posted by Oak_,
In the last match of the Upper Bracket, Team Secret emerged victorious against Vici Gaming in a very high level display of skill and strategy from both teams. Game 1 featured the crowd favorite Fy Rubick and had to be won with sheer strategy and patience, while Game 2 showcased a volley of bullseye Powershots from w33haa, a 16k networth advantage nearly leveled and a bloodbath of 92 kills.

In what was arguably the best match of the tournament, eu Team Secret had a hard time beating cn Vici Gaming and securing a spot in the Grand Finals. The 2-0 score certainly doesn't do justice to the Chinese squad's performance, as both games lasted over 50 minutes and were undecided until the last five.

Game1: Patience, the Secret to victory

Game 1 kicked off with a slow team Secret taking casualties here and there. ee Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov quickly adapted to the situation, starting to rotate 3-4 heroes at a time to try to stop VG from escalating their early advantage at the cost of leaving cn Xu 'BurNIng' Zhilei alone to free farm on his safe lane.

The Chinese team, on the other hand, did a good job of countering se Johan 'pieliedie' Åström's Bounty Hunter with some well-placed Sentry Wards and probably profited more from the Swede than he did with his early jungle harrassing and a pickoff found on Fy.

As soon as cn Xie 'Super!' Junhao's Alchemist hit level 6, Vici started to show their gameplan, forcing fights everywhere and living up to the pushing power of iceiceice's Jakiro while tanking tower hits with Chemical Rage, and their efforts are clearly successful as they raze all three of Secret's T1 towers before forfeiting even one of their own.

Mid game came and brought with it some flashy cn Xu 'Fy' Linsen Rubick plays, drawing a lot of noise from a very excited crowd and keeping ca Jacky 'EternaLEnVy' Mao's Ember Spirit offline for as long as possible. Play after play, Vici Gaming maintained their dominance over the game, be it in teamfights or single pickoffs, while Puppey kept being killed uncharacteristically much.

Fy taking Puppey down with a stolen Fire Remnant

It was only by being very selective of which fights to pick, trading Roshan for a T1 and even giving away a T2 in the process that Team Secret managed to reset the tempo of the game to a slower farming-roaming situation that better suited their lineup.

The Europeans finally found some space, as the scoreboard came to a 5-minute standstill in terms of hero kills, which allowed Envy and ro Omar 'w33haa' Aliwi to work a bit on their lackluster networth.

This concious effort proved to be a sound strategic decision, as the scales started to swing the way of Secret when the Alchemist started dropping in effectiveness due to his skills' poor late-game scaling, while w33 and EE grew bigger and scarier.

As the experienced team it is, Secret didn't let this get to their heads and kept playing a very disciplined game, entering Roshan's pit for the first time only at the Ancient's third life for a quick and uncontested covert kill.

Secret slowly but steadily snowballed to a point where both their cores were unstoppable killing machines, making short work even of a tanky and farmed Alchemist, which put the weight on Burning's shoulders. However, playing against a very mobile and elusive draft, Burning failed to live up to the Gyro's full dps potential and eventually Super had to call GG.

w33haa: too many crits

Game 2: 92 kills before the verdict

Game 2 starts with a ballsy 4-man smoke behind the enemy top T1 tower from Secret, which results in a 2-0 score for the European squad even before the 0-minute mark. Early game was marked by various rotations from both teams and a one-kill-per-minute average at the 10-minute mark.

Constant pressure was applied on Vici's iceiceice on the Dark Seer, who tried to find farm in his jungle but got set back a few times by dk Rasmus 'rASmus' Fillipsen and Puppey's Vendetta + Ice Blast combos.

Puppey playing early mind games with Fy to prevent him from dewarding

Secret benefited from a very well-played laning phase, with early kills, good overall farm and very little casualties. Unlike during the first map, this time around W33haa played his A game, looking really good on his beloved Windranger, with various spot-on Powershots and Shackleshots, cutting almost every escape attempt within his reach.

w33haa sniping enemies left and right

Secret was able to amass a 17k gold and 23k exp advantage with a score of 38-16 29 minutes in the game, making it seem that it was fairly decided, but oh they were wrong.

Vici Gaming were not intimidated by their opponent's huge lead and kept trying to maintain map vision and attempting smokes, until a high ground attempt from Secret went the Chinese way after an unfortunate initiation by Misery and a huge Vacuum-Wall from sg Daryl Koh 'iceiceice' Pei Xiang.

The morale boost made them keep up their plays, and a couple of minutes afterwards a 4-man smoke plus a flanking Burning found Puppey alone in the jungle and resulted in three more kills the way of VG.

VG coming back from a 17k gold disadvantage

That comeback feel went on for another few minutes and kills. However, when the Jacky curse was looking the most real, EE himself pulled a stroke of genious, sneakily stealing a nearly-dead Roshan while VG were distracted around the pit. Filled up by the cheese and with an extra life in his pocket, he went for the yolo play, trading the Aegis for two kills in a 1v3 fight and helping Secret back into their game.

However, the deciding moment only came ten minutes after that. In a 10-man brawl, Secret managed to trade a full teamwipe for one buyback on EternalEnvy, leaving VG with a single buyback on iceiceice. Right after that, Puppey's squad charged straight to the T4s, forcing Burning to call GG and forfeit the series.


Given both teams' overall performance in the tournament, this could very well be a preview of the grand finals. However, Vici Gaming still has to face the winner of eu Team Liquid vs cn EHOME before they are given the chance of a rematch against Secret.

  • Oak_


    Francisco "Oak" Carvalho
    • Contact:
    • Location:
      Recife, Brazil