The captain of Team Secret is now undisputed as the most consistent TI attendee among pro Dota 2 players.
Clement “Puppey” Ivanov has become the only player to make it to all 11 iterations of The International as a contender. This happened when Team Secret became the nineteenth team to qualify for this year’s The International 11 after defeating Virtus.pro 2-0 in the Upper Bracket Final of the Last Chance Qualifier.
The first game of the Bo3 series was challenging for Puppey and his teammates as they had to orchestrate a very difficult comeback. However, soon after that, they smashed Virtus.pro in the second match to close out the series. This resulted in them securing their place in the Group Stage of TI11. Following this victory, Puppey has become the only person to have competed in all editions of TI, beating out Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi who got knocked out of the running during the Regional Qualifiers.
Puppey has since Tweeted about both his and his team’s triumph in a cryptic, short message simply saying, “The International”.
— Clement Ivanov (@CLEMENTINATOR) October 12, 2022
Highlights of Team Secret vs Virtus.Pro
The first game against Virtus.Pro was a narrow escape as Team Secret heavily depended on Carry Sniper Remco “Crystallis” Arets. By the time mid-game rolled around, Virtus.Pro was ahead in the game with a 12k gold lead, but they couldn’t find an opening to go highground as Crystallis secured the base with his long-ranged attacks.
This back-and-forth kept going until Team Secret won the team fight that decided the fate of the match. They overpowered VP, took Roshan, and proceeded to finish the game in the 45th minute.
By comparison, the second game was a walk in the park for Secret as they overshadowed their CIS opponents from the very beginning of the match. After securing an early game advantage, the team kicked back and farmed without initiating major teamfights to allow their cores to build items. After that, they timed their attacks strategically and kept pushing VP back.
Despite having Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev on Luna, VP missed key objectives and couldn’t get Roshan which resulted in the farm-intensive Carry Hero being unable to itemize as necessary. It wasn’t long before the TI stalwarts realized the full gravity of their situation and ended up surrendering after just 28 minutes.
With TI qualification finally secured, Team Secret will battle in TI11’s Group B in Singapore starting October 15.
Puppey’s Dota 2 Career
Puppey was initially with Natus Vincere at the very first TI. The Ukrainian organization won that edition of the tournament, and Puppey went on to qualify for the next three annual competitions with the same outfit. His team finished as runner-up in 2012 and 2013, but the end of the Na’ Vi era began with their 7th-8th finish at TI4.
Before TI5, Puppey founded Team Secret alongside Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, Tal “Fly” Aizik, and Gustav “s4” Magnusson. That particular lineup came into the scene strong, but failed to perform at TI.
Puppey’s greatest triumph since the original TI came in early 2016 when he led a revitalized Secret squad to victory at the Shanghai Major. Since then, the Estonian has won many Majors, but failed to win TI despite trying to with many different rosters. His team finished 13-16th at TI6, 9th-12th at TI7, 5-6th at TI8, 4th at TI9 and 3rd at TI10. For anyone wondering, if this progression continues, he should mathematically win TI12.
It must be noted, however, that during Team Secret’s most dominant period came in 2020 while the Covid-19 pandemic caused all LAN events to be canceled. Given the kind of form they were in, it is entirely possible that they would have won the 10th iteration of TI had the tournament taken place when it was originally supposed to be.
The Estonian is also one of a rare breed of long-term players who have stuck to the same role throughout their careers, having always played support roles. That being said, his Hero pool is near-limitless, and his years of experience playing the game makes him a formidable leader.
Throughout his career, Puppey has played in the Grand Finals of three International tournaments, and belongs to another elite club of players who have lost two two TI finals. The Team Secret captain thus has had a graceful, decorated career that has few peers in the Dota 2 scene, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest esports players.
Stay tuned to ESTNN as we bring you more coverage of The International 11, plus Dota 2 betting tips, game guides and news.