have been on a high as of late, winning every single Dota 2 tournament they have entered for the last four months. Led by their mastermind of a captain, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
, they have ascended to the top of the rankings and would probably be the favorites to win TI if it was happening this year.
Let's break down how Team Secret drafts in a way that leaves their opponents’ heads turning.
Describing the pool of heroes that Team Secret can pick from would be a disservice to the versatility each player contributes to the team.
Drafting against Team Secret requires understanding that each Secret player doesn't have a pool of heroes they play, it's more like an ocean. They put heroes in lanes they don't usually belong to. To explore this, let's analyze Team Secret’s drafts in a recent match, a best-of-three against Nigma
in the BLAST Bounty Hunt
Take a look at these drafts between Nigma and Team Secret from games one and two. In particular, let's focus on the Void Spirit picks. If I were to ask you right now what position the Void Spirit was played in, you would probably say mid or maybe even offlane. However, the first game was a roaming position 4 Void Spirit played by Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat
, and the second was played by Michal “Nisha” Jankowski
in the mid lane as it is typically played. YapZor had a stat line of 8/2/25 (K/D/A). This is an incredibly efficient stat line and was probably because Nigma continued the draft under the assumption that Void Spirit was going to be played mid.
Another example occurs in the very same series where Puppey first picks the Enchantress in both games one and two. In game one, he plays it in its typical position as a hard support. In game 2, he picks in the exact same spot, implying it would be played as a hard support again, Instead, Puppey puts the Enchantress on Ludwig “Zai” Aghren
in the offlane role and last picking the Ancient Apparition as a surprise to Nigma.
I would go so far as to argue that this drafting surprise won them the game as Nigma were completely unprepared for the aggressive trilane that Team Secret ran with Luna, Earthshaker, and Ancient Apparition.
Another important part of Secret’s success seems to be the ability to put Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
in a comfortable position for him to farm. While this seems like the foundation for any carry player to succeed, Puppey commonly maneuvers the draft by picking MATUMBAMAN's hero earlier in the draft in order to see how to set up lanes to get him more comfortable.
Revealing the lane carry is less important compared to the supports that are laning with said carry at the time. In the draft for game three, Team Secret picka the Luna second, knowing that the Ancient Apparition, Luna, and Earthshaker trilane would give MATUMBAMAN the most comfortable place to farm while being able to push their aggressive playstyle to its limits.
More often than not, Zai is the player that gets sacked in the tougher lane and has to play 1 vs. 2 against the enemy safe lane. Most teams aren't willing to run an aggressive trilane currently, but Team Secret have used it as a way to make sure that their carry gets farmed while having the ability to pressure the enemy laners.
Puppey’s high-level drafting and experience as a leader are pushed to their extremes when he is able to have the versatile weapons that Team Secret have. He is able to fully take advantage of the aggressive playstyle and versatility of players like Zai, Yapzor, Nisha and Matumbaman to create a dominant team that has placed their flag at the top of the mountain, and it doesn't seem like they are coming down anytime soon.