Road To Seattle: Planet Dog and Team Secret

Team Secret’s show of force at the TI7 EU qualifiers was hardly a surprise, what was definitely a shocker, though, was Planet Dog nabbing the other slot to be one of the eighteen participating teams at The International 7.

Authors Of A True Underdog Story

Planet Dog

Image via Power Rangers

  • Uroš ‘Swiftending’ Galić
  • Greg ‘Keyser’ Kallianiotis
  • Neta ’33’ Shapira
  • Milan ‘MiLAN’ Kozomara
  • Alexei ‘j4’ Lipai

I’d call you a liar if you said you’d already known that Planet Dog would end authoring one of the biggest feel-good stories in TI history.

A newly formed team composed of, at best, Tier-3 players, the roster is a true definition of an underdog team; no one would really expect much from them heading into any tournament.

Not especially at the TI7 EU qualifiers. Most had already pegged Team Secret and mousesports as the teams who would go on to represent the region at TI7 along with invitees, Team Liquid and OG. 

Planet Dog even initially looked like they didn’t belong after dropping their first game of the day against Alliance in Day 1 of the TI7 EU Qualifiers. However, the underdogs would soon prove that they weren’t there just to be eliminated as they finished the day on top of the group with a 4-1 record.

Planet Dog would end up finishing phase one with a 6-3 record, which was far from the 8-1 Team Secret posted to secure the first slot but was still enough to give them another chance at the playoffs.

The team certainly did not take their chance for granted as they bested mousesports in the BO5 Grand Finals 3-1 to secure the 2nd TI7 EU Qualifiers Slot.

Dropped from Prodota Gaming

Planet Dog

Prodota Gaming / Twitter

Prior to becoming Planet Dog, four out of the five members of the team were once part of the Prodota Gaming roster.

The UK-based organisation picked up Keyser, MiLAN and j4 from Logic Gaming and 33 from Kaipi earlier this year on April 5. However, their tenure from the team proved to be quite controversial.

In an interview with egamersworld, Alexei ‘j4’ Lipai shed light on what went on during their time with Prodota Gaming and what led to the organisation kicking them out.

Prodota Gaming’s owner would later share his side of the story on the prodota forums.

Controversies aside, all four of them would decide to group up for the upcoming TI7 qualifiers as Planet Dog, picking up MiLAN’s former teammate, Swiftending. 

The rest, as they say, is history.

A Fully Rebuilt European Powerhouse

  • Pyo ‘MP’ No-a
  • Yeik Nai ‘MidOne’ Zheng
  • Maurice ‘KheZu’ Gutmann
  • Yazied ‘Yapzor’ Jaradat
  • Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov

Team Secret have gone from shaking up the status quo and changing how Esports teams were run to TI5 fan-favourites to becoming villains as, arguably, 2016’s most controversial team.

Remaining with the team through that rollercoaster of the past three years has been their long-time captain, TI1 champ, Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov.

Ever since dropping most members of the roster after their disappointing run at TI6, Puppey has been busy picking up the pieces and rebuilding Team Secret. 

Planet Dog

Post-TI6, Team Secret tried a different approach and added three members from the SEA region: MP and Sang-Don ‘FoREv’ Lee of MVP.Phoenix and Fnatic’s breakout carry player, MidOne. However, FoREv would only play with the team for three months, replaced by the German player, KheZu. 

KheZu’s addition to Team Secret would coincide with a LAN title as the team went on to win ROG Masters 2016.

From then on, things started looking better for the team as they would later go on to qualify for The Kiev Major 2017.

Team Secret looked like a team on a mission during the group stages of the tournament, winning every single match-up en route to extending their win streak to 19 games, a run dating back to The Kiev Major qualifiers.

Matched up against SG e-sports in the opening round of the playoffs, who, by then, had only won a single game, many had expected that Team Secret would decimate their opponents.

That certainly looked like the case after a 39-9 Game 1 drubbing extended Team Secret’s win streak to 20 games. However, the Brazilians would end up shocking the world, taking the next two games to eliminate Team Secret from the tournament.

YapzOr Comes Board

Following what has to be one of the biggest upsets in Esports history, Team Secret decided another change was necessary.

The organisation would then part ways with Johan ‘pieliedie’ Åström, who’d been with the team for two years then, with his replacement being YapzOr, a long-time veteran who most recently played for the European team B)ears.

Adding YapzOr seems to have done wonders for Team Secret as the team has slowly improved in recent months, even finishing 3rd-4th at EPICENTER 2017 and 2nd at DOTA Summit 7.

By securing their spot at TI with a nearly flawless 8-1 record at the TI7 EU Qualifiers, Team Secret are now headed to Seattle with a lot of confidence in themselves as a team.

Planet Dog and Team Secret

Planet Dog

Wykrhm Reddy / Twitter

The winners of the TI7 European Qualifiers are polar opposites.

One is a known powerhouse team, captained by a player with one of the most impressive resumes in Dota history. The other is made up of players who’re virtually unknown outside of the European and CIS scene.

For Team Secret, winning TI7 would mean a lot to Puppey as it would make him the first and only two-time TI winner. Both MidOne and MP will surely want to take the aegis as well after falling short in previous years. Meanwhile, KheZu and YapzOr will look to do better this time around after finishing 13th-16th at TI6.

Planet Dog

Currently without a Dota 2 squad, Cloud9 could definitely do worse than pick up Planet Dog’s roster.

For Planet Dog, they’ve certainly exceeded even the loftiest of expectations.  Even if they bowed out of the group stages, they’ve already put themselves on the map by qualifying to TI7. It wouldn’t come off as a surprise if an organisation decided to pick the roster up after TI7, regardless of the results. However, if there’s one thing this team has proven, it’s that you shouldn’t put it past them to make a run when it comes.

Besides, lest we forget, this is TI we’re talking about, a tournament that has seen its fair share of powerhouses crumbling under pressure and underdogs rising to the occasion.

Be sure to follow us here at Esportsranks for more Dota news and for our next “Road to Seattle” feature, where we will be talking about the TI7 South America Qualifier winners, Infamous.