With a crushing defeat dealt to the North American powerhouse EG, Team Liquid advances out of the loser’s bracket to go against Team Secret. The real excitement for a lot of fans is to see former Secret and Na’Vi teammates, Kuroky of Liquid and Puppey of Secret face each other in the Shanghai Major Grand Final. To further add tension, FATA- of Team Liquid also faces former teammates Pieliedie, Misery, and Eternal Envy.
One million dollars is on the line and Team Liquid was an underdog going into the Majors, with a majority of the Dota community originally predicting the top teams to be EG, EHOME, or OG. Of course this entire major has been nothing short of a surprise with teams like MVP Phoenix eliminating EHOME, and all 5 Chinese teams being eliminated by the end of semifinals from their home scene.
Game 1 of the Grand Final was a frustrating game for Liquid's Captain, Kuroky as he constantly got picked off from in multiple heroes, hugely delaying his Witch Doctor's level 6 that lost them several team fights.
It seemed that no matter where Kuroky went, Secret was able to keep track of his Witch Doctor which resulted in death after death and severely hindered his hero. 14 Minutes in and Kuroky still had not reached level 6 yet.
Trailing behind with a 9-31 kill deficit, Liquid held on desperately winning a much needed team fight against Secret, but with the large 15K gold and experience lead, Liquid falls to a disappointing game 1.
The initial drafting of Game 2 seemed to favor Secret as Liquid spent 3 bans on Puppey’s trademark Chen, Enigma, and Enchantress. Interestingly enough both teams allowed their safe lanes to have complete free farm and favoring the jungle farm and rotations to push. Secret begins with a rough early game as Liquid’s Oracle kited Ursa and secured several early kills.
Liquid opted for an aggressive push strategy as their line up utilized Lycan, Beastmaster, and Invoker to to aggressively secure map control. Secret pulled out a desperate smoke gank but it is immediately wasted from Jerax’s illusion at 14:00, which resulted in a bad engagement into the Roshan Pit. To add to the chaos, MinD_Control's Beastmaster makes a devastating play to Secret's top lane as he pushes the top lane to secure a kill against Puppey and Pieliedie. Eternal Envy’s Ursa tries to secure a desperate Aegis only to lose it shortly after.
Being behind already, Mind Control further secures a courier snipe at 18 minutes and further delays Envy’s Blink Dagger.
Things seemed to look up for Secret as they were able to win 2 big team fights in the midlane but lose much of the momentum in a third engagement after Secret had secured Roshan.
With Liquid being immensely mobile and a highly aggressive push, Game 2 goes to Liquid after an intense 50 Minute back and forth match.
Game became a very awkward start as Liquid starts a mid lane creep pull, only to have Secret rotate into their jungle to secure first blood against Kuroky. Shortly after Liquid also loses their courier, and immediately gives Secret a start advantage. Multiple aggressive pushes on the bottom lane causes some intense engagements midlane that almost causes Kuroky to die again.
To shake things up Puppey switched from his traditional support role to an offlane Doom and Misery playing an extremely mobile Nature's Prophet. The rotation proved in their favor as the roaming Nature's Prophet forced Liquid to constantly deal with the surprise gank duo of Doom and Disruptor.
The real star of the game was w33's Invoker, what seemed to be spell after spell being thrown out made every single one of Liquid's heroes seem completely useless and unable to deal with him. Invoker's most devastating spell was Ice Wall as it completely slowed Liquid's heroes from being able to chase or run away as Team Secret kited them away. Secret takes Game 3 in a very convincing manner.
Liquid began Game 4 with greedy line-up which would require a early aggression and constant roaming to secure an early lead. Liquid ended up losing a questionable first blood as Kuroky showed up with his Dazzle but failed what most would consider an easy Shallow Grave.
To add to the pressure, Eternal Envy played a heavy farm oriented aggressive Slark that constantly roamed the map and kept Liquid from farming. The heavy rotations further delayed their Tusk's level 6 and the score stood a meek 0-5 10 minutes in.
Any attempt to lock down Slark became useless as his heavy roaming and shadow blade and dark pact purged all lockdowns the Liquid threw at him. At the 16 minute mark, Team Secret had a 10K lead that led to another demoralizing team fight that gave Secret a 1-13 lead.
In a game that many felt was reminiscent of the final match of TI4, Secret methodically took apart Liquid in a very underwhelming Game 4, crowning Team Secret as the Grand Champions of the Shanghai Major.
The only thing that may seemed a little more painful to watch was the cringe inducing Happy Birthday being sung in the stadium to Secret's w33 and Puppey. But then again, winning $1.1 Million isn't exactly a bad way to celebrate your birthday.