Steven R. May 12, 2019
Team Secret often cools down around this time of the year, but that hasn't been the case in 2019.
The Clement “Puppey” Ivanov-led squad won their second major of the season by defeating Team Liquid in the grand finals of the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. The win capped an exceptional run for Secret that saw them defeat a number of Dota 2 elites in impressive fashion.
The first game was one defined by extraordinary individual efforts from Liquid. Ivan Borislavov "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov’s Dark Seer repeatedly left Secret fuming, scoring early game kills and frustrating lane rivals into wasting big ultimates to no avail. That early success opened the door for Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawito to take over in the late game, with the carry closing out the game with a quadruple rampage.
The fun ended there for Liquid. Though they pulled off the plays to run away with game one, game two saw Liquid’s star support players fail to make an impact with Maroun "GH" Merhej and Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi going a combined 5-23. This prevented Liquid’s cores from ever being able to take over and allowed Secret to mechanically force their way uphill and even the series.
Games one and two largely revolved around the strengths and weaknesses of Liquid, but game three was all about Secret. Cores Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng and Michał "Nisha" Jankowski both won their lanes in convincing fashion to start the Secret snowball rolling. That’s almost impossible to overcome when a team is playing on the level Secret is, and it set them up with match point.
Game four was almost a shot-for-shot remake of game three. Nisha and Midone got off to significant early leads and one big team fight allowed Secret to clean out two lanes of barracks by the 20 minute mark. Liquid stalled things out a bit longer but were eventually forced to call GG to give Secret the 3-1 series win.
The MDL Disneyland Paris Major trophy is the latest testament to Secret’s utter dominance this season. This is Secret’s third appearance in a major grand finals this season, and their second time winning one. Not only that, but the team looked almost untouchable throughout the tournament while exclusively competing against elite competition in the playoffs.
Though Liquid came short of taking first place, the squad has a lot to be proud of with their performance here. The team worked their way through a treacherous lower bracket to reach the grand finals and looked like the same group that won The International 2017. Not only that, but they locked up a spot in The International 2019.
Both teams are set to compete in the European qualifiers for the Epicenter Major on May 15, so expect a rematch to come next week.