Team Secret snowballs into the ESL One Grand Finals

Dota 2 Andreea “divushka” Esanu

After a convincing and spectacular victory last night against Fnatic, Team Secret prove their dominance by winning the second Semi Final with a clinic 2-0 against Invictus Gaming.

Coming into the second Semi Final of ESL One Frankfurt 2015, Invictus Gaming, former champions here in Germany, prepared to face Team Secret, the crowd’s favorites, in an attempt to defend the Chinese DotA2 honor as the last eastern team standing in the tournament. 

The drafting phase for game one started with a first pick Tusk for Team Secret and for the following few picks and bans,  it looked like the western team taunted the Chinese to ban the Techies pick that absolutely ruined Fnatic last night. But Invictus Gaming  kept their cool and decided to execute their planned draft which included Shadow Fiend, Leshrac, Sven, Bristleback and Vengeful Spirit which outlined their intention to heavy control their opponents with the added bonus of a minus armor buildup.

The first four picks coming from Team Secret didn’t amount to very much damage potential, but choosing  Antimage as their fifth they completed what seemed to be  a perfect four protect one lineup with Keeper of the Light for Puppey and the Kuroky’s legendary Rubik.

Foreseeable, IG bunched up all their stuns in one aggressive trilane in an effort to stifle Artezy’s farm, but they did not predict that Ferrari, on pretty much one of his signature heroes, would lose the midlane to S4’s Viper. Nor did they expect Zai to completely walk over Luo’s Bristleback, which actually confirmed once again that the Chinese offlaner might be the weakest link in IG’s squad.

Although the early game looked balanced with both teams trading blows, the loss of two lanes weighted heavily in the balance going into the mid portion of the confrontation as Artezy grabbed a fast Battlefury and started to farm up the map at a very rapid rate. Kotl’s recall made the Antimage a very elusive target and by the 40 minutes mark, Team Secret cornered IG in their own base and following a last team fight that the westerners survived completely unscathed, the Chinese bowed out and called the GG.

IG’s lineup for the second game aimed for a more patient game plan and by picking Naga Siren for Burning, they set up for a long drawn out game.  The complete cast of heroes on IG’s part hinted towards a very team fight centric strategy with Queen of Pain for Ferrari, Luo on Tidehunter and the other legendary Rubik, Chuan.

For a third game in a row, Team Secret picked Tusk for Zai and he delivered again proving amazing skill on handling the aggression and initiation power of the hero. Responding to IG’s late game plan, Secret drafted for pushing power as they were well aware that going past the 50 minutes mark against IG’s lineup might spell doom for them.

The early game belonged to the Chinese team who smartly rotated to find ganks. As a consequence, Team Secret’s supports starved for levels, especially Kuroky on his Bounty Hunter. But when he finally managed to reach level six, granted it was 15 minutes into the figh, the track kills started to pour in and the game began to slide out of IG’s grasp. Another 15 minutes later, Invictus Gaming had no standing outer towers due to the immense split pushing power and clever use of the map control from Team Secret.

Although IG’s heroes were put together to team fight, they did not manage to deal enough damage after the Naga’s song and Team Secret survived most clashes with minimum losses.

Following a failed attempt from the Chinese to halt a Roshan kill, Artezy and company pushed into the enemy base with the security provided by the Aegis and the confidence in their team fighting ability. And they were right to do so as they absolutely crushed the former TI champions with their amazing level of execution and ended the series in a flamboyant manner.

We’re in for a treat with what shapes up to be an amazing Grand Finals between Evil Geniuses and Team Secret.

For more information on ESL One Frankfurt head on over to the coverage hub.

Pictures from the seeding bracket : 

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Andreea “divushka” Esanu
<p>I can resist anything but temptations... Follow me @DivDota</p>