Team Secret got bested for the first time in over four months and will take the lower bracket road to the ESL One Germany after Mudgolems delivered two incredibly well-fought games in today’s opening semifinals series.
Fully embracing the underdog fate in the tournament, Mudgolems have clearly taken the four-days break since their win over Team Liquid in the playoff quarterfinals and prepared to outclass the absolute best team of the season. In game one they trapped Team Secret into playing against an Io and Undying support duo and a massive illusion strategy built around Neta “33” Shapira’ offlane Chaos Knight. While the CK was Mudgolems’ last pick, Secret seemed to prioritize the mid lane match-up and focused on countering Duško “BoraNija” Boranijaševic’s Mars. On paper, Secret had a powerful draft that should have allowed them to stay at the top of any skirmishes.
However, Mudgolems set their priorities right from the get go and rotated their Undying from super early laning stage to shut down Secret’s cores, while also dominating the safe lane, thus preventing Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg to become a threat on Enigma.
Even after closing game one with a 50K gold advantage and 41 to 19 lead on the killboard, Mudgolems were not given too many chances for game two by the panel. Nonetheless, they returned to the match ready to prove everyone wrong and opened the draft once again with Io, but followed it with Sven, giving Team Secret a clear indicator for how fast they wanted to play. They kept the same support duo from game one, but they swapped BoraNija on Lina, for maximum effectiveness against Secret’s early carry pick Phantom Assassin. The laning stage, and the overall map movement went down much slower, as both teams were patiently waiting for the opponent’s first move to punish any possible misplays.
Only seven kills were traded in the first 15 minutes of the game and although Team Secret were seemingly taking a lead and even managed to nearly team wipe Mudgolems around the 35 minute mark, the siege power provided by Sven and Lina, sustained from behind by Io and Undying, cornered Secret on their side of the map and forced them to make more defensive plays, which eventually led to an unexpected 0-2 loss.
While Mudgolems are now secured a top three finish at ESL One Germany, Team Secret will fight for revenge from lower bracket rounds. This will mark Secret’s first loss since June when they got defeated by Team Liquid in the Beyond Epic playoff semifinals.