Team Secret Preview: ESL One Manila

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Team Secret Preview: ESL One Manila

Team Secret originated when some of the best players from Na’Vi, Fnatic and Alliance were picked off in the post-TI 4 shuffle in August 2014.

The team quickly turned into a powerhouse, but better things were to come as immediately after winning two consecutive tournaments before Christmas of that year, Santa brought a seemingly better present as they added another layer of gold with the arrival of Arteezy and zai in early January 2015.

Having won four tournaments out of seven, Team Secret were in imperious form before The International 5. On the big stage, however, their dreams were reduced to dust and the team disbanded almost completely.

However, Puppey managed to build another solid roster, signing pieliedie, w33, MiSeRy and EternalEnVy. With that roster, the team saw many ups and downs, but managed to win the Shanghai Major in March 2016.

Following a disappointing performance in Dota Pit League two weeks later, Arteezy returned to the team for a second spell, this time bringing his former EG teammate and one of the best offlaners around, UNiVeRsE, with him.



Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao – position 1
Artour “Arteezy” Babaev – position 2
Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora – position 3
Clement “Puppey” Ivanov – position 4
Johan “pieliedie” Åström – position 5

Theeban “1437” Siva – Coach/Sub
Nikolay “distilled” Prokhorenko – Sub


Win rate

March – 80% (4 wins, 1 loss)

Patch 6.86 – 52.9% (27 wins, 24 losses)


2016 achievements

Star Ladder Star Series Season 13 & i-League Season 4 – 5-6th

MarsTV Dota 2 League Winter 2015 – 7-8th

The Shanghai Major 2016 – 1st

Dota Pit League Season 4 – 5-8th


Top 5 most picked heroes (patch 6.86)



Hero Pick % Times Picked
Invoker 47.1 24
Vengeful Spirit 39.2 20
Dazzle 35.3 18
Earth Spirit 33.3 17
Lion 31.4 16


Top 5 most banned heroes (patch 6.86)



Hero Pick % Times Banned
Chen 78.4 40
Earth Spirit 49.0 25
Gyrocopter 43.1 22
Io 41.2 21
Invoker 35.3 18


The new signings raise many questions, but looking at the team’s unstable performances in the period between the two Majors (Frankfurt last November where they finished second and Shanghai last month which they won), a change seemed necessary to suit the high ambition of the team.

Re-signing Arteezy instead of w33 was seen as a controversial move though – not only did the Canadian have problems with his teammates in his first spell with Team Secret, but Secret relied heavily on w33’s play-making ability with heroes like Windranger and Invoker, with whom he could play without requiring much attention from his teammates. Arteezy’s style is very different and focuses on heavy farming. In addition, the top picked hero for the team in 6.86 has been the Invoker, a hero that w33 could handle pretty well, while he has not even been played once by Arteezy in the current patch.

With their previous line-up, Team Secret often employed the four-protect-one strategy, where EnVy usually got heroes (Carries such as Spectre, Ember and Slark) who needed significant space in order to farm in the late game. Two heavily farming players hardly seems like a successful strategy.

The team will need to reconsider their tactics in-depth given the major changes that the roster has had. A month may be enough time for preparation given the class of the players, but the jury is still out on this.

Team Secret have acquired some of the most talented individual players in the scene right now – the captain Puppey is undoubtedly one of the best drafters and captains in the game, whose deep knowledge and experience can help him outwit anyone. His picks are rarely wrong and he often puts faith in heroes that his teammates can play, as well as using practiced strategies rather than experimenting.

The other Support in the team, pieliedie, was one of the main reasons for the team’s success in Shanghai with his almost faultless and resourceful Lion play. Arteezy’s individual skill can be matched by few, while EternalEnVy can hardly be controlled if he gets a hold on his signature heroes.

Team Secret’s talent, skills and experience are evident and this will certainly allow them to beat the lower tier teams effortlessly. The question is whether they can develop a strong chemistry and playstyle rather than rely on their individual skills to outwit the big guns.  As Team Secret’s history shows, smothering their egos will play a big part in the process.


Dafabet will be providing competitive odds on ESL One Manila.