Post Kiev blog

Secret blog:

Last blog was post ASUS ROG Masters, my first tournament with Secret, back in November I believe.

Alot of things have changed since. I'll try to recap on some things and try to remember the most interesting points.

Things that have happened since the last Blog;
Dotapit, Starladder I-League, Kiev major qualifier & the Kiev major itself. I also finished my Driving license last month and my girlfriend moved in with me 2 months ago which is very exciting. And overall im just very happy and in a good state right now.

I wont go too much into Dotapit and Starladder due to it being relatively long ago compared to the Kiev major qual/tournament. The only thing I'll mention about Dotapit and Starladder is that I wasn't confident in myself and didn't feel like I holding my ground compared to other offlaners. I can recall various games. Games vs EG at Dotapit, I played SK f.example, was not a treat to watch for sure. Anyhow, after Starladder was over, I ended up at the Airport while waiting for my flight and luckily a good friend of mine 'Fly' went to the airport at the same time. So we were just killing time and talked about multiple topics. I also asked some questions about my confidence issues and how it is to play with people that you have looked up to all this time, because you believe that they know everything compared to you. So you may have an idea or want to do something, but someone else says the opposite and you won't even say it, or believe in it. You just blindly listen because youre not trusting yourself enough. Confidence issue. You must believe in your own ability to play, otherwise it is not You playing, but someone will just control your every move and that is bad. Ofc there are team decissions you should and will follow but, you must make your own choices when it does not come to big calls. Youre just a puppet otherwise and will never improve because it is not you playing the game, literally.

Anyhow back ontrack. I had along talk with him and also talked about his past (when he was in Secret and so forth). After our long talk at the airport I just realized something. I could relate to every word he said and it was like an eye-opener to me. All these things combined f.ex that Puppey, my current team and Tal told me, made me who I'm now in Dota. If I compare myself from then to now, I can safely say myself that I feel alot better, that I voice my opinion and try to be as impactful as I possibly can. I know many times I can still do more but I'm certain I will get there. Confidence is a huge point in Dota. It's more of a mental game than people believe. Which means a big thank you to Fly for helping me so much.
At one point before Starladder I actually felt like if I dont get better at some point there's ahigh possibility of me being kicked from the team. It's a horrible feeling and adds pressure ontop of the rest. Luckily now I do not feel this way anymore.

So this is the recap of November till the end of my Starladder trip, and ultimately my journey of improving drastically. I've grown alot since then. I dont know if I' leaving anything out here by accident. But I will continue with the Kiev major qualifier. We bootcamped in Sweden at 'James "2GD" Hardings' place. He prepared a sweet setup with Computers at his house and it was a very enjoyable bootcamp. One of the best bootcamps I ever had. Thanks alot for that @2GDStudio and everyone involved and who was there. We appreciate you guys having us and even taking care of us and cooking for us and just being genuinly awesome.

A little bit about the qualifier;
I knew the EU qualifier will be hard. But that we have what it takes to make it if we just play properly and make sure we have good strategies going into the games.
I was most afraid if Bears prior to the qualifier. Sadly it quickly turned out that they were not what I expected them to be. Alliance did surprise many and myself included, I thought they showed a very strong showing. Anyhow, we had a nearly flawless qualifier (I dont quite have it in my memory if we lost a game or not) but I have a feeling we did lose 1 or 2 games.
The Kiev Major Qualifier was the first tournament where I was fairly happy with myself. It was a good tournament from all of us, but for once I felt like I was at the right place, that I belonged here. It made me feel very relieved and gave me even more confidence. It was the first time I qualified for a major (excluding TI) and you can imagine how happy we were in the heat of the moment during the ending of the last game.

Anyhow enough of the recap. Lets get towards the Kiev Major. The tournament just ended yesterday, and there are some stories that have to be told.

Our prep for the Major. We bootcamped in Munich, about 45 minutes away from where I live so that was very convenient. It was NVIDIA who were kind enough to let us play at their office, they basically gave us a conference room of theirs, with optimal computers setup and it was just a perfect environment. Thanks alot for that Nvidia! Also shoutout to Matthias (he had to be the first one in and the last one out) to open and close the entrances for us.
Our preparation was good and we came up with alot of ideas and strategies.

The Major is a few days away as we arrive in Kiev and make our way to the hotel. We check out the practice room and the hotel and it was very nice. Beautiful hotel, good setup for the practice room. Had some internet issues the first 1 or 2 days but the staff did their best at all times to fix just whatever you asked them to help you with. Groupstage is about a day away and we prepare for our enemy VGJ, ROTK's squad. I had never played them before, they looked very strong at Starladder-I-League but haven't had the best performances since then. Anyhow, can't underestimate anyone. Gameday starts and we end up winning 2 0 over VGJ. We're feeling good, decent start into the groups. We move on to play vs the new DC and proceed to 2 0 them also putting us in a comfortable position at the end of day one. Our next opponent, one of the tournament favoruites. Invictus Gaming. I for one was very excited and looking forward to playing them as it would help us alot to test ourselves vs them and see how it goes. I watch multiple replays the night before and we talk as a team about how we think we should be approaching the games. Once we felt we had a solid idea and we called it a day and went to sleep to get ready for our matchup.

In game 1 IG got some of their comfort heroes (Mid Lina, Xxs on LC) sadly i dont remember the supporting cast in this game. We end up with TA; Lycan and Abaddon as our cores and they proceed to lastpick a Burning Sven. Felt like a very strong pick to me at that moment. They also definitely had a nice plan setup for their Sven as he had a 4stack of ancients ready at the 9 minute mark. Luckily we were able to take some nice scrimishes and pressure their early towers with Pie playing Rhasta and our lineup coming together. Iirc ppy played Bh or Riki. We end up winning game 1 and start to feel pretty good and relaxxed at the moment, 1 game away from being top seed of the groups and beating IG. Small sidenote im not a big fan of the Chinese Sven build consisting of MOM into SNY. Anyhow game 2 starts.
They play some hero combination that I'm personally a huge fan off and called it out in our bootcamp that im fond off it. Treant Phoenix Medusa, any of those 3 combined with each other compliment one another and makes it very hard to play against. Their other 2 heroes are Puck and Venge.
We proceed to pick me Enigma and MP is on Spectre. It wasn't the easiest Blackhole game for Enigma so it did not opt for the greed midas bkb blink build. I went a very frontline/teamfight oriented itembuild. I rushed a midas, into Mek, pipe, finishing my greaves and ultimately buy my bloodstone. You cannot play enigma in that game to do nothing, sit behind your cores and wait for a 5 man Black hole. You must soak up attention, buff your teammates and be a barrier that they are afraid to walk through. Ultimately you holding your black hole and having good positioning will constantly force them to reposition themselves and throw spells etc on you. The game ended up being a very very long and nerve racking game but in the very end we did come out victorious (the reason I like bloodstone is because with this build) you will take the respawn talent, and the bloodstone gives you a great hp that synergizes very well with your low hp before that snd your magic resis from pipe. You can sucessfully suicide in a fight with bloodstone to heal your allies, and instantly respawn with the bloodstone and your talent and be straight back to the fight.

We end up as the first seed and are scheduled to play SG-esport in the playoff stage 3 days later.
Winning the groups and not losing a single game obviously made us all feel very good about ourselves and that we have a good legitimate chance at this major.
We prepare for SG. I watch their replays, we talk about what we think they like and so on. Im hyped to play them and finally its gameday. Hearing the crowd and seeing them is just awesome so I was really looking forward to playing.

We start game one, we feel good, they lastpick an Alchemist but it's alright. Our bans were between OD and I remember mentioning Alch but I didnt think he was going to be that scary and Midone demolished him mid ontop off it all. We feel goof and game and slowly but surely bring the game home and manage to be just one game away from advancing to the round of 8.

Game one is over, game two draft begins.
They seemingly turned on a switch snd swapped their picks from a more passive standpoint into a moreso agressive we want to fight you allgame. I remember they lastpick a Disruptor. For some reason I thought it to myself but wasnt certain if that's what they needed. I did not voice this out in the draft, we were talking about some other support that was also strong, but probably woudln't have done as much as this Disruptor paired with a Dark Seer. Anyhow we end up with not so favoruable matchups for ourself. We have CM Venge safelane vs Riki Dark seer. Roaming Spirit Breaker, offlane Abaddon and a mid Shadow Fiend. My matchup is vs a Lifestealer, and they have a mid Lina. They get ALOT out of their lanes and start to snowball from there. We had two options of how to approach this game. Splitpush, or buy early items and try to fight them headon and just buff our SF with my Abaddon and MP's venge. I do believe fighting them is the right way to go about it. Even if it seems hard. It is incredibly diffucult to splitpush a team that has Riki + Lifestealer and ontop a Disruptor as support. Not to mention Lina and Dark Seer have great Waveclear so lanes will push in constantly. Sadly we didn't make the right moves while they did, over and over. It felt awful, you could feel the game becoming harder and harder and understand that this will be a hell of a hard game. They keep on strangling us, outfarming us and getting kills. Eventually we are forced to tap out of the game and they tie the score and forcing a game 3.

Scary moment, we just lost the first game of the tournament, to the biggest underdog and they played very well. Something had to be done, but it was hard to express what. We are stunned in the moment, bummed and uncertain of what to do.

I have an idea and call for us to be able to just fight them, dont let them push us around, make sure we can match their teamfight and lanes so we get to set the tempo and be incontrol of the game. We go outside to talk about how to continue with the next game and a new idea gets thrown into the pool. Wisp Beastmaster opener, and I instantly like the idea (eventhough it contradicts of what I just said I think we should do). I blame myself for this because I do think it was wrong but I didnt prevent it, i moreso even enforced the idea by saying I like it and yea lets go since I just felt like we needed some positivity and energy flow going. They respond well to our picks by lastpicking SK in the first stage. We end the draft with a Timber pick that I suggest but sadly before that we most likely made the wrong team decission by picking invoker over a more active mid hero that would be able to once again moreso fulfil the idea I mentioned earlier. The game is scary but it's going alright, we are farming, they are farming. Sadly the longer the game goes the harder it feels to play. They have a Storm and Slark dual core. With Undying SK applying early pressure and a Warlock ontop of it all to have more AoE control and heal. We get some good moves going and im starting to feel the energy and start to get stuff going since I hsve the ability to set things up with Roar into sunstrike. Sadly we arent able to capitalize that much this game and their Slark and Storm keep becoming harder to take down. Multiple attempts, they fail. Their SK Epicenters, WL Golem + undying heal + Solar crest are a pain to fight against. I can feel the game slowly slip away and becoming harder but im truly trying my hardest, even with the near perfect execution of a smokegank, into track to break linkens into a blink roar is unsucesfull. Sadly Slark has to many options of how to survive that play. Whether it's him using Q W or R. Multiple plays and teamfights where a 2roar endsup on Slark result in him having 5-10% hp. Whether it's me making the wrong moves, or us fucking up our spells or communication or followup, i do not know. But it felt right to me but we simply couldnt get it done. Their backline was too strong to deal with. We slowly started losing teamfights and it just felt so damn hard. You could feel some frustration and some sadness rising, but we tried to keep our cool and keep on playing the game as we still hve ways of winning. Whether it's an outplay or some cheesy Relocate play onto their Rax with my Necros or with Invokers Forge + alacrity. Or just IO and me while Invoker screws with them at rosh wirh Timber and Bh. Sadly, we did not do that and i did not have the prescence of mind to call for it either. They keep getting kills and winning teamfights, my positivity is slowly being killed and the feeling of defeat is reaching in more and more into my body. We keep trying, but we do not manage to do it. They beat us in our base and we're forced to give up. They outplayed us and we didn't find the right way to deal with them when were put on the spot. I was sad. We were sad, they were celebrating, rightfully so. They deserved every bit of it. It was a rough night. I kept thinking and thinking and being dissapointed. Luckily we found some fans on our way to the Shuttle and they wanted Autographs so that cheered me up abit, and many of them had nice things to say.

SG played way better than many people would have expected them to play. I knew they are good and have potential, but not this good. Even their showing vs EG was impressive.

At the end of the day we must remember we had one bad day, that's all it takes in single elim. You dont get to reform and rethink your loss. But we did not deserve to moveon after that performance. OG endedup winning the Major, again. You must start to understand how impressive and hard it is to achieve, what they have done, again and again. All their players are unique and they help each other to win. Ana has improved alot. I know Fly and Notail are one of the smartest players in the whole world, im sure S4 and Jerax help them also, but overall how they come together and their movement, and knowing when to control what area, makes them what they are. I still think Notails movement is superb compared to most other carries, I've said this in my last blog also.

I personally am happy overall with what we showed we are capable off - apart from our day in the playoffs. Exclude that, but I was happy with myself and my team the rest of the time. During the tournament, during the bootcamp and during the qualifier. I'm excited for what's to come, because I can feel myself and my team growing and getting better with every day that passes.

I hope that you all will have enjoyed this read and that we can show you what we are truly capable off, thank you guys so much for your continous support, whether it's just your thoughts, you telling me in person, or twitter or screaming Secret from the crowd. You guys make me feel appreciated and want to make me constantly improve. Always feel free to find me anywhere at an event. We will see in the near future what's about to come.

Special shoutout to my people at home, my people over at Secret, my Team and a special thanks to Das Bailey.

Hope you enjoyd the read

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