Team Secret’s new coach opened up on his time with TNC Predator. In an interview with Daniel Offen at Position Six Podcast, coach Lee “Heen” Seung Gon discussed the team’s potential and its ill-fated performance at The International 2019.
One of the biggest storylines heading into TI9 was whether Carlo “Kuku” Palad would be able to compete at the event due to his use of racist language against Chinese players during a pub game. He made the trip without issue, but the crowd in Shanghai held a grudge towards the team.
Heen stated this dragged down the team’s morale and TNC underperformed during the tournament as a result. He went on to state the players avoided face-to-face discussion about their future.
“Back in China, it was really hard to say anything to cheer them up,” Heen said in the interview.
When Heen found out that Kuku and Nico “eyyou” Barcelon were taking a break, he decided to leave the team as well and revealed that he felt attached to the original roster. He did have a hand in the current version of the team though, stating that he introduced TNC to current captain Park “March” Tae-won.
Heen’s tenure with TNC could have actually been a bit longer, as he could have stayed on as coach for the first few live events of the season. Instead he opted to take some time off, which eventually led him to Team Secret.
Team Secret has been dominant over the last two Dota Pro Circuit seasons, winning three majors and two minors. The team was actually one of the favorites to win TI9 but instead fell in fourth place. Heen will be looking to help Secret finally realize its goal of winning The International, and the new roster has a good shot of doing so.
Team Secret’s captain, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, is regarded as one of the best drafters and captains in Dota 2 history and actually has a lengthy history with Heen’s longtime constituent, Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi. The two played together with Natus Vincere and were founding members of Team Secret before KuroKy split off to eventually join Team Liquid. According to Heen, the two have many similarities as a result.
That’s good for Heen as he is working with a similar-feeling lineup to the Team Liquid roster he coached to the championship at The International 2017. But of course, Puppey does have a bit of a negative reputation, something Heen jokingly acknowledged.
“We haven’t really had deep discussions. I just hope that I remain physically unharmed even if I fucked up,” Heen playfully told fans.