Today we start a new series of articles dedicated to professional teams and their strategies, drafts, and a lot more. We are going to break down the playstyle of professional teams and use it to help you understand Dota 2 better.
It would be a crime to start this series with any other team than Team Secret. By the time we write the article the international roster has won 14 series in a row. Truly an amazing result. Puppey and company are showing some beautiful Dota and many teams trying hard to adapt their playstyle to be as good as Team Secret.
The draft is what makes Team Secret so good in this patch in the first place. Puppey was always known for picking crazy heroes and then making them work thanks to the ability to swap heroes between lanes in his favor. But this patch suits Puppey’s drafts more than any other. Having so many strong versatile heroes in the patch allows Puppey to outthink his opponents during the draft and give upper hand to his team before the game even begins.
Definitely, a big factor in these drafts takes the roster of the team. Matumbaman is known for playing both mid and carry and used to swap between these roles when he has played with Miracle in a team. The same goes for Nisha, who was swapping roles in his previous teams quite often when he has played with Exotic_Deer, not to mention Nisha has also played in offlane at some point. Zai and Yapzor are even better, as they can play pretty much any hero in Dota 2, as both of them never cared about spamming any specific hero in pubs.
Team Secret is truly a unique team, where any player can play pretty much any hero and go to any lane.
Let's look at Team Secret’s drafts a bit closer.
This is a screenshot of the last game Team Secret has played.
Can you predict looking at this draft who’s going to pick which hero and the lane they will go? Ember Spirit suits for carry, mid, offlane and soft support. Sniper suits for mid and soft support. Weaver suits for carry, offlane, soft support and even mid. Pangolier is very good as both midlaner, soft support or offlaner. Mirana is a known midlaner, but also a known roamer, and can also be played as a carry or offlane.
This screenshot is Puppey in one picture. The draft has it all: team fight, catching, split-pushing, farming, and even decent pushing.
Game 2 and we see a very similar picture, but a little bit different. This time we can actually say that Vengeful Spirit and Witch Doctor are going to be supported by a team, but then we see 3 cores and we have no clue at which lane they are going to stay.
The draft - this is what differs Team Secret from any other team in the tier-1 competitive scene. This is their ‘thing’.
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Give nothing, take everything
In most games, thanks to versatile drafts Team Secret manages to win at least two lanes out of three. It allows them to take any early fights they want.
Team Secret doesn’t like giving towers away, like most teams, I suppose. But the thing about Team Secret, they really don’t like giving towers away.
If you want to take a tower from Puppey’s team you should be ready that they are going to defend it with at least four people… at any stage of the game. They will also try to take down your tier-1 towers at the same time. Thanks to the advantage Team Secret gain during the laning stage they manage to dive deep behind enemy towers, make kills and then destroy towers afterward. Very rarely you can see that their opponents manage to take down more tier-1 towers than they do.
The reasoning behind it is that Puppey understands the advantage of having more map control.
Fast rotations and map control
Once Team Secret gets rid of tier-1 towers, they start to control as much space on the map as possible. They don’t want the enemy team to farm any creeps. Secret likes to make rotation with several heroes to one of the lanes, get a kill there, then immediately rotate to the other side of the map in a small group of heroes. After getting kill once again, they can rotate once more or take an important objective, such as Roshan or Towers. They are always moving on the map, never being static. It makes it very hard to play against them.
Acknowledging the necessity of controlling the map is the first step for any team, who wants to become good, and Team Secret is a perfect example of it. OG started doing it first during their latest The International victory, then other teams adapted and started doing it as well.
What can you learn from Team Secret?
What differs Team Secret from any other tier-1 team in the scene? Their drafts. Having so many versatile players in a team allows Puppey to make absolutely crazy drafts. These drafts are insanely hard to adapt to. Having a better draft often equals having a better laning stage.
Team Secrets movement is absolutely flawless. Once they win lanes and secure themselves several towers they begin to rotate around the map actively and shut down their opponents. By getting total map control they outfarm their opponents and then finish the game without any problems.