There are 4 Dota 2 professional players who will be attending their 8th TI event this year, still playing and still at the top of their game. One of these is Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov – who is a massive name in the Dota 2 community.
This series will take a look at each of these players, their biggest moments, their achievements, the teams they’ve played for and just how far I think they can go at the upcoming TI8.
Puppey – The Early Years – DotA
Puppey really requires very little introduction for those that have long followed in the Dota 2 community. The now 28-year old Estonian born Captain has been a part of some of the biggest names in the game through his long career but has definitely made Team Secret a home for himself. Clement began his DotA journey in 2007 in the original game, playing alongside Kuro ‘Kuroky’ Salehi Takhasomi in their early years. The 2 stuck together through KS.int before moving on to Nirvana.int which is where the 2 would leave each other for the first time. But Puppey had already made a name for himself in DotA and soon Dota 2 would find him.
The first team that acquired the brilliance of Puppey was one of the biggest in the early days of Dota 2, Natus Vincere. Alongside Danil ‘Dendi’ Ishutin, Clement would start to see success after success as Na’Vi first claimed the then massive $1,000,000 prize pool of The International 2011 and it wasn’t long after this victory that he would be crowned captain of the squad. His captaincy saw Na’Vi take 2nd place at the next 2 iterations of The International and reuniting with Kuroky at TI3 where everyone would remember Clement’s fantastic Chen plays throughout the tournament.
Unfortunately, soon the team started to fall – not due to his leadership but something had gone wrong. Clement was released from Na’Vi after they could not muster better than 7th place at TI4 – but his story was definitely only just beginning.
It wasn’t long before Clement reunited with Kuro and joined forces with Gustav ‘s4’ Magnusson to form Team Secret – the team where he would hope to captain his way to the top once again. It wasn’t long before his new squad were causing a stir, beating the likes of Evil Geniuses in 2015, the same year the North American team would go on to win The International. However, their poor performance at the same TI would see the entire roster leave Clement as he rebuilt from the ground up, bringing in the likes of Jacky ‘EternalEnvy’ Mao and Aliwi ‘w33’ Omar. His new team managed to race to 2nd place at The Frankfurt Major 2015 before making their presence felt once again at The Shanghai Major 2016 where they would claim first place – beating Kuroky’s Team Liquid.
While it hasn’t been easy at all, with many roster changes over the years, Puppey has been the one stock standard at Team Secret. 2016 was an extremely testing year for him and going into the DPC season last year the team started strong – taking 2nd at ESL One Hamburg before winning DreamLeague Season 8. The rest of their DPC season was not the best but the team were able to still obtain the points to get a Direct Invite to The International 2018. Clement will definitely put his all into the event, hoping to become the first player to raise the Aegis of Champions twice.
Puppey performances at The International by year:
The International 2011: First Place (Na’Vi)
The International 2012: Second Place (Na’Vi)
The International 2013: Second Place (Na’Vi)
The International 2014: Seventh/Eight Place (Na’Vi)
The International 2015: Seventh/Eight Place (Team Secret)
The International 2016: Thirteenth-Sixteenth Place (Team Secret)
The International 2017: Ninth-Twelfth Place (Team Secret)
Is this to be Clement and Team Secret’s year to shine at The International? With the competition being one of the fiercest that it has been in a while, Puppey will have to command his team through a barrage of big teams to make it to the podium where the Aegis of Champions awaits his name for a second time.
While Clement has not had the best time when it has come to The International since leaving Na’Vi, it is clear that Team Secret is his project which he wants to return to glory with. Never faltering, he assumes the role of command and leads his teammates forward. No matter where Secret end up at TI8, Puppey will always be a determined and well-known member of the Dota 2 community and is still considered one of the best Chen players in the world – and his name will forever be a part of the Dota 2 history books.