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Team Liquid improve their record to 9-0 in the main event as they dominate Team Secret and secure a top-three finish at The International 2019.
For the third year in a row, Secret are headed home after falling to their European rivals on the biggest stage in Dota 2.
Game one was a trade-off between the two legendary captains as Clement “Puppey” Ivanov brought home Io and Omniknight but had to watch as Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi secured Chen. And in what has proven to be the case throughout TI9, Liquid managed to take a surprising last pick, throwing Aliwi “w33” Omar onto his signature Meepo.
The early game was even, but it didn’t last long as Liquid quickly pulled ahead and started pressuring Secret’s supports. Puppey and Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg just couldn’t stay alive as the Meepo began rushing with Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi helping with follow-ups on his Leshrac.
Those picks just kept coming as Liquid moved towards the high grounds. Even when they secured partial holds, Secret never had enough players in position to push back, leading to a quick 1-0 Liquid lead.
Game two was another slow start, but w33 got on Alchemist and the farm war between the bruiser and Michał “Nisha” Jankowski’s Skeleton King was on.
Even as the game slowly burned, it was clear something was off for Secret. Both sides had a hero off farming their way to power, but Liquid were still controlling the map.
Miracle’s Kunkka was heavily outplaying Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng’s Bristleback as Liquid managed to find early kills on him and zai. The big difference maker was Nisha’s Skeleton King actually providing quicker farm for the Alchemist, building w33 up faster as he turned and started pounding Secret.
A deep push into Secret was deterred, but not without Liquid getting the picks necessary to escape successfully and keep their massive lead. None of Secret’s heroes were able to keep up with Liquid’s damage output as Kuro and crew took Roshan and placed themselves on the verge of victory.
One last team fight saw Secret get the drop on Liquid, cornering w33 after eliminating Shadow Shaman with no buyback. But Miracle made the heads up play and passed his fellow laner the cheese obtained from that key Roshan, allowing him to not only heal, but help lead the final charge.
Behind the unstoppable damage output of the Alchemist, Liquid decimated Secret’s barracks and pushed straight to the Tier Four towers. With only Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat’s Rubick left to contest, the Ancient fell and Liquid celebrated.
Leaving the pods, the two former teammates turned rival captains shared an emotional hug as Kuro once again halted one of Puppey’s TI runs. Liquid will now play PSG.LGD in the lower bracket finals to see who will face OG for the Aegis of Champions.
Secret finish The International 2019 in fourth place, the highest placement for the organization. The number one ranked team for the season heads home with $2,043,376 in their pocket and plenty to think about before next season begins.