Puppey’s Team Secret falls to Div 2 in Western Europe DPC

By Kenneth Williams


Jan 29, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

Team Secret and its legendary captain Clement “Puppey” Ivanov will spend a season in the minor league after bombing the Western Europe DPC.

Team Secret has just pulled off one of the biggest nosedives in Dota 2 esports by earning silver at The International and then getting relegated to the lower division. The legendary squad lost every match of the winter DPC tour, ending with an anticlimactic forfeit to go 0-7. Here’s the story behind the abysmal season and what it could mean for the future of Puppey.

Western Europe is undoubtedly the strongest region in Dota 2, and Secret has maintained its place in the upper division ever since its start in 2021. However, the winter 2023 season started and ended in a downward spiral. Secret didn’t even win one game until its fourth series, which was still a 2-1 loss to Entity. Going into the final week, Secret sported a 0-6 score with just three won games.

The downturn in performance can be at least partially attributed to the departure of Michał “Nisha” Jankowski. The star mid laner, who many pros considered the best mid of The International 2022, left to join Team Liquid before the start of the season. That squad will be attending the Lima Major and is an early favorite to win the next TI. New mid laner Miroslav “BOOM” Bičan has had good performances, but he’s unable to deliver the same kind of impact as Nisha in the later stages of the game.

Team Secret will miss two majors, likely The TI12

For its final scheduled match against Into The Breach, Team Secret’s players chose to forfeit it entirely. This unfortunate but understandable decision has secured that Team Secret will be relegated to the lower division for the next WEU DPC season. In the short term, that means less access to prize money and third-party events. In the grander scheme, it will be essentially impossible for Team Secret to qualify for The International 2023 through normal means.

Team Secret will not attend the Lima Major in February, assuming the event goes as planned. In addition, due to competing in the DPC lower division for the second tour, Team Secret will be unable to qualify for the Berlin Major later this year. There is still a chance for the squad to attend the Bali Major at the end of the summer tour, but it will require top placings for two hours straight. As for The International 2023, it is already close to impossible for the team to qualify via DPC points. The qualifiers will likely be the team’s only hope.

With Team Secret falling to Div 2, will Puppey retire?

With this unfortunate fall from grace in the Western Europe DPC, Team Secret’s captain Puppey may be considering a step back from the game.

Puppey has always been adept at identifying rising talent and bringing it to the mainstream, a trait that greatly helps his claim to Dota 2’s GOAT. It’s easy to imagine him coaching a team of developing players into an international threat. Fellow icons Johan “N0tail-” Sundsteign and Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling have both done so to great success. 

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However, it’s also hard to imagine a 13-year career coming to a close over one bad season. Puppey will likely continue competitive pursuits through the end of the year, at least. He is the face of Team Secret, forming the team and continuously captaining it since 2014. Even multiple bad tours in a row wouldn’t necessarily mean retirement. The more likely case is that Secret either sticks out a season in the lower division or makes roster changes after this poor finish.


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