The European team locked up first place at the event with a 3-2 grand finals victory over Evil Geniuses. That nets Team Secret 4,850 Dota Pro Circuit qualifying points and likely guarantees them a direct invitation to The International 2020.
Though Evil Geniuses looked like a serious threat at points, Secret was unstoppable once they were able to get the ball rolling.
Surprisingly, game one was a complete rout in favor of Evil Geniuses. In a slow-paced game straight out of 2013, Evil Geniuses won the first team fight and slowly built its lead over the course of tens of minutes. Fights were infrequent but each time the two sides came together, Team Secret fell further behind.
Evil Geniuses started pushing the win after 45 minutes and a 25,000 gold lead. Secret couldn’t do much to hold them back, which allowed Evil Geniuses to take the opening victory.
Evil Geniuses’ draft for game two confused the analysts, with a fair bit of criticism being directed towards their slow-paced setup. This wasn’t helped when Secret’ Michał “Nisha” Jankowski locked in a last-pick Meepo against a lineup with no real counter to the hero.
The game moved slowly at the start with a fairly straightforward laning stage but once Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat got a Rod of Atos for his Skywrath Mage and started roaming alongside Nisha, Evil Geniuses was forced into a defensive stance. Evil Geniuses was never able to go on the offensive from there, which resulted in Secret slowly tightening the noose on Evil Geniuses. Secret evened the series in emphatic fashion as a result.
The first two games were slow-paced affairs but that wasn’t the case in game three. Both teams drafted heroes with early potency and that made for a highly aggressive game.
The two teams were almost constantly fighting, with skirmishes breaking in either direction. The lead changed a whopping 11 times throughout the course of the game but when both sides got farmed enough, Evil Geniuses got the critical team fight win that allowed them to wipe out Secret’s base and advance to match point.
Secret’s back was against the wall from there, but the team upped its game accordingly and took over from there. Game four was a decisive one, with Secret gaining an early lead and building it steadily throughout the game.
This seemed to fluster Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev, who seemingly had a meltdown at different points throughout the tournament when he started falling behind. By the end of the game, he had a 2-10 K/D, with the teams’ tallies standing at 25-7 in Secret’s favor.
The decider was largely similar to game four. Though Andreas Franck “Cr1t-” Nielsen made solid rotations as Dark Willow, the rest of Evil Geniuses struggled to get on the board. Secret had Evil Geniuses fleeing from engagements from the mid game on, which allowed the team to score pick-offs and keep EG from ever gaining momentum.
Secret began the siege and took out two lanes of barracks. Evil Geniuses just couldn’t clean out their base, which allowed Secret to take the 3-2 series victory.
This win is huge for Secret on multiple fronts.
The team takes the top prize of $300,000 and 4,850 Dota Pro Circuit qualifying points. That likely locks the team up a spot in The International 2020 well in advance, giving them some flexibility for both new strategies and possible roster moves down the stretch.
Not only that, but this gives Team Secret its fifth first-place finish at a Valve-sponsored major in history. Though Dota Pro Circuit majors are quite different from the Valve-organized majors of yesteryear, the team breaks the record it previously shared with OG. This also establishes Secret captain Clement “Puppey” Ivanov as the only player other than Johan “N0tail” Sundstein to win six Valve-sponsored events.
The two teams are set to challenge these records against one another in the near future, however. OG is set to return to action with a new lineup starting with the ESL One Los Angeles Major.
Expect them to be competing against one another in February.