Team Secret have been one of the best teams in Dota 2 during the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit and their utter domination of Gambit Esports during non-DPC events continued today at ESL One Birmingham.
After a shaky group stage, Gambit were putting on a show throughout the lower bracket of the playoffs until they met their demon this season in the lower bracket semifinals.
Gambit pulled off two incredible upsets back-to-back, managing to take down Team Liquid and sweep Vici Gaming to eliminate two top-ranked teams from the tournament. But in order to make it into the lower bracket finals, they had to try to beat a team that they have yet to best this season in Secret.
Secret also struggled in the group stage, although that was likely due to Clement “Puppey” Ivanov focusing on newer heroes and lineups that his team tested in early rounds. In the playoffs, they swept OG and managed to overcome a red-hot TNC Predator team that looked the best they have all year.
After beating two tough teams, it almost looked like Secret were relieved to be playing Gambit. They have had some trouble with Vici in recent events and their track record against Gambit is spotless in the current season. Their confidence in the matchup really showed during game one.
With a Warlock and Medusa on deck for Secret, they quickly enforced their will on the game, dominating the lanes and communicating perfectly with each other. Things got out of hand for Gambit and about 10 minutes in, it was already looking bleak.
The CIS squad managed to hold Secret in the mid-game, but that did nothing to stop the masterful play and communication on display. Pick after pick slowly led to Gambit losing their positioning and Secret collapsing on them.
Game two was a better start for Gambit, forcing Michał “Nisha” Jankowski on his Anti Mage out of position and a couple of well-timed fights gave them an early edge. But they weren’t focusing enough on the background movement and that let Secret get the drop on them late to swing the game.
Secret pushed from there, taking Roshan, winning fights, and taking the game in just 27 minutes. This loss drops Gambit to 0-11 against Secret this season as they were unable to avenge their losses from ESL One Katowice or early in groups. The CIS squad is out in fourth while Secret will move on to face LGD Gaming in the lower bracket finals.
That match will take place on June 2 at 6am CT, with the winner moving on to face Evil Geniuses in the grand finals.