A streak spanning the lifetime of competitive Dota 2 is at risk of coming to an end following Team Secret’s most recent loss during Tour Three of the Dota Pro Circuit Western Europe season.
After a slow start to Tour Three, the reigning TI runner-ups were needing wins over Tundra Esports and Quest Esports on June 2 to keep their Division I hopes alive, but subsequent 1-2 series losses spelled doom for the European outfit. While Secret would finish with more match wins than both D1 Hustlers and Entity, their 1-6 record would mean a dead-last finish and relegation into Division II.
But crucially, without a spot at June 29’s Bali Major, Team Secret are likely going to fall short of the DPC points required for an invitation to Valve’s The International 2023—putting captain Clement “Puppey” Ivanov’s TI appearance record in jeopardy.
Puppey’s reign over The International began with NAVI in 2011, with the Estonian juggernaut switching organizations to Team Secret in 2015. There, he has remained since—a full 3,204 days on since the move—but has yet to taste victory at TI since his win with Dendi and co. all those years ago.
He is the only player to have attended every single version of TI, with 2022’s second place the closest he’s been to the Aegis of Champions. Puppey, alongside his Counter-Strike counterpart in Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, are the only two players to attend every pinnacle tournament in the two major Valve esports.
While details surrounding the last chance qualifier are not known at this time, Puppey’s TI appearance streak isn’t over just yet. Team Secret will, however, have to do it the hard way—through the open bracket of the toughest Dota region on the planet.
It wouldn’t be the first time a team qualified through an open bracket to make TI. Famously, many fans will point to OG’s miraculous run in 2018, where the squad was forced through the European open bracket to TI before overcoming all on their way to the trophy lift over PSG.LGD.
Team Spirit did their best imitation of OG’s run in 2021, needing to work through the Eastern European qualifier to qualify for the pinnacle tournament. Spirit would go on to defeat the likes of Puppey’s Team Secret and PSG.LGD to win the event and the record prize pool with it.
June 29 sees the Bali Major begin, with Team Spirit likely needing to wait until late July before beginning their last-ditch effort to save Puppey’s record.