Team Secret and PSG.LGD Secure Top 3 at TI10 in Awe Inspiring Fashion
The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for Dota 2 fans, as the largest tournament of the Dota 2 pro season, The International, concluded its group stages and moved into the main event on Tuesday. Fans have been following their favorite teams to see how different teams and regions stack up in global competition, searching for 2021’s best Dota 2 team and the continuance of a tradition that celebrates over a decade of professional Dota 2 competition.
With the top 8 teams of Dota 2’s TI10 now determined, fans watched with bated breath to see which teams would be able to move onto the upper bracket final of TI10 and secure top 3 for themselves at the $40 million-plus tournament. After day 3, we finally have two teams ready for competition in the upper bracket final. But how did they get there?
Team Secret – Guaranteed Top 3 at TI10
Team Secret’s game against Invictus Gaming felt incredibly close, especially since IG was favored to win the late game. Both games managed to go past the 25 to 30-minute mark.
However, Team Secret’s draft was multi-pronged, focusing on achieving multiple objectives to guarantee victory. Indeed, both Puppey and Heen should be proud of how multi-faced their drafts are.
From the beginning of their drafts, Secret focused on achieving the following goals:
- Draft lineups that could win teamfights early and halt progression on enemy core heroes.
- Draft a hero that would enable Nisha to fight early and snowball off of kills.
- Create a lineup that could adequately define the front line and back line of fights, allowing Secret to divide Invictus Gaming up, undermining the line of scrimmage.
Invictus Gaming was well aware of Secret’s goals but would still fall victim to Secret’s drafts and in-game plays.
During game 1, Zai on the Vengeful Spirit was instrumental in initiating team fights and eliminating heroes that could help Invictus Gaming shift the momentum during team fights. This allowed Team Secret to fully invest their abilities to secure kills then secure objectives, such as towers or killing Roshan.
Team Secret’s draft in game 1 would also enable MATUMBAMAN to roam early, joining fights and making use of the Monkey King ultimate to dissuade Invictus Gaming from responding to Zai’s initiation and effectively splitting Invictus Gaming during teamfights.
Game 2 was slightly more even, as IG would draft a late-game-oriented lineup with heroes like Spectre, Kunkka, and Elder Titan. Emo and Flyfly were incredibly tanky on their heroes, but this wouldn’t persuade Team Secret from avoiding fights against them the further the game went. YapzoR’s Aghanim’s Shard pick-up would help Secret set up solid picks during the late game, as Invictus Gaming would purchase BKBs super late in an attempt to hold out and ensure they could get full BKB durations in the late game. Yapzor would undermine this plan by using Windranger’s Gale Force to help isolate heroes and set up Zai for good Earthshaker eliminations. Eventually, Team Secret would win both series 2-0 and secure their spot in the top 3 of TI10.
PSG.LGD – Guaranteed Top 3 at TI10
PSG.LGD’s games against the baby bears of Virtus.pro showed why they’re the clear favorites to win TI10. PSG.LGD would draft heroes that hadn’t made many appearances at TI10 with the support Visage and offlane Necrophos. The PSG.LGD lineup ensured disruption for Virtus.pro’s tempo-based heroes, making sure to interrupt the farm and progression of VP’s cores during the laning stage, such as gpk’s Ember Spirit and DM’s Dark Seer.
Game 1 saw a relatively even match between PSG.LGD and Virtus.pro, but Ame would show why he should be considered one of the best carries in Dota 2 with insane farm and reactive item building. Nightfall’s Bristleback looked to overwhelm PSG.LGD’s lineup by simultaneously providing a bulky hero to run into PSG.LGD and burst down fragile heroes such as Ame’s Luna. Both Ame and NothingToSay would build Silver Edges to disable Bristleback’s passive, making it easier for PSG.LGD to focus down Bristleback and eliminate their most consistent source of damage.
Shutting down gpk was also a secondary goal for PSG.LGD in the first game, which they would do in the laning stage and during teamfights, as XinQ would use Dawnbreaker’s ult to respond to initiations from Virtus.pro’s gpk and DM, disrupting the teamfight and providing sustain that allowed PSG.LGD to outlast Virtus.pro heroes and secure kills.
Game 2 also saw a sustain-heavy lineup meant to keep PSG.LGD’s Monkey King and Kunkka alive during team fights utilizing strong heals and sustaining heroes such as Necrophos, Winter Wyvern, and Oracle. The healing trio would keep each other and their other cores alive during team fights, ensuring that the initial burst of Nightfall’s Tiny and DM’s Darkseer could be healed to take advantage of the long cooldown on Darkseer’s Wall of Replica.
Predictions for the Final Team to Make it to Top 3
With the next day of TI10 focusing entirely on the lower bracket, we won’t know who will be the last team to join the top 3 at TI10 until the lower bracket final. OG remains the likely favorite to win TI10 from the lower bracket, but they face stiff competition in the form of CIS, having to face both Team Spirit and Virtus.pro to make round 5 of the lower bracket. As OG has been relatively inactive throughout 2021 and was likely preparing to make a run through the upper bracket, facing the tournament’s strongest teams, they may not have anything prepared in terms of drafts for the CIS teams. However, OG’s strength comes from committing to their style of playing Dota, and they typically don’t worry about what other teams draft and play against them. This indifference and a relaxed approach are what makes OG so fearsome at The International, as they can surprise you at any point of the game, even if you think you’re dictating the game’s pacing.
Both Vici Gaming and Invictus Gaming occupy the lower bracket. With China being one of the strongest regions in Dota 2, teams could make a significant comeback in the lower bracket finals. It’s unlikely that Vici Gaming will be the Chinese team to accomplish this. Still, their recent comeback in their third game against Evil Geniuses showed they’re able to bounce back and execute when their play has been shoddy, especially when players like old eLeVeN and Ori seem to make multiple mistakes in-game.
Hopefully, the lower bracket results in some exciting and entertaining games as teams work their way up to the grand finals and the chance to be immortalized in Dota 2 history.