Only a short one today because I just finished watching Team Secret vs Virtus Pro. A battle for the ages, and possibly one of the biggest upsets in TI5 thus far, and I really can’t describe my sheer elation that (spoiler alert) Virtus Pro beat Team Secret, the favourite of the favourites to win TI5, 2-1.
Game one got off to a bad start for VP. Having drafting an unusual Medusa choice for Illidan, one of his best heroes last patch, he remained tragically underfarmed all the way up until the 30 minute gg call by VP. Fng (who will now be known by me as f-god) also drafted an unusual Magnus offlane and Silencer for God in the mid. He needed, however, some recognisable picks in his draft for those who are only familiar with the current meta, and so snagged a support Naga Siren for himself and a Rubick for Lil. Secret, on the other hand, thought that they shouldn’t fix what wasn’t broken, picking a Lina for S4 and a Templar Assassin for Arteezy, whom once again lane swapped to give S4 safelane and Arteezy the mid. Drafting around their two big cores as usual, Puppey took the Earthshaker for himself and gave Kuroky the Tusk while Zai went to the offlane with a stellar performance as Dark Seer. It’s also important to note, I think, that Virtus Pro banned the Bounty Hunter, having seen how it won Secret their close game against iG yesterday, and proceeded to ban him in both other games they played. Clearly VP had done their homework.
F-god then pulled a bit of a cous de gras by picking Lina and Earthshaker first but making Earthshaker the carry and Lina a support. Lina, of course, is very often played as a carry at the moment, and it seems VP also do this a lot, however, fng took her to the offlane with DKPhobos on the Earthshaker and proceeded to “wreck shit,” for lack of a better phrase. Running a 2-1-2 worked incredibly well in their favour as Secret drafted a greedy Enigma for Puppey who took it to the jungle and then a Shadow Shaman for Kuroky who roamed around the map but mainly hung around mid trying to shut down G on the Storm Spirit, another popular hero this meta. While G died 4 times in the match he ended the game with the highest level, beating S4 on the Queen of Pain by 2 levels and the rest of his team by at least 4. It is also always an impressive thing to see Lil play Visage, a hero for whom which he is considered the best in the world. Secret also managed to shut down Illidan on his Silencer safelane, however, his 7 deaths were not enough to stop him from out-farming Arteezy, who had to face DKPhobos and fng alone in lane, something which, in my opinion, directly lead to Secret’s loss of this game. Zai, once more, took Dark Seer to the offlane and, despite ion shell, could not stop the best carry in Eastern Europe from getting all the farm he needed and helping tie up the series 1-1 and forcing it to a final confrontation.
Secret’s nail in their coffin was the fact that, while last game they had banned the Drow as the last ban from Virtus Pro, this time they didn’t and, once again running with the Visage on Lil, F-god support Lina and Storm Spirit on God, Illidan was given the Drow Ranger and, despite a slightly rough early game, he came through in the end, using the insane push of the Drow Ranger to destroy each building with new assaults. It seemed that, for half an hour, Secret couldn’t leave their base. Arteezy took the safelane with Shadow Fiend this time around and, once again, S4 played the Queen of Pain. With DKPhobos playing an Earthshaker Kuroky, on the Rubick, was guaranteed some good spells to steal and finally that left Puppey with the Dazzle who, throughout the match, landed some really clutch Shallow Graves to save his cores. However, in the midgame, when both teams were strongest, it was VP who came out on top, securing 4 Roshans, intimidating Secret more than anything with the first one and, with DKPhobos landing some game-winning Echo Slams, which Kuroky was never in position to steal, he won them the fights that mattered and, ultimately, allowed for VP to get megacreeps. My buttocks were so clenched for all of the second half of this game that they almost welded together, but very well played to both teams. Secret were incredible and, had VP not got the Drow, it might have been completely different.