Team Secret flew under the radar during The International 2021 group stage but may actually be a contender for the Aegis judging from its playoffs win over OG.
Team Secret debuted in the playoffs with a victory over OG. While things were looking dicey for a time, Secret showed that it has the skills and the fearlessness to thrash the two-time championship organization.
While Johan “N0tail” Sundstein and company entered the playoffs enthusiastic and optimistic, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov gave his former teammate a big reality check.
The match opened with one of the most exciting games of the series, with Team Secret getting the better of a frantic game.
The momentum swung back and forth based on the power spikes of Lasse Aukusti “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen’s Morphling. Both teams frequently looked for fights with OG pressing the action to set up Roshan attempts for Syed “SumaiL” Hassan’s Ursa while Secret did its best to prevent that from happening.
While MATUMBAMAN got his Ethereal Blade, OG managed to work around his explosive damage with strong teamwork. OG looked positioned to take control for a time, but things swung all the way back into Team Secret’s favor when MATUMBAMAN finished his Aghanim’s Scepter and could morph into Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg’s Earthshaker. Earthshaker-Morphling doesn’t define the meta as it did a couple of years ago, but it’s still potent in the right hands.
MATUMBAMAN showed just how strong that duo can be, using the increased mobility and burst damage from scepter Enchant Totem to blast OG. OG didn’t have enough lockdown to deal with both the spiking MATUMBAMAN and Michał “Nisha” Jankowski’s Ember Spirit, allowing Secret to take the comeback win.
Whether it was meant to be a statement or just a strategic decision, Team Secret put MATUMBAMAN on Ursa in the second game, said to be one of his best heroes. The draft for Secret was rounded off with a Tinker for Nisha. Alongside a Windranger, Enchantress, and Magnus, Secret had an incredibly elusive lineup that offered incredible burst damage.
While one of the biggest struggles for OG in game one was SumaiL’s inability to get Roshan kills with his Ursa, Secret had no such troubles. The early action was dominated by MATUMBAMAN and that didn’t slow down once he started killing Roshan and receiving regular Empowers from zai’s Magnus.
MATUMBAMAN was completely out of control before long and Secret just started roaming as five and initiating every fight with Ursa blinking onto someone and blowing them up instantly. Nisha’s Tinker also had a massive impact, getting a fast Blink Dagger and Aghanim’s Scepter that let him deal huge burst damage.
Team Secret snowballed very quickly and never took its foot off the gas, looking for kills and objectives constantly. OG just couldn’t handle Secret in any engagement and this eventually spilled into their base. OG tapped out to give Secret the 2-0 victory with the game two kill scoreboard going to a lopsided 42-4.
Team Secret’s victory guarantees the team a top-six finish at TI10, but things aren’t going to get easier from here. While OG is a huge challenge for any team, Secret is next facing one of the favorites to win in Invictus Gaming.
iG finished at the top of group A, going 14-2. iG kicked off the playoffs in a similarly dominant fashion, taking a convincing 2-1 victory over Team Spirit with that loss coming from just a single mistake that let Spirit pull off a miraculous comeback.
OG isn’t dead yet, however. The team drops to the lower bracket where it will face the winner of Quincy Crew vs. Team Aster. If Quincy Crew advances forward, that sets up an elimination match where SumaiL will face his brother, Yawar “YS” Hassan.