How a supposed battle of juggernauts turned into a schoolyard beatdown.
Fans of Dota 2 esports may be reeling from the absence of this year's International, but if anything is a saving grace in this tumultuous time, it's WePlay's OMEGA League EU Immortal Division. Take your pick from the abundance of high-quality moments of entertainment from the tournament. Whether it's the toga-cladded talent in the ancient Greek themed set pulling off some of the most unique and hilarious shenanigans in any esport, the impressive and widely unmatched production, the always incredible gameplay from some of the best European Dota teams in the world, or even some of the intense rivalries brewing as the bracket moves towards the playoffs.
OMEGA is delivering, and before the tournament started, one of the most hyped up matches towards the end of the group stage was Team Secret vs OG, the most dominant team in the scene at the moment versus the two-time TI champions. All the signs pointed to this being a baller match, it'd be another chance for Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng to beat his former team, Sébastien "Ceb" Debs has had more time to reintegrate back into the roster, and all things considered, the team had looked better than ever this year, at least in their most recent matches. A big spotlight on the game, as it was the marquee matchup of the group stage.
The game-ending up being anything but hype unless, of course, you were a fan of Secret. It was a massacre, and from game one alone, it was the little mistakes from OG in the laning stage that kept snowballing into a bigger and bigger advantage for Team Secret, enough for them to completely chokehold OG into bowing out only 23 minutes into the game. Every lane was lost, from the Dark Seer vs Anti-Mage side lane, to the key rotations from the members of Secret to secure the mid and top lanes. Everything started going south for OG, and by 15 minutes Team Secret was running around incredulously through the Dire jungle, farming OG instead of the creeps. There was no chance for flower-powered team past this point, and no one, not the players or the viewers, could find any enjoyment in such a bloodbath.
Game 2 was probably an even worse story if that can be believed. If OG’s Huskar pick in game 1 was curious, drafting it again in game two was trolling themselves and the audience. This time around, the Huskar stood no chance against the Bloodseeker/Rubick top lane, the Invoker into Windrunner went unfavourably as expected, and soon enough, OG couldn’t stop the bleeding, and the game suddenly looked all too familiar to game 1. To make matters worse, the Lifestealer was able to completely ignore any and all spells from the side of OG, who drafted a very heavy magical damage lineup. There was essentially nothing OG could do once again, and it all came crashing down right around the 15-minute mark
The play from Secret's players have to be commended, and the performance was clinical. Yazied "YapzOr" Jaradat put on a masterclass Rubick performance in game two, putting down incredibly heavy harassment in the laning stage to get early kills on to the Huskar, which gave him very early levels to begin stealing crucial spells from Martin "Saksa" Sazdov's Grimstroke, turning OG's draft against themselves. Most notably, it was the debut of the offlane Bloodseeker from Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg in both games that made it an absolute nightmare to participate in teamfights. As caster Owen "ODPixel" Davies put it, "this is more than a stomp".
Obviously, this was a beat down of epic proportions, and nothing went OG's way outside of the 12 kills they got in both series. None of Secret's other games were this one-sided and while it was blatantly a murderous series, and as many memes were posted on Twitter it does ultimately mean little compared to the rest of the OMEGA League tournament. Both teams secured their placements in the upper bracket, and the series was only for bragging rights. A severe strategic outplay like this could be enough to convince many that OG are just incapable of keeping pace with the best, but the tournament isn't over, and there are still games to play. For OG fans, take this loss on the cheek and bear it, and don't get too affected by all the smack talk coming in from Twitter. For Secret fans, keep supporting this incredible team and their insanely strong performances.
The way Team Secret play Dota, it's unlike any other team in the world right now. Every member is probably the best in their role at the moment, and there's nothing like watching the pieces all fit together so perfectly. Their individual skill, team play, and overall strategic uniqueness are mostly unmatched. Hopefully, down the line, these two teams can match up again in a bracket with stakes, so we can actually see this fabled fight of titans.
All images courtesy of Valve | Stratz.com