Steven R. August 24, 2019
Kuro "KuroKy" Takhasomi seems to have Clement “Puppey” Ivanov’s number.
In the lower bracket semifinals of The International 2019, Team Liquid eliminated Team Secret 2-0 in quick fashion. It is the third year in a row that Secret has been eliminated from TI by Liquid.
Game one was a signature performance from KuroKy. The Liquid captain helped his team win The International 2017 with crafty drafts that were defined by last picking hard-to-counter heroes like Broodmother and Huskar. While those heroes have been reworked significantly in the years since, he still managed to do something similar here by ending the picks and bans by selecting Meepo for Aliwi “w33” Omar.
w33 has long been regarded as one of the best Meepo players in the world and he showed off why in game one.
After playing it safe in the first 10 minutes, w33 rattled off seven kills in the next 10. That saw him zip past every other player in the net worth and experience charts and Secret had nothing to counter him with. With a strong pushing lineup that also included Leshrac and Chen, Liquid forced out the GG by gutting Secret’s base in just 27 minutes.
Team Liquid's Dota 2 squad stands tall at TI9
Liquid shifted things up in a big way in game two. Though w33 was brought into Team Liquid to give the team a dedicated mid laner, he was placed into a safe lane carry role in game two on Alchemist, with Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi going mid as Kunkka. Though the laning stage wasn’t a blowout in either direction, w33’s 13-minute Radiance served as the green light for Liquid to start pushing aggressively.
Team fights consistently went in Liquid’s favor as the kill tally went from 3-4 at 15 minutes to 17-5 at 25 minutes. Secret became increasingly desperate, but neither aggression nor defense could stifle Liquid. Liquid started looking for high ground after killing Roshan for Miracle-. A successful team fight yielded the middle lane of barracks and the Ancient shortly thereafter.
That gave Liquid the 2-0 victory, eliminating Secret in fourth place. Secret takes over $2 million home for their efforts.
The International 2019 grand finalists to be decided
The outcome is somewhat surprising for both teams.
Secret started day five of the main event with a shellacking of Vici Gaming, knocking out the opposing tournament favorites in just 45 combined minutes of game time. That had Secret looking like the team to beat for the first time on the main stage. Instead, Liquid continued to surge in the lower bracket and handed Secret a lopsided 2-0 defeat.
Liquid advances on to the lower bracket finals. This is the first time a team has started in the first round of the lower bracket and survived all the way to the top three of The International.
Liquid will face PSG.LGD for a spot in the grand finals, where OG awaits.