Team Secret are the first to advance into the playoffs of ESL One Hamburg
picture courtesy of ESL One
The first series of the day saw Team Secret and Newbee neck-to-neck against each other, in a matchup that many were looking forward to. While Newbee put a tough fight and almost made it through, thanks to an excellent all-rounded performance by Hu 'Kaka' Liangzhi, it was Team Secret who got the last laugh as they were able to claim the series 2-1 and head to the playoffs.
Opening up the series, Team Secret went for a rather unorthodox and time bound draft in Game One, going for an Marcus 'Ace' Hoelgaard Vengeful Spirit, as well as a Yeik ’MidOne’ Nai Zheng Disco Pony as well as a Yazied ‘YapzOr’ Jaradat Wisp, while Newbee were able to secure a very stable lineup with a surprising tenth-pick Necrophos for Song 'Sccc' Chun.
The middle lane was the most hotly contested by both the teams because of the simple fact that an easy lane for Necrophos would have spelt disaster for Team Secret. However, with Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov and Yapzor ahead of Kaka and Hong 'Faith' Da Zeng every second of the early game, Team Secret were able to capitalize on the laning phase, and get a solid networth advantage over the Chinese TI-finalists. Trying to maximise their lead, Team Secret stepped into Roshan just 18 minutes into the game, but in the fierce fight that followed, Team Secret lost the Aegis to Sccc and had to blow a buyback on their Nature’s Prophet, but were able to finish up the rest of the four Newbee players.
Newbee, however, had no answer to the push coming out between the Nature’s Prophet and Leshrac from Team Secret and they had soon lost their Melee Barracks in the top lane, being unable to claim even a single tower themselves. Thirty minutes into the game, Team Secret were able to claim the next Roshan, uncontested by Newbee, and were soon knocking on the Dire base again. While Newbee tried to put up a strong hold, it did not prove to be strong enough as they tapped out 35 minutes into the game.
Needing to win the next two games to keep themselves in the Upper Bracket, Newbee were able to get Sccc on his signature Ember Spirit but Team Secret replied with an Ace Huskar coupled with a YapzOr Wisp as well as a mid Legion Commander.
A change-up of lanes from both the sides, it was Damien 'kpii' Chok on his Venomancer against Ace’s Huskar in the middle lane while Sccc took his talents to the bottom lane against a MidOne Legion Commander. Unlike the first game, this time around the early game was quite a quiet one in terms of kills even with a Huskar and Ursa in the game, yet Newbee were able to come out on top by securing the first Roshan of the game 12 minutes in and not only get the Aegis on their Ursa but also deny it from Ace’s Huskar.
Going into the mid-game, Team Secret looked like they had missed the timing of their draft, as Newbee looked to be in the driving seat of the game, courtesy of Kaka styling on Team Secret with his fast reaction times and on-point Burrow Strikes. Claiming the second Roshan of the game 22 minutes into the game, Newbee took pickoff after pickoff and decimated Team Secret, with even Faith’s Shadow Shaman ahead of MidOne’s safelane Legion Commander in networth. A third Roshan allowed them to march down the middle lane and soon force a GG out of Team Secret, taking the series to a third game.
The draft for the final game looked to favour Newbee as the panel thought that they were able to counter Team Secret with their pick order, as they were able to get a strong CK-Ember-Enchantress trio as their cores and Team Secret again having a wholly different draft from their previous games with an offlane Doom and a safelane Monkey King.
The laning phase looked even for both the teams, with rotations and pickoffs happening here and there from both the sides, but Adrian 'FATA-' Trinks' networth on his Doom was able to Devour his way to the top of the networth chart, and Ace was able to recover from a bad start on his Monkey King, finishing his Battlefury 19 minutes into the game. However, Newbee, with the superior vision game, still looked like a dominant force despite an insignificant networth disadvantage. A favourable fight 24 minutes into the game saw three of Newbee’s heroes falling with no casualties on the side of Team Secret and Secret were able to transition that into a Roshan too. On the back of that Aegis advantage, Team Secret were able to take to consecutively take two successful teamfights and claim a full lane of Barracks in the Middle lane.
With a Butterfly on the Monkey King and a 20k Networth lead, Newbee had no answer to Team Secret’s push and had no choice but to tap out at 35 minutes.