Swedish organisation Alliance are looking like the new top team for the second season of the Dota Pro Circuit's (DPC) European regional league, as they took down Team Secret, 2-1, in their marquee upper division matchup on Thursday (29 April).
Secret finished the first season of the league undefeated and were seen as the clear top dogs of Europe even after their disappointing run in the ONE Esports Singapore Major. However, they have looked vulnerable in Season 2 after they got swept in their opening match by Team Nigma earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Alliance entered their matchup against Secret with momentum on their side, as they had a strong 3-0 start in Season 2 with wins over Team Liquid, OG, and Team Nigma.
Secret started the series strong and were in a dominant position early into game one. However, Alliance were able to turn the tables at the 25-minute mark, as they managed to repel a base push from Secret despite Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen's Gyrocopter holding the Aegis of the Immortal.
Alliance showcased phenomenal team fight coordination in that defence, as they were able to pop Matumbaman's Aegis for no real cost while Nikolay "Nikobaby" Nikolov's Lifestealer and Linus "Limmp" Blomdin's Mars snuck into Secret's backline to take out their supports.
Knowing the fight was already lost, Secret looked to cut their losses and retreat through a Dark Rift from Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg's Underlord. However, Limmp was able to push Matumbaman away from Dark Rift's area-of-effect at the last second with a clutch Spear of Mars. As a result, Secret lost all momentum as their carry was left behind and promptly taken down.
With Secret on the backfoot, Alliance won the decisive clash of the game at the 32-minute mark behind Nikobaby's unstoppable Lifestealer, who simply tore through the enemy line-up en route to a team wipe and an Ultra Kill. Secret eventually tapped out after 37 minutes to give Alliance a 1-0 lead in the series.
Secret bounced back in game two behind zai's unorthodox Manta Style build for his offlane Axe, which stalled Alliance until his team's late game lineup was able to force the series to a decider.
Alliance seemed unbothered by their loss in game two as they dominated game three to close out the series. Limmp's Dragon Knight and Gustav "s4" Magnusson's Underlord presented a formidable front line while Simon "Handsken" Haag's Lina and Artsiom "fng" Barshak's Elder Titan provided a ton of lockdown, which allowed Nikobaby's Faceless Void to just run rampant over Secret in the team fights.
With their huge victory over Secret, Alliance now hold a clean 4-0 record. The Sweden-based squad did this despite having arguably the toughest schedule of any team in the league, as they had to face Liquid, OG, Nigma, and Secret in quick succession.
Including Alliance, those are easily the five best teams in Europe that had the potential to have as great a start.
In the post-match interview, Limmp said they were expecting a victory heading into the series and that they would be looking to relax now that the most difficult stretch of their season is over.
"Tomorrow we’re gonna go to a spa actually and just relax because we’ve been working hard. We saw this victory in the future so we booked it already," said Limmp.
Alliance are in prime position to finish Season 2 of the DPC as the top team of the European regional league, as they now only have to face the league's weaker squads in Brame Esports, Tundra Esports, and Hellbear Smashers.
Should they do just that, they will be given a direct seed to the playoffs of the second Major of the season and are also guaranteed an all-important direct invite to The International 10 (TI10).
However, Limmp said that his team's focus remains on what's directly in front of them.
"We haven’t really thought about [the Major or TI10], we’re just taking each game as it is," said Limmp.
Alliance's next match will be in Week 4 of competition at the European regional league's upper division, where they will take on Brame Esports on 4 May. They are then expected to play one match in each of the league's last two weeks against Tundra Esports and Hellbear Smashers.
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