proved their strength one again.
Going backwards from the fourth place finishers to the crowned Champions, we will stop upon Team Secret and OG today and will continue tomorrow with Newbee and Evil Geniuses.
image source: Team Secret's Instagram
Just when we thought we’ve seen it all with Secret, from a four drafters / shot callers lineup in 2014 (Kuroky, Puppey, S4 and Fly) to a star studded roster with Arteezy, Envy, and Universe pre TI6, the mastermind Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov surprised us all this fall by mixing the SEA Dota with the European style.
Arguably one of the boldest moves done by any of the teams that shuffled post TI6, the addition of the two Korean players and one Malaysian is for sure meant to change the atmosphere in the team and to make Puppey’s life as captain a bit easier.
Exquisitely talented, the two Koreans coming from MVP Phoenix truly impressed with every match played for their former team. At this year’s International Lee 'Forev' Sang-don proved to be worthy for a tournament’s most valuable player title while Pyo 'MP' No-a was alongside QO the backbone of MVP. Both Forev and MP are not new to the scene anymore and they are hungry to finally reach the top.
Not to take anything from Zheng 'MidOne' Yeik Nai, who’s skills set is already matching the finest pro players, his experience is a bit lower than the rest of his new teammates. Scouted by Fnatic once he became the first SEA player to reach 8k MMR, Midone passed the trial by fire of big LAN events under Mushi’s guidance and although he joined the pro’s only in December 2015, he already has impressive achievements under his belt. However, for him there is a lot of space to improve and coming to Europe to play with one of the best drafters we have in Dota2 will most likely skyrocket his performance.
It’s true that we didn’t see anything new or spectacular from Secret at MDL, nor something to prognosticate Secret’s success at the next Major, but this new lineup makes the most sense in many ways. Firstly, Puppey finally found the good balance between the players personalities and I personally doubt he will be facing situations, where his ideas would be challenged anymore. Secondly, the three Asian players know what discipline means and they have no problem in understanding the team effort concept. None of them are known for flashy individual plays, but all three are known as key factors in team fights. All that Secret needs now is to work on bonding and getting along with each other. It might take a while and that’s why we might not see them finishing first place really soon, but once all their chemistry is sorted out, I would say by the time we reach the second Major, you should not be mind blown by how good Secret will perform.
image source: OG's Twiiter
OG dealt with their losses post TI6 in a total opposite manner than Secret or most of the other teams. They kept the same team composition skeleton, and brought in players that are mirroring Cr1t’s and Miracle-‘s trajectory and styles. At the same time, the Gustav 's4' Magnusson offlane addition, although is coming with a whole new handful of heroes, is matching the playmaking potential of what MoonMeander had to offer to OG. Before jumping to the conclusion that at this International Moon was not exactly at his best, remember how impactful he was at the Frankfurt Major. His Earthshaker plays from back then basically carried OG through lower bracket and all the spotlights were on him. The plan of having three strong playmakers in the team stays the same for OG as s4 can provide the same amount of high quality plays on his signature Batrider, Puck, and Magnus even in the offlane.
Anathan 'ana' Pham has the potential to become the next Mircle, at least his starting point is almost the same. High MMR pub star, known better in the in-house leagues, he breached the pro scene as a substitute for Ferrari_430 at Invictus Gaming only in March this year. Incredibly talented, Ana proved that he is the right choice at his very first official matches with OG. Displaying the same flexibility like Miracle, able to carry or to fight in the the mid lane, he had perfect games on Outworld Devourer and Morphling.
Going further, Jesse 'JerAx' Vainikka is also mirroring Cr1t’s aggressiveness and he is capable of strong individual play that would save the day for his team. So all in all what we saw from OG this past weekend in China is exactly what you would expect from them in terms of play style and strategies. It’s a frame that worked brilliantly for them at least for two Majors and there’s no reason to believe it won’t work now. From here on everything hangs in Tal 'Fly' Aizik’s ability to develop new drafts and on all OG players willingness to recreate the beautiful synergy and friendship the team had with its previous three members.
With that being said, we invite you let us know what you think about these two reformed teams and their MDL performance in the comments section.