Team Secret beat OG to finish EU DPC Season 1 undefeated

KATOWICE, POLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Clement Puppey Ivanov during Dota 2 game between Team Secret and Gambit Esports on February 23, 2019 in KATOWICE, Poland. (Photo by Norbert Barczyk/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)
Clement "Puppey" Ivanov during Dota 2 game for Team Secret. (Photo: Getty Images)

Team Secret defeated OG in the last day of matches at the upper division of the Dota Pro Circuit's (DPC) European regional league on Thursday (25 February) to finish their first season in the circuit undefeated.

Secret entered the matchup having already secured the top spot in the European regional league's upper division, which guaranteed them a direct seed to the playoffs of the upcoming ONE Esports Singapore Major in March.

Meanwhile, OG were still struggling for a spot in the Major. Alliance had previously locked in second place in the standings to secure a direct seed to the Major group stage while Team Nigma came in third to take the first of two Major wildcard spots for the region.

OG badly needed to defeat Secret in order to secure fourth place in the league and avoid a three-way tiebreaker with Team Liquid and Tundra Esports on 28 February for the last remaining Major wildcard spot.

However, Secret looked to deny their opponents an easy path to the Major by opening the series with a dominant 28-minute victory. OG tried to run a greedy offlane Alchemist strategy in game one, which Secret heavily punished to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

OG's offlane Alchemist strategy worked out in game two, however, which allowed them to take a 31-minute victory and force the series to a deciding game three.

Game three started out heavily in Secret's favour, as they once again showcased their signature laning phase dominance to hold momentum heading into the midgame. With Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen's Ursa and Michal "Nisha" Jankowski's Ember Spirit leading the way, Secret rolled over OG in the teamfights and built up a 27,000 gold advantage by the 35-minute mark.

However, OG were somehow able to hold against Secret's assault and turn back the tides despite their massive gold deficit, as Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng's Weaver and Topias "Topson" Taavitsainen's Clinkz were starting to dish out a lot of damage while remaining elusive enough to kite around Secret's lineup.

No matter how elusive MidOne's Weaver and Topson's Clinkz were, their heroes were still veritable glass cannons that could quickly fall to Secret if they were ever locked down. That was exactly what happened in the game-sealing clash at the 51-minute mark.

In a chaotic teamfight that was split between two fronts at either side of the river, Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg on his offlane Enigma managed to catch MidOne with Black Hole. With OG's Weaver dead without buyback, Secret made short work of the stragglers and closed out the series after a hard-fought 53 minutes.

The game ended with Secret holding a massive 71-26 kill advantage, with Matumbaman notching 30 kills by himself while Nisha had 20 takedowns of his own. Both players only had three deaths apiece in that crazy series decider.

In the post-match interview on the official EU DPC stream, Secret's coach, Lee "Heen" Seung Gon, remarked how difficult any match against OG could be.

"It was a while since we last played our match, so going into [our match against] OG we had a lot of uncertainties about what they might play and what we might play," said Heen.

"None of the games were particularly easy. The first game could have been an easy loss and the second game was pretty much a repeat of game one except OG played and closed out the [game] better."

Despite the difficulty of their last match, Secret ended their upper division run in the first season of the DPC with a perfect 7-0 match record and dropped only three games throughout the league's six weeks-long duration.

As the top dogs of the European regional league, not only did Secret secure a direct seed to the playoffs of the Singapore Major, they also bagged the league's top prize of US$30,000 as well as 500 DPC points to go towards securing a direct invite to The International 10 (TI10) in August.

Secret's captain, Clement "Puppey" Ivanov, described how exhausting the six weeks-long season has been, going so far as to say that he thinks the league is "too long" under the new DPC system.

"I would enjoy this thing way more if it lasted two weeks or something like that because nothing’s really changing. We’re kinda just sitting around and waiting for games and can’t really play tournaments, you know? We can’t really feel the vibe of doing more, we’re just kinda stuck," said Puppey.

Puppey described the new DPC format as "very unforgiving," something he already said back in the middle of the season, which leaves no room for error for the competing teams and makes every match they play essentially a must-win.

"We realise pretty well that this DPC is very unforgiving. So, you have to win every single game. You have to put forward every idea, you need to have a new idea for each match. It’s a best-of-three after best-of-three, week after week. So, you have to literally try your best. There’s no room for failure, it’s very unforgiving," said Puppey.

Despite Secret being the only team thus far to finish their regional league undefeated, Puppey succinctly expressed his satisfaction with his squad's showing even under the DPC's unforgiving new format.

"7-0, of course, is pretty good," said Puppey, "[the new DPC is] long, unforgiving, kinda sucks, and we still won it."

Puppey and Team Secret will be getting a much-needed break before the Singapore Major, which is scheduled to run from 27 March to 4 April. The Singapore Major will feature the 18 best teams of the DPC's six regional leagues competing for the lion's share of a US$500,000 prize pool and 2,700 DPC points pool.

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