This article is sponsored by DJ Esports.
Team Secret’s Dota 2 squad has been active for seven years in various forms. But none of those iterations have been able to lift the Aegis of Champions at The International.
Following their fourth-place exit at TI9, which was the organization’s highest placement at the event yet, Secret still decided to make some significant changes. They made room for team captain and TI1 winner Puppey to recruit TI7 winner MATUMBAMAN and his longtime coach with Team Liquid, Heen.
After those moves, Secret went on a rampage through Europe and global competitions, at one point winning eight straight events and setting a record for the longest win streak in the history of competitive Dota 2. Over the span of 296 games, their win rate is an astounding 73 percent. And yet, the real test was still ahead of them at TI10.
DJ Esports’ analytics show that Secret’s power ranking places them as the fourth-best team in the world. And while their stats may not be the most impressive on paper, they’ve been on fire throughout the tournament.
This success comes from a mix of being able to play at multiple tempos, having flexible players who can fit multiple roles, and excellent teamfighting awareness that spans the entire roster. Whether they focus on objectives or try to dominate the game early, Secret can win against anyone if they’re playing at full power.
Comparing their performance from their last 40 games to just the 10 most recent they’ve played, you can see many of their stat averages declining while their win rate continues to rise. This is largely thanks to Secret not needing to play a specific style to see success.
Thus far, at TI10, they’ve been able to get their lineups online much earlier than usual, averaging an uptick in performance around the 10-minute mark. At this stage, depending on the opponent, Secret can start making big moves or actively hunting for objectives.
Another strength for Secret is the incredible depth and versatility in their hero pool.
As a team of mostly veteran players, they can flex into multiple heroes, roles, and styles of play. Secret can use any lineup they feel works, and with Puppey at the helm, you can bet on the team’s drafts countering their opponents in some key areas that will impact the game on a large scale.
Throughout their run at TI10, Secret have already selected more than 60 different heroes and still managed to make a run into the top three through the upper bracket. This makes them almost impossible to shut down and gives Puppey’s team the clear advantage while banning and picking heroes.
Nisha is one of the keys for Secret in any matchup. He’s one of the youngest professional players to anchor a team ranked in the top 10 globally.
Nisha and his captain Puppey both have perfect hero pool scores of 20/20, according to DJ Esports. This means that both can play multiple styles and effectively use a number of heroes to support their team.
With a DJ Esports score of 18 in the roaming support, 19 in his capability of turning situations around, and a perfect 20 in creativity, Nisha is more than just dangerous—he’s a deadly multitool.
You can expect anyone on Secret to mold their playstyles to fit whatever is best for the team in any given matchup. Each player can cover for each other’s weaknesses, whether it’s through the raw talent of someone like Nisha, the versatility in support roles for YapzOr, or Puppey’s decade-plus of Dota experience.
Secret have shown how good they can be when they put all of their best qualities together, reaching the upper bracket finals and securing a top-three finish at TI10—the highest placing in team history. At their current level of play, they’re nearly unmatched and have a solid chance to finally bring home the Aegis.
For more odds on this match and any other games featured at The International 10, you can view them on DJ Esports.