Dota 2 Teams Series

The Story of Dota 2 Team Secret – Part 2

Dota 2
Team Secret roster

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The story behind Team Secret continues. If you didn't read the first part, make sure to check it out before reading this one. In this piece, we will cover all the scandals tied to this team and their first big achievements on the Dota 2 pro scene.

Ex-Player Allegations Escalated into Scandal

One of the biggest esports scandals around Team Secret happened at the beginning of 2016. It all started with Evany Chang, the ex-manager of the org, throwing allegations that Team Secret owed her and former players (Artour "Arteezy" Babaev, Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg, Kuro Salehi “KuroKy” Takhasomi, Tal "Fly" Aizik and Johan "N0tail" Sundstein) a huge amount of money.

At that point, Secret issued no official statement and it was almost forgotten. However, in October of the same year, Jacky "EternaLEnVy" Mao wrote an in-depth blog post about everything that was happening in the team. The post was is pretty long but the most important things he accused Secret of were:

  1. Team Secret took 10% cut from every prize-winning without informing players (only Clement “Puppey” Ivanov knew).
  2. Salaries were not paid as promised.
  3. Promised hardware never made it to the players.
  4. Puppey was also accused of being angry and unprofessional, he even got physical with Aliwi "w33" Omar.

He finished the blog post with a video of Puppey being angry and throwing his headset at a monitor and breaking it.

Video credit: Syncobazz via YouTube

Later that day, Rasmus "MISERY" Filipsen joined the accusations and also wrote a blog post stating that Team Secret did not pay him until he asked several times.

Puppey denied the whole thing on his Twitter profile:

First Major Trophy – Shanghai Major

Unlike with the Frankfurt Major, Team Secret came to Shanghai as complete underdogs. No one believed this team could even dream about winning it.

The Upper Bracket Playoffs went well and Team Secret swept OG, EG and Liquid respectfully. However, Liquid managed to win the Lower Bracket Finals and found themselves in the Grand Finals, once again, against Team Secret, only this time in a best-of-five scenario. Team Secret won 3-1 and took their first Major trophy and a grand prize of $1,1 million with it.

A funny thing happened on that Major – Secret forgot their equipment in the practice room and never got it back. No one knows what happened to it.

Roster Changes and Disappointing Results

After the triumph at Shanghai, a few minor roster changes followed. MiSeRy and w33 were replaced with Saahil "Universe" Arora and Arteezy, and Sivatheeban "1437" Sivanathapillai joined as a new team coach.

The new roster didn’t get along and it was a catastrophic season. In fact, they did not win a single Tier 1 tournament for the rest of the year. Despite being the favorites for TI6, Team Secret finished dead last as a 13th-16th placed team. On top of all that, they did not even qualify for the Boston Major in 2016 which was the first Valve event that Puppey and his team did not attend.

Followed by bad results and last place at TI6, the whole team fell apart. Everyone except for Puppey and Johan "pieliedie" Åström left. The two had to rebuild the whole roster once again.

New Season, New Roster

The new roster for the 2016/2017 season was mostly composed of players from Southeast Asia. Two MVP.Pheonix players – Pyo "MP" No-a and Lee "Forev" Sang-don alongside Malaysian midlaner Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng from Fnatic came into the fold of Team Secret. A few months later, FoREv also left the team and he was replaced by German midlaner Maurice "KheZu" Gutmann.

Despite the new roster, bad results were still there and Secret couldn’t win a single Tier 1 tournament. Another roster change was made and pieliedie was replaced with Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat. That roster change showed a significant improvement as they managed to finish in the Top 4 at EPICENTER and second at The Summit. Things started looking up.

However, those improvements did not bear any fruit at the TI7. Team Secret came through regional qualifiers as a first-seed European team. The Group Stage was hard and they had only one victory which was barely enough to get them into the lower bracket. Unfortunately, Secret were unlucky and had to play against Team Liquid in the second round. Liquid won that match and later went on a 5-score winning streak to win the tournament.

The DPC System

After being crushed and disbanded so many times, Team Secret never gave up. MP and KheZu left the team and were replaced by Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard and Adrian "Fata" Trinks.

The new roster began the season very well. It started with a huge victory against TI champions Team Liquid in the semi-finals of the ESL One Hamburg Major. Despite losing in the finals, Secret were happy with second place and ready to improve even more.

The next big tournament was DreamLeague Season 8 ($1 million in prize money) and Secret won it after beating Team Liquid with 3-0 in the grand finals.

Great results earned them a direct invite to The International 2018. Unfortunately, Team Secret lost in Round 4 against Team Liquid and finished as a 5th-6th placed team. They could do better but luck was not on their side this time. Like always, two more roster changes followed after the TI. Ace and Fata were replaced by Michał "Nisha" Jankowski and zai.

New DPC Season and Rise of the Phoenix

The new DPC system meant a lot fewer Majors and Minors and no more direct invites. Every team had to go to prove themselves through qualifiers. It looked like this new rule was exactly what Team Secret needed.

They started strong, finishing first at ESL One Hamburg, The Chongqing Major, ESL One Katowice, MDL Disneyland Paris Major and ESL One Birmingham. Secret were simply unstoppable. Wherever they went, victory followed.

The hype was there and The International 2019 was just around the corner. Team Secret came as a first-place team from Dota Pro Circuit and an absolute favorite team to win TI.

Video credit: IAmStaka via YouTube

Unfortunately, this TI was very similar to the previous one. Team Secret were knocked down to the Lower Bracket by Evil Geniuses and lost there against Team Liquid. Only this time, they managed to avoid Liquid up until the semi-finals, and therefore, finished as the 4th placed team, which was also the best result Team Secret ever had at TI.

Team Secret – Where are They Now?

Without any doubt, Team Secret are currently the best in the world. The biggest tournament after TI9 was DreamLeague Season 13 Leipzig Major and Team Secret won it without any major troubles. Out of the last 6 events they attended, they won all of them with a convincing 3-0 victory in the Grand Finals in each one.

They are finally on the right path and if they continue to play like this, no one will be able to stop them at TI10 which should be held in Stockholm, Sweden. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dota 2 International was postponed for the first time in the history of this game. It will probably take place on April 30, 2021, so we will have to wait a little bit longer to see if Secret finally have what it takes to thrive at TI. Or will Liquid foil them gain?

Team Secret Leipzig

Team Secret - Leipzig Major (Image credit: DreamHack)

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Antonio Kaurinovic

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