Neslyn A. August 16, 2019
Team Secret’s trip to Shanghai for The International 2019 started in memorable fashion.
The top team in the Dota Pro Circuit showed why it’s the favorite to win The International 2019 in its opening series of the event. Facing Alliance, Secret kicked off the group stage with an explosive comeback victory.
In its first TI9 series, Team Secret managed to rally from an 8-25 deficit in kills. Max "qojqva" Bröcker’s Tiny dominated Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng’s Broodmother in the middle lane. After a quick Blink Dagger build, Qojqva rotated for several kills with his team.
Samuel "Boxi" Svahn’s offlane Ogre Magi stomped Michał "Nisha" Jankowski in the safe lane and things did not go much better for Secret offlaner Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg.
Team Secret was able to trade objectives with Alliance despite suffering from a big net worth disadvantage. Team fights always favored Alliance, but that did not stop MidOne from topping the net worth chart. Alliance ignored the constantly farming Broodmother and instead focused on objectives.
A successful team fight eventually yielded two sets of barracks for Alliance, but MidOne saw Alliance’s lack of town portal scrolls and quickly destroyed the middle barracks in response.
MidOne styled all over his opponents with precise use of his Spin Web and Spawn Spiderlings abilities. While he struggled in the early game, he was too elusive and well-farmed by the late game for Alliance to kill him.
Despite playing from a position of strength, Alliance failed to capitalize on its early advantages to close out the game. A crucial late-game team fight then went south for Alliance and put the game completely out of contention.
The second game of the series was lopsided, as zai’s strength was on full display. His Axe had a final stat line of 7/0/8. It was a quick 21-minute win for Team Secret.
Team Secret took their first win and continued to dominate the first day of The International 2019 without dropping a single game. The squad has looked every bit the favorite they were predicted to be coming into the tournament.