TI9: Team Secret survive near-elimination vs brave Mineski

History almost repeated itself once more on the biggest stage in esports history. Team Secret, the strongest team of the year coming in to TI, survived a precarious ordeal after almost being eliminated by Mineski - an SEA underdog - in arguably one of the greatest series of the year.

A retrospect on both teams

Team Secret were a monster throughout the 2019 DPC season. They were Grand Finalists in three of the five Majors in the season, winning two. They ended the season with a whopping 14,400 DPC points, and entered TI9 as many people's favourites to win.

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Mineski, on the other hand, had a rough season after losing their Major-winning 2018 roster, only able to qualify for two Majors this season and ended 9th-12th at both. The position one player of their team, Nikobaby, only joined the squad eleven days before TI9 SEA qualifiers.


Possibly the greatest series of the year

After dropping to the Lower Bracket with a 2-1 loss against Evil Geniuses, Secret faced a Bo3 elimination match against Mineski, who just advanced fresh off their huge comeback win against Na'Vi.

Game one began with Mineski going for an Alchemist-centered lineup, and Secret went for a surprise Meepo cheese last pick with intentions to shut down the Alchemist. What they had planned backfired however, as the Meepo turned to be a disaster for Secret.

The Meepo gets repeatedly destroyed in seconds every teamfight (credits to Moon and ninjaboogie, who played out of their minds), and Mineski became impossibly out-of-control as they crush Secret on every teamfight and secured Mega Creeps with a 12,000 gold lead.

What should've been a 100% victory for Mineski turned tides however when Secret manages to miraculously kill Moon's Alchemist, who was without buyback. Going on a full leap of faith, Secret abandons their base and immediately runs down mid toward Mineski's throne. In the end, Mineski wasn't able to drive away the outnumbering Meepo and Visage familiars attacking the Ancient, and Secret got away with what could only be described as a miracle win.


Mineski shine in game two

Game two started steamrolling again in Mineski's favor after a very confident-looking Lina last pick, with another insane performance by Moon and ninjaboogie winning Mineski every crucial fights, securing huge advantage for Mineski that slimmed Secret's chances of a comeback the longer the game progresses.

That comeback did happen however, after a tide-turning stun into RP by zai managed to repeat a crucial kill on Mineski's Faceless Void. With a deja vu looking on its way, Secret ran down toward Mineski's base and began to attack its exposed Ancient.


The biggest comeback however, was for Mineski, when Nikobaby's Void pulls off a clutch Chronosphere right after its cooldown ended (was on a 12-second timer when the Ancient began to get attacked) and kill Nisha.

Yet, the biggest Chronosphere for Mineski was actually a stolen one from YapzOr, who used it against Mineski but accidentally trapped MidOne's Storm as well, getting both of Secret's cores dead without buyback. In reverse events, Mineski went straight for Secret's throne and Void destroyed it in spectacular fashion as he placed a Chronosphere over the Ancient to prevent any further resistance.


Secret escape

Game three is when Secret finally shows the missing confidence that is known from them, with Nisha going for a Void pick, the hero that caused their loss in game two. This time, Secret never allowed Mineski to gain a huge lead, and after slight leads bounced between Secret and Mineski, a climatic teamfight victory in the end allowed Secret to finally march down the base in convincing manner and seal their victory after undoubtedly the most frightening series of their current roster's history.

OG vs TNC and a lesson from history

The aforementioned history happened back in TI6, when the EU superteam OG, entering the tournament as clear favorites after winning two out of the three majors of the season, got eliminated by a low profile underdog team from the SEA Region: TNC. The same thing almost repeats itself three years later, and although ultimately Secret survived this premonition, this amazing series is still worthy to go down together with the OG upset as one of the most iconic moments of The International.

Kudos to Mineski for delivering an incredible performance in The International. This series is truly something to be remembered.

Secret, meanwhile, live to fight another day and will play Infamous in lower bracket round three on Friday at 7am BST / 8am CEST.

Pictures: Copyright ESL Adela Sznajder