Team Secret victorious over Invictus Gaming at Red Bull Battle Grounds
Team Secret finally claim their first LAN championship as they edged out Invictus Gaming in a narrow Red Bull Battle Grounds final. All five games were played, find the drafts, summaries and VODs below.
Despite being the super team that Team Secret is, they had yet to conquer a LAN championship. On top of their already first places in online competitions DotaCinema Captains Draft 2 as well as Dota Pit League, season 2, they can now add their first LAN championship, as they won Red Bull Battle Grounds last night. In the past, they have had great runs at StarLadder Season 10 as well as the prestigious Dota 2 Asia Championships. While many predicted the team to go the distance, they ultimately fell before the finishing line and finished second and third respectively. Both tournaments eventually were won by Evil Geniuses.
For Red Bull Battle Grounds, five regions sent their representatives selected through a qualifier in each region. Other than Secret and the second finalist Invictus Gaming, the teams entering the challenger phase were MY, Hellraisers and Summer's Rift. The challenger matches spoke in favour of both iG and Secret as teams were scared to challenge them, thus they qualified for the finals without having been tested too much. The final it self was an intense best of five series, which ended up going to the fifth and deciding game. Team Secret ultimately won it and the $24,000 along with it. On top of that they did earn $9,500 in the challenger phase for keeping all their lives as well as winning two challenges.
In the first game of the final, Secret went for the tested Drow + Visage opener while Invictus responded with a favourite of their own, namely Enchantress + Dragon Knight. Secret went for a somewhat static farming laning phase but iG contested by very aggressive ganks and rotations, mainly focused on the bottom lane and slightly on mid. Secret responded well though and challenged them, nullifying the gank attempts mainly using the AoE abilities of Razor and Phoenix.
IG changed gears and instead opted for pushing out towers, both grouped up and by having Burning split pushing. Secret responded with the same strategy though and iG couldn't contest the push. Secret's lack of disables could prove to be an issue but great usage of Phoenix and the familiars of Visage allowed them to zone out the Chinese team and slowly claim the mid barracks. After a minor set back trying to repeat the success with the next set of barracks, they managed to break base once again and along with it, the spirits of iG. The first game went to Team Secret.
This time iG got the Visage while Secret instead went for a Brood picked early in the drafting phase. Secret went for a hybrid draft of armor reduction and pressure while iG claimed aggressive team fight heroes with lots of early kill potential. Exploiting the fact that they themselves have a very dangerous trilane, they sent it to contest Secret's safelane. While mid and top went Secret's way, the safelane and Slardar were shut down hard and Burning's Brewmaster harvesting the benefits of it. After Luo's Bristle found a solo kill on Zai's Brood, the Bristle became an issue as well and Secret needed to commit a lot of resources and time to kill him.
IG kept picking off s4's Slardar and his dagger was massively delayed, resulting in him never really recovering. The superior team fight and the Brewmaster which Secret had no answer for at this point was too much of an obstacle and Secret quickly fell behind in levels, networth and map control. Brood tried to create space where he could but once Rubick secured a Blink Dagger of his own, it became too dangerous. Overall great individual play by Faith averted a lot of ganks for Secret and iG won most of the engages and ultimately the game.
Now, it's time to push, was more or less what Secret's draft was screaming with the Viper and Pugna cores. IG decided to try to avert the push strategy with a support Warlock as well as Brewmaster once again. IG did well early game, with strong laners and completely shutting down the first group-up push attempt by Secret. However, a few minutes later, Secret tried again as all five with the Mekansm this time and grabbed themselves a few towers in short time. Meanwhile Luo's Brood traded by taking the two bottom lane towers of Secret.
When the time came for Secret's go for breaking high ground, iG played it perfectly using Warlock and Brewmaster mainly to jump and stall the clash just before Secret reached the base tower. The great team fight potential of iG did really well despite Secret being all five and iG only four since meanwhile Brood was using the time to siege the base, thus ending in iG getting more damage done on buildings the Secret. The line-up of Secret was quickly expiring and iG won team fight after team fight with close to no casulties. It was too hard to complete the siege and they also struggled to keep the Brood at bay. Now it was iG's time to dictate the tempo and after a few death rattles from Secret, iG won the third game.
In the fourth game it was iG getting the Visage + Drow combination that lead Secret to victory in game one. Meanwhile after the failed experiment in game three, Secret banned Brewmaster and went back to one of their most classic openers, namely Queen of Pain + Shadow Fiend. Secret finished the rest of draft along the DAC-meta while iG went for an overall early aggression strategy. The early game was more passive than those of the other games, most likely because iG was one victory away from championship and Secret was one loss away from second place. The early game still featured a few well selected early rotations such as the Arteezy's mid SF going top to gank the opponent trilane and the offlane Nyx rotating before reaching level 6. Despite iG being the team with the Drow core, Secret was the team to take out all tier one towers before losing one of their own. IG did however secure themselves an early Roshan kill with the Medallion up.
There was no real clashing to speak off outside of pick offs and the first real clash went down in the midlane after the Rosh kill, where iG were baited in on diving on Queen of Pain who was low on health. They were however caught redhanded as Zai's Dark Seer revealed his new Blink Dagger and set up a masterful clash for Secret. Despite iG being slightly more farmed, Secret did not allow them to play the usual Drow + Visage game, and instead applied heavy pressure after minute 20. Some great moves and well executed clashing set Secret ahead, utilizing on the great burst damage of Shadow Fiend and Queen of Pain, the controlling abilities of Dark Seer and Rubick as well as the heals and graves of Dazzle.
The game went into a bit more of a static phase as Secret had one of their pushes averted and iG falling back to claim Roshan. The teams now focused on forcing rotations from the other team, gaining vision on the map and farming up their heroes. Not much happened inbetween Roshans and iG took down another edition of the big boulder man without Secret contesting it. IG was in a defecit before but farmed their way into a lead in that period. When Roshan spawned again, both teams smoked in an attempt to catch the other one off guard. Secret was the one finding iG first and Arteezy quickly initated on ChuaN taking him out with the requiem. Better positioning and focusing allwed Secret to win the clash 5-2 and took out Roshan right afterwards. Secret then went for the mid push, however losing Rubick quickly while getting nothing in return. They went back slightly just to jump in again when iG were out of position, managing to take down Burning almost instantly. IG then focused Arteezy but underestimated the damage output of the Shadow Fiend when the team is suffering negative armor due to the Weave. Burning bought back but to no avail, Arteezy got a rampage and Secret won the game.
Despite which of the two teams fans are rooting for, everyone always wants a fifth game in a grand final. And this time they did get it. In the deciding game, iG grabbed a great team fight draft along with the more sneaky and persistent Weaver. Secret felt confident in getting the Dark Seer and Dazzle again after the great impact both heroes had in game four. They combined it with the ever so explosive Io + Tiny opener. The big ace for iG after the draft would be Enigma which is a good counter for relocate and also a hero Secret lacked good counters for. Furthermore, to counter the Io+Tiny midlane, iG sent their own Witch Doctor + Shadow Fiend lane, forcing Secret's lane to play more defensive. First blood did not happen until minute seven where iG killed s4's Razor with three heroes. Overall the laning phase was even which slightly favoured iG due to them having a jungler.
In the phase to follow, Secret had the better rotations, decision and overall unity, thus grabbing a little bit of an advantage in form of three towers killed compated to one tower lost. IG did however take Roshan meanwhile. The way the game went, Secret was once again dictating the tempo slightly by dodging the big team fights and going for pick offs. However there was no real networth lead to speak of, the teams were evenly stacked and it mainly came down to execution. Secret's cores were more farmed at this point and catching iG taking Roshan, killing the supports and then taking Roshan for themselves set them off in a great position.
It was clash time for iG, the game was slipping out of their hands and they needed a big combo fight to set it back their way. They found a great Blackhole on Arteezy and s4 with ChuaN channelling the Death Ward meanwhile. However, the crucial part was that s4's Razor managed to both enable his ultimate as well as put a static link on Razor before the Black Hole so both were up and running during it. Shadow Fiend's impact was neglected and s4 survived the Black Hole on minimal health whereby he used both Mek and BKB and with all the damage drained, he and Arteezy could turn the fight. With the big ultimates on cooldown and some heroes in the grave, iG could only watch as Secret destroyed their buildings. The game was over and iG knew it, they called the "good game" and had to settle for second place. Team Secret took the championship.
In a few days, The Summit 3 will begin featuring both Invictus Gaming and Team Secret as well as iG's "big brother" Vici Gaming who recently had to settle for second place as well after Empire cut the process short for them at the D2CL playoffs. Secret's "nemesis" Evil Geniuses will be there too, looking to deny them their second LAN title.
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