It’s not often you see upsets like the one that happened today in Kyiv, Ukraine, where the lowest seed of the tournament not only pushed the top seed to a game three, but eliminated them altogether.
SG Esports is the South American qualifier team, and they hail from a region not traditionally known for strong Dota performances. Its 0-3 run in the group stage reflected this. The only highlight they managed was a single map taken off OG, and they were seeded dead last out of the 16 teams in attendance. Though Kiev marked the first major where South America would have its own qualifier, it had yet to prove itself in the tournament against Dota’s stronger regions.
Meanwhile, Team Secret, steamrolled their way to the top seed without dropping a single game in the process. When the two met in the main event bracket, it should have been a romp. And in Game 1, it was; in the span of 29 minutes, Team Secret steamrolled SG, with mid player Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng putting up 19 kills and 13 assists.
SG kept composure though, and in Game 2, pushed back with their own mid player Adriano “4dr” Machado, who had 13 kills and 19 assists on Lina. With the help of support Danylo “KINGRD” Nascimento, whose roaming Riki was a constant annoyance for Secret, the underdog pushed it to a rubber match.
In the final game, Machado and Nascimento teamed up for their best play: a single bait in the mid lane, where Nascimento used the “taunt” emote (which makes his character, Undying, moonwalk to music) to lure Secret’s MidOne into a false sense of security before Machado zipped in as Storm Spirit. If you go frame-by-frame, you can see the exact moment where MidOne realized it was a trap:
Off-balance and playing from behind against an opponent they should have been dispatching ease, Secret made sloppy mistakes. After regaining the advantage in game three, Secret pushed up to SG’s high ground. An over-extension from its core heroes ends up costing Secret four of their players, giving Machado a huge influx of stacks for his Bloodstone (an item that gains power as you get kills, but loses power if you die).
In a replay after a Roshan fight, you can see the body language of the two teams: Secret looking out of sorts, frustrated, while SG is clapping and cheering.
SG closed out the match, and eliminated Team Secret from the tournament, securing one of the largest upsets of a top-seed team in Dota 2 history. The team that, just a month ago, was jumping and cheering in its team house to simply make it into the Kiev Major, ended up taking down the greatest giant and proving its mettle in a single match.
SG moves on to play North American team Evil Geniuses in the round-of-eight, and are guaranteed at least $125,000 in prize earnings.