Team Secret is one of the most popular and successful professional eSports organizations in the world. The globally acknowledged organization was created in 2014 in Turkey, after The International 4 shuffle. The organization employed former players of the Natus Vincere, Fnatic, and Alliance teams. Throughout time the team has been subject to several major lineup changes. But the team captain Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov remained a constant within the team and the organization.
Since its inception, Team Secret has proven that they are one of the most successful brands in the Dota 2 arena, with notable wins over other successful teams all over the world. The organization has divisions in Vainglory, CS:GO, Super Smash Bros. and Street Fighter. The last two disciplines became a staple of the organization as of 2016. Here we will try and focus on the organization’s efforts and successes within the Dota 2 discipline.
Team Secret History
Originally, the team started with players that they recruited from teams like Fnatic, Natus Vincere, and Alliance. They became part of the team after The International 4 in 2014. Although the roster had not been officially completed, Team Secret announced that they would be competing at various tournaments till the end of the year.
In August of 2014, before the official start of their first match of the Star Ladder Star Series Season 10, Team Secret revealed to the world on their team page and confirmed the rumors that Puppey, Kuroky, s4, Fly and BigDaddy would be part of the roster for Dota 2. Officially, BigDaddy, S4, and Fly were still under contract with their previous employers. But soon after Team Secret announced their roster, these players would leave Fnatic for good. In early September 2014, Alliance announced that s4 would be leaving their team and joining Team Secret.
Later on, they announced that Arteezy and Zai were joining the team for the upcoming Dota 2 Asian Championship. The team went on to win several LANs one after another, although they faced disappointing results before that. They quickly become one of the most favorited teams at The International 5. But ultimately, the frenzy didn’t last long, and the team suffered a devastating loss to the established team of Virtus.pro, leaving The International in its early stage.
The overall weak performance at The International 5 saw all members except Puppey leave the team, with Arteezy leaving to go back to Evil Geniuses. Zai did not fully leave the team. But he went inactive and tried to focus on his studies and finishing high school. Shortly afterward,they announced that there would be a new roster that would compete at the upcoming Dota 2 Major. When the team finally revealed the roster, it became obvious that they recruited both old and new talents when EternalEnvy, pieliedie, MiSeRy, and pubstar w33 became a part of the roster.
This revitalized team went on to win several LANs before the Frankfurt Major. Here they were successful and reached the finals, but unfortunately, they were defeated by seasoned veterans OG. After the Frankfurt Major, more disappointing results followed. The turn came when the team took part in the Shanghai Major. There they returned to their previous winning form and managed to reach the grand finals. They had success and defeated Team Liquid to win their first Major.
Soon after their notable win at the Shanghai Major, in order to better prepare for the upcoming Spring and Summer season, in late March the team decided to replace w33 and MiSeRy with Universe and Arteezy, who returned after a short stint with Evil Geniuses. On March 24, it was confirmed that 1437 would be rejoining the team as the coach.
2016 was a progressive year for the team. They decided to expand into other disciplines and recruited an all-female team by the name WeRunThisPlace that would participate in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive games. They managed to win the ladies’ events at the IEM World Championship. In addition, Team Secret also started sponsoring the South Korean Street Fighter professional gamer Lee Chung Gon, who goes by the name Poongko.
After both Team Secret and Evil Geniuses performed poorly and finished last at The Manila Major 2016, on June 9, 2016, they announced that UNiVeRsE would be leaving Team Secret to join Evil Geniuses. BuLba would replace him on the team.
During the open qualifiers for The International 2016, it was revealed that Aui_2000 would be competing as a sub for the team. After the team had finished last at The International 2016, on August 27, they announced they would be making changes to their roster. Team Secret saw coaches Aui_2000 and 1437 leave, along with Bulba, Arteezy, and EternalEnvy. MP replaced them. MidOne and Forev. In November, KheZu would go on to replace Forev.
It was questionable in what form and with what roster Team Secret would return in 2017. When they missed The Boston Major, it was certainly difficult to foresee what would happen at the Kiev Major. Before The Boston Major in 2016, the team was present at every Valve event since their inception after TI4. They were full of determination to return to old glory and to enter the top ranks of Dota 2. Even a Major title was not out of the question for Team Secret. Before they headed for The Kiev Major, the Team Secret roster consisted of:
- Pyo ‘MentalProtector’ Noa
- Yeik Nai ‘MidOne’ Zheng
- Maurice ‘KheZu’ Gutmann
- Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov
- Johan ‘pieliedie’ Åström
At the beginning of May YapzOr replaced pieliedie.
While the team was focusing on regaining their initial momentum that had led them to win several notable tournaments, in February 2016, Evany Chang, the former team manager, accused the team of not paying the roster their fair share of the prize winnings. In October 2016, EternalEnvy would write a blog post where he would detail the instances where the team director and team captain had failed to pay team members on time. It was suggested that they had lied about the payments and endorsements, took a 10 percent cut of all the prize money and didn’t even inform the players about this. Several other players confirmed these allegations, which led to new difficulties within the team.
This show that Team Secret has to overcome several internal struggles to get back on the path of winning, in order to be able to compete on the highest levels of the discipline.