Team Secret announced their new roster for the 2019-2020 DPC season on the 4th of November 2019. A lot of people were happy to see Lasse ‘Matumbaman’ Urpalainen back on a top tier team, reunited with Coach Heen, the coach with whom he won TI7 under Team Liquid’s banner.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Exciting as this announcement was, it meant Yeik ‘MidOne’ Nai Zheng, Team Secret’s longest serving member after Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov, would no longer be a Team Secret player. After three years of playing in the mid lane for Secret, the Malaysian will be looking to ply his trade in a different team now. The breakup between Secret and MidOne was amicalble where Secret only had good things to say about their former mid player.
Excerpt from Team Secret’s statement
Firstly, MidOne will be departing from our active roster in order to take an extended break away from DotA 2. The demands of the previous DPC season required staying in Europe for extended periods of time to commit to boot camps, Majors and travelling across the world for tournaments in other regions. MidOne has sacrificed tremendously in order to compete and contribute to our team’s success at the top level of DotA. He has proved an invaluable player and friend along the way, and we could not ask for a better team member. During MidOne’s time on our active roster he was able to become a triple Valve Major winner, a multiple tournament Champion, and has represented us at The International for the last three years – including 4th place at this previous International, our highest placement to-date. We are extremely grateful for everything he has done with us, and wish him a very well deserved rest in his time away from the competitive scene.
As we get ready to see a Secret without MidOne, let’s take a look at a quick look at the high points of his time with Team Secret.
MidOne’s first season with Secret was the least impressive one. The team was made of MP, MidOne, Khezu, pieliedie and Puppey. Towards the end, they swapped pieliedie for Yapzor. The only LAN that Secret won that year was the ROG Masters 2016, where they didn’t really have any competetion. Team Secret lost to Team Liquid 2-1 at TI7, finishing 7th-8th. The team was revamped, but MidOne stayed on along with Yapzor and Puppey.
His second season with Secret was when MidOne really began to flourish. MP had been replaced by Ace and Khezu’s place was taken by Fata. Secret’s season started well with some strong performances in qualifiers. After finishing second at ESL One Hamburg 2017 (which was a DPC Major), Secret found themselves in the grand finals of Dream League Season 8, facing off against the TI7 champions Team Liquid. This was when MidOne probably played two of his best games in a Team Secret jersey.
In game 1, MidOne played Kunkka and it was this game that made mid Kunkka popular! Before this, no one in the pro scene played mid Kunkka and now, he’s one of the strongest mid laners out there. Kunkka had a lot of impact on the game, contrary to what people might have expected. MidOne said he got to learn a lot about the hero watching the streamer Attacker, who plays a wicked mid Kunkka.
In game 2, he played another unconventional hero, Arc Warden in the mid lane, and again, he had an amazing game. Both games lasted more than an hour, but that’s what it took for this team to take down the reigning TI champions, Team Liquid. The third game was a lot easier and Secret won 3-0 giving MidOne the first Major victory of his Dota 2 career.
Team Secret added a couple of more trohies to that Major trophy – Captain’s Draft 4.0 and DreamLeague 9.0, which were both DPC Minors. They weren’t able to win anymore Majors and towards the end of the season, weren’t really a top contender for TI8. Come TI8, they were able to achieve a 5th-6th position finish, but that’s not what an organization like Secret is looking for. Again, they were thwarted by Liquid, this time 2-0, and changes followed their exit.
Just like the year before, MidOne and Yapzor held on to their places with Puppey and were joined this time by Nisha and Zai. This was definitely the strongest team assembled by Team Secret after the all-star team of TI5 (Arteezy, S4, Zai, Kuroky, Puppey) and it showed quickly. Secret started the season with two quick wins at the PVP Esports Championship and ESL One Hamburg 2018. ESL One Hamburg was an iconic tournament for MidOne, where he won the MVP award and took home a Mercedez Benz! This was probably the zenith of his Secret career.
With confidence fueling the new team, Secret went to MidOne’s homeland, Malaysia, to play in the Kuala Lumpur Major. They weren’t able to win it, but they went to the grand finals and lost 3-2 against Virtus Pro. If MidOne hadn’t been put on a mid Shadow Shaman in game 1, Secret would have probably had a better chance to take the series. And MidOne actually did quite well against N[o]one, winning the mid lane with Shaman against Storm Spirit, but it wasn’t enough. Secret made sure this season wasn’t a repeat of the previous year, where they fell off after winning a Major. Secret got their revenge on Virtus Pro at the Chongqing Major, beating them 3-1 in the grand finals.
Besides these, Secret went on to win the MDL Disneyland Major and two other ESL One events – ESL One Katowice and ESL One Birmingham. Zai and Puppey won the MVPs here repectively, but had MidOne already not won at ESL One Hamburg, there was a good chane he would’ve won at either of those two ESLs. ESL One Birmingham was the last tournment the Malaysian won with Team Secret, and he was just phenomenal. Secret started the playoffs in the lower bracket and went all the way to the grand finals to win it 3-2 against Evil Geniuses.
TI9 is probably the only tournament MidOne would like to forget. Team Secret had been the best team that season and were the main contenders for picking up the Aegis. Maybe it was the pressure or maybe just a bad week, but MidOne’s showing at TI9 was far below his best level. Although Secret didn’t win TI9, the managed to secure 4th place, which was their best finish ever at a TI. For a third year in a row, Secret and MidOne lost to Team Liquid at The International championships.
Many from the community think that was the reason MidOne was ousted from Secret, which if true, is really harsh. He was with the organization in good times and bad and saw the team lift up from an average team in 2016 to a team no one wanted to face in 2019. But there are also reports that he wasn’t really kicked and his departure from Team Secret was due to exhaustion. For now, he will be taking some time off from the competetive scene but we will eventually see him come back into the fray. With the Secret chapter in his life coming to an end, many new doors have opened up for MidOne. Just like his hero pool is versatile, so is his language pool. He’s good with English as well as Mandarin, which means we could see him jump from West to East and play with a Chinese team. Nothing has been announced yet, but there will be a lot of teams vying for his signature and it will be interesting to see that after a long time with Team Secret, how MidOne will fit into and perform for another team.
MidOne’s stats from his three seasons with Team Secret
Total games played for Team Secret – 649 (438 wins, 67.49% win rate)
Total heroes played for Team Secret – 67
Most played heroes –
(1) Ember Spirit (80 games, 70% win rate)
(2) Invoker (48 games, 60.42% win rate)
(3) Outworld Devourer (43 games, 69.77% win rate)
Hero with the best win rate (20 games or more) – Monkey King (39 games, 82.05% win rate)
Hero with the least win rate (20 games or more) – Storm Spirit (27 games, 59.26% win rate)