Team Secret are, undeniably, an incredible Dota 2 team. Comprised of storied captain Puppey, pubstar-turned-pro-mid-turned-best-carry-in-the-world Arteezy, TI3 MVP S4 and long-time Na’Vi support Kuroky and their youngest player Zai, previously having shaped Evil Geniuses as they rose to dominate American Dota 2. For the last few months they have held the top spot on GosuGamers.com and are ranked as the best team in the world by almost every source. It is not surprising then that perhaps 50% of the Dota 2 community think that this year Team Secret will win TI5. Who can blame them?
As SirActionSlacks put it in his recent TIDL video “there is no weak link in Team Secret,” and I can’t help but agree. I have seen games where they lose every lane but, because of their teamwork and coordination, as well as the faith they have in their teammates, they come back and win it all. Puppey’s innovative, experimental and, in my opinion, incredibly risky drafting style suits Team Secret well as every played knows what they have to do and when to win the game. This is why I find them incredibly boring to watch.
I think that Team Secret is most interesting to watch when they are on the backfoot. When they are pressed up against the wall by a fearsome opponent they suddenly have to rethink their strategy and work with what they have to hand rather than what they might have ten minutes from now. It also doesn’t help that they often draft a “Techies,” the most boring hero in Dota 2 and one which, I hope, we won’t see too much of in TI5. If teams have to ban it then I would prefer that then Secret giving Techies the offlane and allowing him to disrupt the entire game.
I should clarify here that I don’t dislike Team Secret. I do dislike Techies but that’s something different entirely. Team Secret are amazing to watch if you support them, but you have to remember that any team going up against Secret is considered the underdog, and it’s far more fun to see them win that it is to see Secret cut through everyone. I also think that, while Team Secret often draft things that you don’t usually see in competitive Dota 2, the way they play is extremely polished and perfected. If Puppey decides to draft something that hasn’t been seen in a competition thus far, even if it’s the finals, I’m willing to bet that they have practiced it ad nauseum beforehand so that, when they step out into the arena, they know that everything will run smoothly.
I think Team Secret have a good chance of winning TI5, but it would be boring if they did and I think that the practice teams have been getting while not playing in tournaments gives them more of a chance to beat Secret. When a team faces them they know that any mistakes will be punished because Secret have looked at their draft, looked at their players and know how the game will pan out. Since all teams will have tweaked their styles over the last month there is a chance that Team Secret will be caught off guard. However, more likely is that they will at least get a top 3 result, and I think that, if they don’t, the team will disband, not because they have disappointed their fans or anything else, but more because that this team was made, it seems, specifically to win The International. 2 previous winners, a finalist and 2 semi-finalists, they have experience, drive and, most importantly, skill aplenty. But is it enough to win it all?