3 years ago today: the upset that shook Team Secret

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The International 2015 is most remembered for the sudden rise of CDEC and Evil Geniuses bringing home North America’s first Aegis. But one thing is often overlooked: TI5 also had the biggest flameout we’ve ever seen at a TI. And it happened on this date — Aug. 6 — in 2015.

Team Secret was one of the biggest favorites of TI5. The team featured Artour “Arteezy”Babaev, Gustav “s4” Magnusson, Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg, Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Tahasomi, and Clement”Puppey” Ivanov. All were considered to be at the very top of their respective positions. In the months leading up the event they had won 4 straight LANs, and looked dominant while doing so. The Aegis was all but theirs.

As we all know now, that wasn’t the story that played out, though. The superstar team had a great start to the event, as they finished 2nd in their group, just behind LGD Gaming. However, in the first round of the brackets Secret’s play started looking shaky as they lost 0:2 to Bai “rOtK” Fan’s EHOME. Most fans didn’t think too much about it, though. EHOME was team with a lot of great players and after a narrow victory against Invictus Gaming in the lower bracket it looked like Secret was back on track.

In the next round, they would face off against Virtus.pro. Not an easy game, but VP’s lineup back then was not as feared as the VP we know today. After a quick win in game 1, Secret found themselves in some trouble after losing a close game 2. Just as in their series against iG, they’d have to fight for their lives in the third game of the series.

 

The game started off great for Secret. Zai had been the shining light of the squad and single-handedly won Secret the bottom lane with three kills in the first 5 minutes of the game, triggering Blitz’ classic line: “What kind of monster are you, zai?” Some great play from Sergey “God” Bragin kept VP in the game, though, and 30 minutes in, the game walked a fine line. Secret had a small lead, but then disaster struck.

In two straight fights VP came out well on top, claiming 4 of Secret’s heroes each time. This was the turning point of the game. After the wins, VP was able to snowball into a 16,000 gold lead, an almost insurmountable amount. Team Secret fought valiantly but were not able to mount a comeback. 55 minutes and 24 seconds into the game, Arteezy called the “GG” and one of the biggest upsets of TI history came to pass.

Secret never managed to recover from that loss. Shortly after TI they fully disbanded, as everyone but Puppey went to seek out opportunities in other teams. S4 went back to Alliance, Arteezy and Zai decided to go back to their roots in EG, and Kuroky went on to create his own team: 5Jungz, later Team Liquid.

Secret fans surely look back at this day as a sad one, but in reality it was what Secret needed. After the news of the disband came out, we saw a public airing of their dirty laundry, one that told a story of a fundamentally flawed team. All the players on the team are probably better off now.

S4 went on to become a 2-time major winner and Kuroky started building the team that took home TI7. Arteezy has found his home in EG and has started to become a player to be trusted in the safelane. Zai needed a break from Dota and is now a pillar of OpTic Gaming‘s lineup. Finally, Puppey has manged to rebuild Secret to the point where they’re — once again — competitors for the Aegis.

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