Team Secret are showing no signs of slowing down as they sweep Gambit Esports 3-0 in the grand finals of ESL One Katowice 2019 on Sunday to take home the trophy and $125,000 in prize money.
Winners of the recently-concluded Chongqing Major, Team Secret were already the heavy favourites to win ESL One Katowice 2019 heading into the tournament. However, with zero incentive to try hard and “everything” to lose if teams started figuring out their strategies, many wondered just how seriously Team Secret were going to take the tournament.
Suffice to say, their 16-1 run, which included ripping off 16 straight wins after dropping their very first game of the tournament, proves that Team Secret came here to win.
Not a single Dota 2 team playing at ESL One Katowice 2019 ever came remotely close to being a serious threat to Team Secret.
Team Secret’s versatile offlaner, Ludwig ‘zai‘ Wåhlberg, who made an impact on every game in all the right ways was rewarded for his efforts and was voted as the Mercedes-Benz MVP of ESL One Katowice 2019.
Is this the Best Iteration of Team Secret Yet?
Team Secret’s lineup at The International 2015 remains famous until today for all the right and wrong reasons.
That lineup, which featured the likes of Artour ‘Arteezy‘ Babaev and Gustav ‘s4‘ Magnusson, at their very primes, is still considered by many as the best collection of talent in Dota 2 history, and they had the results to back that claim up. But, for all their talent, the team just couldn’t mesh when it mattered the most. Due to chemistry issues, among other things, that famous Team Secret lineup went from essentially shoo-ins to making the grand finals that year to going home with a respectable, but low, top 8 finish.
Ever since then, Clement ‘Puppey‘ Ivanov have yet to field a lineup for Team Secret that’s as consistently successful.
This year, he may have done it.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that one member of that famous lineup, zai, is on the current roster. However, unlike then, zai doesn’t come in to a team expected to win TI right away. Instead, he comes in as a perfect fit for a team that just seems to know how to play off of each other, regardless of meta, with another newcomer in Michal ‘Nisha‘ Jankowski serving as their centerpiece.
While we have quite a number of patches to go through first before The International 2019 in August, this iteration of Team Secret looks like they can weather it all out and give Puppey that second TI win that he has chased for so many years.
Can OG Beat Gambit Esports?
OG and Gambit Esports have met 4 times this season, and so far, it’s been pretty lopsided.
After yet another loss suffered at the hands of the CIS-based squad in lower bracket finals of ESL One Katowice 2019, OG have now given up 9 straight wins to Gambit Esports.
This kind of lopsidedness is similar to how OG struggled to beat Virtus.Pro two years ago when they were winning Majors. Albeit, this time around, Major championships aren’t on the line. Instead, OG will have to beat Gambit Esports if they want to start making themselves relevant once again as true title contenders.
OG will have yet another crack at Gambit Esports at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor next month with the Minor championship and a spot at the Major on the line.
We’ll have to wait and see then if the lopsidedness of this matchup will continue.
What’s Next for Ninjas in Pyjamas?
Peter ‘ppd‘ Dager entered the 2018-19 Dota Pro Circuit with arguably a better Dota 2 team than the one he lead to a top-8 finish at The International 2018.
The results, however, show otherwise.
Currently playing under the Ninjas in Pyjamas banner, ppd just can’t seem to figure out the X’s and O’s of his current squad. Although they had a relatively good start this season with a top-4 finish at the Kuala Lumpur Major, they have yet to have anything noteworthy to show for their lineup since. Not to mention, that particular run was largely because of Ivan Borislavov ‘MinD_ContRoL‘ Ivanov, who was absolutely brilliant playing as a stand-in for the team with Neta ‘33‘ Shapira out due to issues with his visa.
Adrian “Fata” Trinks’ return to the middle lane has been lackluster, to say the least, and for all his versatility, Marcus ‘Ace‘ Hoelgaard looks like he just isn’t built to be that type of carry that could take over games. Meanwhile, one of last year’s standout players, 33, hasn’t had that much of an impact this season.
Put simply, Ninjas in Pyjamas look more like a team closer to a disband than a breakthrough. But, then again, the same could’ve been said with last year’s OpTic Gaming squad, and we all know how that turned out.
Either way, unless Ninjas in Pyjamas starts posting relevant results soon, we should expect them to shuffle their roster in the next couple of months.
While it’s a shame that we couldn’t see the likes of Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and Virtus.Pro in Poland, the tournament was entertaining nonetheless. Even if it turned out with Team Secret looking like gods among men as initially expected, we also saw a number of teams step up at the tournament. In particular, Gambit Esports continued to prove that they have nowhere to go but up. Not to mention, OG, are starting to show signs of life.
With the next Minor-Major cycle looming, ESL One Katowice 2019 could be that one tournament where today’s top Tier 2 teams found themselves.
What did you think of ESL One Katowice 2019? Was it a boring affair with Team Secret destroying all competition? Or was it entertaining in spite of Team Secret’s dominance? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.