Nine's mid Keeper of the Light shines as Tundra Esports destroy Team Secret

Tundra Esports swept Team Secret behind a dominant performance from Leon
Tundra Esports swept Team Secret behind a dominant performance from Leon "Nine" Kirilin on a mid Keeper of the Light in game two. (Photos: Tundra Esports/Valve Software)

Tundra Esports continue their rise to becoming one of the top teams in the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), sweeping Team Secret 2-0 in their second match of the Spring regional league for Western Europe.

But Tundra didn’t just sweep Secret — they did so with style and flair.

Game one was an absolute stomp, with Tundra winning in just 24 minutes and with a 23-3 kill score. Secret put up a slightly better showing in game two, lasting for 35 minutes and giving up a 6-23 kill lead before conceding the series.

Tundra midlaner Leon “Nine” Kirilin fueled his team's dominant showing throughout the series. Yet his massive impact was most apparent in game two, where he brought back his mid Keeper of the Light.

Nine plays Keeper of the Light mid with a new item build

This isn’t the first time Tundra’s midlaner has played Keeper of the Light in the midlane.

During ESL One Fall 2021, Tundra Esports took the hero early in the draft in order to trick T1 into thinking it was a support.

In that match, Nine stacked multiple Null Talismans to boost his magic damage and then built Boots of Travel into Dagon to run around the map and make space.

The 7.31 update changed Null Talismans to no longer provide bonus magic amplification, now instead reducing the mana cost of spells.

Nine adjusted his item build accordingly, and skipped Null Talismans to instead rush for Boots of Travel as his first big item in game two.

Keeper of the Light’s 330 movement speed is the highest in the game, and adding an additional 90 movement speed along with the global presence from Boots of Travel meant that Nine could pop out anywhere on the map.

That paid dividends as Nine was able to get a Double Kill 11 minutes into the game, first rotating top to secure a kill on Clement "Puppey" Ivanov’s Omniknight and then teleporting to the bottom lane to take out Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat's Snapfire.

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After purchasing the Boots of Travel, Nine went for a Spirit Vessel for more damage. With how active he played Keeper of the Light, Nine was able to use Spirit Vessel during every pickoff to ensure the item kept gaining charges throughout the game.

Ethereal Blade was Nine's next item, which he used to negate the physical damage coming from Secret’s cores while buffing Tundra’s magic damage.

Keeper of the Light has one of the best Aghanim's Scepter upgrades in the game. It grants him the Will-O-Wisp ability, which pulls enemy heroes to the center of the spell. While it doesn’t deal any damage, it is a massive disable when enemies are caught unaware.

Tundra made good use of a fantastic Will-O-Wisp from Nine 33 minutes into the game to secure their first set of barracks.

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Nine has always innovated in the mid lane and his new Keeper of the Light is another testament to that.

In the hands of Tundra Esports, the hero is incredibly mobile, can flash farm well, and scales into the late game with multiple disables provided by items.

Nine finished game two of Tundra's sweep over Secret with a game-high nine kills and 11 assists against just one death.

Time will tell if other teams pick up on the mid Keeper of the Light, or introduce their own unique picks.

Either way, the 7.31 update has already brought back classic builds like core Vengeful Spirit and mid Keeper of the Light. Which hero will make their comeback next?

Tundra Esports roster:

  1. Oliver "Skiter" Lepko

  2. Leon "Nine" Kirilin

  3. Neta "33" Shapira

  4. Martin "Saksa" Sazdov

  5. Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu

Team Secret roster:

  1. Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan

  2. Michał "Nisha" Jankowski

  3. Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang

  4. Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat

  5. Clement "Puppey" Ivanov

Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.

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