Team Secret take down Evil Geniuses to win DreamLeague Season 13 Major

Secret is back to playing some top-tier Dota.

Photo by Adela Sznajder via DreamHack

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Going from a nearly six-month break to the main stage of the DreamLeague Season 13 Major, Team Secret closed out a close series against Evil Geniuses to hoist the tournament trophy. Secret’s dominating performance puts them back on track for the 2019-20 Dota Pro Circuit. 

There were a few scares in the early game for Clement “Puppey” Ivanov and his team, but Secret’s roster of veterans was too much for EG to overcome in the end. 

Before the series began, EG were warmed up and had momentum on their side after beating Vici Gaming to make it into the grand finals today, and that seemed to really help them early against Secret after they crushed almost every aspect of game one. Abed “Abed” Yusop was a menace and played another great Templar Assassin game, and Artour “Arteezy” Babaev’s Razor secured a triple kill to help put his team on the board first. 

That 26-7 stomp led to Secret completely switching strategies. The team opted for Monkey King for Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen in the first phase of the draft and followed it up with Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat on a roaming Chen.

EG kept up with Secret in the early game thanks to Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev’s Enchantress and Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen’s Tiny. But Secret started finding kills, and the net worth lead slowly started building. By the time Secret was actively ready to commit to fights, the Meepo was ready to jump in and started decimating his opponents. EG didn’t make for easy targets, but whenever Secret were in trouble, Puppey seemed to have a perfectly timed Winter’s Curse to stop the threat. 

EG still had a shot at turning the game around until about the 29-minute mark when they engaged Secret and could do almost nothing to stop Nisha from tearing them apart. Every player but RAMZES666 fell to the Meepo as he nabbed a Rampage by locking down EG and diving into the tier-three towers to kill Tal “Fly” Aizik.

The game spiraled from there. Secret played with confidence and only traded kills up until the final moments. 

With things evened up at 1-1, the pressure was on EG to bounce back with a better draft. And while Secret picked Winter Wyvern as an odd first hero, EG focused their strategy around Abed’s Storm Spirit. 

Game three was much less farm-heavy, with both teams favoring teamfights rather than a more patient playstyle. And that kind of play is where EG flourishes with the right core, which in this case was that Storm Spirit and Arteezy’s Naga Siren. 

The NA squad had multiple ways to approach Secret, and in all but one fight it was EG coming out with a net positive or even trade. That started to add up against Secret and both YapzOr’s Lion and Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg’s Clockwerk were basically no-shows as EG started to crack their opponents’ defense. 

After a clean teamwipe, EG started preparing for a final push. Once the push began, however, Secret broke as Arteezy went beyond godlike and put EG on tournament point. 

But in typical Puppey fashion, his team decided to take that as a message to ban the Storm Spirit and start over again. Secret opted for a first pick Tiny and gave Matu a Morphling for the first time at the event. EG counter-drafted with an Io, Slark, and a last-pick Batrider, but Secret stuck to their strategy and finished out with a Leshrac.

And it was because of that Leshrac that Secret were able to maintain a strong lane presence against EG. Nisha was able to draw with Abed’s TA and freely rotate to help get some early kills and tower damage. This also helped alleviate some of the pressure from Matu’s Morphling since Nisha wreaking havoc pulled the Io pairing away from the bottom lane. 

An early Blink Dagger on zai’s Tiny allowed Matu to secure a key double kill on Cr1t- and RAMZES666, which then turned into a dieback for both of those heroes just moments later. The initially strong pick of Batrider slowly became less and less effective as the match went on and Secret got comfortable. 

From there it was simply about winning lanes and securing kills for Secret as they managed to push EG away, grab an Aegis for Matu, and gain high-ground advantage for a relatively easy victory. 

Secret had another strong draft for the deciding game of the Major, grabbing Tiny again and giving Matu Phantom Lancer in hopes of playing another mid-length game and getting him farmed up. That draft was just what Secret needed to counter EG’s Drow-Ranger-Viper core.

Fly was the only member of EG to win his lane. Matu was left free to build up his net worth and buy what he needed to prepare for the late game. And once it came time to rush down the kills, he was ready to do it. 

It was a slow death for EG. They couldn’t find the kills early and were quickly surpassed in terms of net worth by almost every Secret player. There were only a handful of teamfights, all of which Secret won handily leading into a late push.

With more than a 33,000 lead and no significant weaknesses, Secret forced GGs and claimed the first Major title victory of 2020, and their first of this DPC season. After winning $300,000 and the 4,850 DPC points, Secret now trail only Vici Gaming and TNC Predator in the total DPC rankings. 

Evil Geniuses took home $160,000 and 3,000 DPC points, which slots them in at a strong forth place on the season thus far. 

The qualifiers for the ESL One Los Angeles Major begin on Feb. 9, so teams will have roughly two weeks to relax and then prepare for their next challenge.