Pure class, domination and unbound talent is the best way to describe Team Secret, a team filled with brilliance that has destroyed nearly all competition in recent times. However, in all their winning years as Secret, one thing has constantly eluded their grasp – a victory at The International but this year, the mighty army led by Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov has a massive shot to hoist the Aegis of Champions.
When the name “Team Secret” is uttered in any Dota 2 conversation, there is never a single person who has ever watched a tournament that does not know who they are or at least some history of the storied captain. Since late in 2014, after poor results at TI4 for a few players, Secret have been on the Dota 2 radar, carving a path of destruction and striking fear into opponents. The team was originally formed by Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Salehi Takhasomi and Johan ‘N0tail’ Sundstein and added in the like of Puppey, Tal ‘Fly’ Aizik and Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson on formation. They were an instant hit as they ripped through StarLadder StarSeries Season 10 to claim a magnificent second place finish and from that point on, any Secret roster would be cause for concern.
Moving forward a few years to the 2018/2019 Dota 2 Pro Circuit Season and we see a fairly different Secret roster – but with Puppey still manning the ship as captain and now even more fearsome. The team had an almost unstoppable run through the Major’s of the season; winning two, placing second at one, fourth at another before falling short towards the end – but easily were the most dominant squad in the DPC. Secret were one of the first two teams to claim a mathematical direct invite to TI9 and once they did, it did not stop them amassing a huge 14400 DPC points over the season – and with this squad, the TI dream is very much alive and kicking.
Team Secret TI9 roster:
- Michal ‘Nisha’ Jankowski
- Yeik ‘MidOne’ Nai Zheng
- Ludwig ‘zai’ Wåhlberg
- Yazued ‘YapzOr’ Jaradat
- Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov
- coach: Lee ‘SunBhie’ Jeong-jae
Puppey has been earmarked as one of the greatest captains in the history of Dota 2 and having played with the likes of legends such as Danil ‘Dendi’ Ishutin, Ivan ‘ArtStyle’ Antonov, Oleksandr ‘XBOCT’ Dashkevych and Dmitriy ‘LighTofHeaveN’ Kupriyanov at Natus Vincere, you can understand why. Having lifted the very first Aegis of Champions in the amazing first ever TI back in 2011, Puppey has adapted to and overcome many obstacles over the years – including constant roster changes after joining Secret. But, much like his ex-teammate Kuro, Puppey is a stalwart, unmovable and loyal and as such, he has remained at Team Secret, creating and nurturing a squad of unstoppable talent.
While zai and Nisha joined Secret at the same time last year, this is not the first time that zai has been on the squad – having moved back and forth from Evil Geniuses. However, the addition of Nisha to the ranks has been quite a big step forward for the team. The young Polish carry player has helped the team reach a new level of dominance, meticulously outplaying his opponents at every turn in multiple tournaments. While it will be the first time that Nisha sets foot on the hallowed grounds of a TI event, he’s sure to be a spectacle to admire in every game Secret plays.
When you’re a team of the caliber of Secret, rivals are at every turn and in this season alone, we saw the team have a massive competition with Virtus.pro – with both reaching multiple grand finals at Majors and both being victorious multiple times. While VP would be the victors at The Kuala Lumpur Major, Secret came back to vanquish the CIS squad in Chongqing. However, DreamLeague Season 11 would see VP take the rivalry another step, when they eliminated Secret from the event before the grand finals – putting them in the lead of the rivalry. Should these two teams meet on the battlefield at TI9, expect some of the absolute best Dota 2 action as they fight for the chance to raise the Aegis of Champions and for possible rivalry closure.
Apart from VP, Secret’s rivals are the likes of Liquid, OG and even PSG.LGD. All these teams have managed to take down Secret in both recent times and in the past, eliminating them from big events – but this is an extremely resilient squad, with one of the best Dota 2 captains in the world, filled with nothing but talented individuals.
On the other hand, Secret, much like VP, have always struggled to find form when it came time for The International – falling early every year and never reaching the grand finals. They will definitely be hoping that this year is completely different; maybe this will be their year – and the year that Puppey can lift his second Aegis. With only a week left until The International 2019 kicks off in Shanghai, China, we’re excited to see Team Secret get their campaign underway.
TI9 team profiles:
Infamous, the ever Morphling roster
Na’Vi, the rejuvenated Ancient Apparition
Virtus.pro, the Storm Spirit of CIS
Fnatic – The Troll Warlord with a twist
TNC Predator, the Undying hope of SEA
Mineski, the rising Phoenix of Southeast Asia
Evil Geniuses – Sven on a cliff
Team Liquid, the Enigma of the season
OG, the Monkey Kings
Ninjas in Pyjamas, the menacing Meepo
Alliance, the Tiny path to success