The MLG New Orleans grand finals turned out to be a western powerhouse showdown as Team Secret and Team Evil Geniuses faced off in a best of 5 series.
Team Secret did not show any signs of hesitant picking up Doom and the infamous Meepo as their first picks in the grand finals of MLG. Team Evil Geniuses on the other hand, were satisfied with their traditional first pick Dark Seer for Universe. But Ogre Magi as the other first pick seemed to have surprised many audiences. EG drafted Windranger and Alchemist in the second phase to attempt to abuse the armor reduction and Focus Fire combination onto Meepo. Secret retaliated with Dazzle and Bane to provide more control and armor. The draft wrapped up with a Witch Doctor on EG and Nyx on Secret.
The first surprise came early in game one where Meepo managed to solo kill Alchemist two minutes into the laning phase, although Fear’s Ogre Magi managed to avenge for Arteezy, Meepo secured some early advantage. EG’s game plan was obvious, they attempted to make full use of the jungle for the Alchemist to flash farm, but Secret warded aggressively into the jungle and killed off Alchemist with the help of Nyx.
The laning phase concluded with Meepo snatching the Aegis at 12 minutes, whereas EG secured the top tower. Both teams were satisfied with farm accumulation for both Alchemist and Meepo. Although Alchemist has incredible farm potential, EG’s mid game felt lack lustered, allowing Meepo and Doom to secure a solid mid game. The game continued to snowball in favor of Secret as Alchemist was unable to make good use of his farm, with heroes on the side of EG getting picked off one by one, the gold lead of Alchemist became non-existent gradually. W33ha’s Meepo went out of control by 30 minutes destroying every hero on EG’s side, EG was forced to tap out after a soul crushing team wipe, Secret took game one with ease.
EG definitely learned their lesson from game one and decided to ban w33ha’s Meepo and decided to pick up Ember Spirit in the first phase. Secret attempted to abuse Ember Spirit’s weakness to control and opted for a Bane and Night Stalker duo. Secret picked up Dazzle to resist the damage of Sleight of Fist and EG grabbed Templar Assassin to help reduce armor from Dazzle’s Weave. It seemed as if Puppey predicted this TA pick and immediately countered with a Venomancer, whereas EG secured the offlane potency and picked up Undying. Secret’s last pick was Naga Siren and thus a team fight oriented four protect one lineup had been solidified. EG picked up Abaddon to secure their face rushing ability, hoping to get advantage from team fights before Naga Siren comes online.
The Venomancer pick was proven to be devastating for Arteezy’s Templar Assassin. Secret even rotated Bane to mid lane to secure a bad start for TA. Four minutes into the game TA was forced into the jungle and EG rotated Abaddon to mid lane just to secure experience. The nature of Secret’s lineup is to attempt to secure early game trying not to fall behind with the Night Stalker and Venomancer to stop aggression. However EG was able to take advantage of the weak early game Secret had and abuse it to its fullest potential. 13 minutes in the scoreboard was 10:1 in favor of EG.
Seeing that the early game was bound to crumble, Secret chose to purchase two midases for Venomancer and Night Stalker. However, this game had just begun 20 minutes in for Team Secret when Naga Siren finally picked up her Radiance, the question was whether they could stay in the game until Naga transitioned into a respectable core. The answer to that question was clearly negative 30 minutes into the game as Team Secret crumbled before their high ground with Universe’s spectacular Tusk plays. EG equalizes the series.
Team Secret seemed to have abandoned their mindset in game two and decided to opt for a face rush draft themselves, securing Slardar and Doom in the first phase, whereas EG attempted to resist the face rush power of Secret with the Undying Tombstone. Secret recognized the value of Universe’s comfort heroes and decided to ban all of them including Dark Seer, Tusk, and Clockwerk. EG solidified their lineup with Lich’s ice armor in order to neutralize the armor reduction coming from Slardar. EG proceeded to pick up two of their favorite heroes in this patch, TA and Night Stalker, but they seemed to be lacking range in their lineup. Whereas Secret secured Windranger, Bounty Hunter, and Chen, which aimed to disrupt the smooth laning phase Ember Spirit was hoping for.
When Puppey plays Chen, we know we’re in for a good game, and his flashy plays early in this game completely validated this statement. With an unexpected rotation two minutes in from Chen, Puppey secured two kills for Secret with a Satyr. Although EG’s mid and safe lane were advantageous, rotations from Puppey caused the top lane of EG to crumble into pieces.
Eight minutes into the game, Puppey has been involved in seven kills for Secret. Secret continued to snowball their advantage getting kills around the map and secured Roshan in minute 15. But the beefiness and defensive nature of EG’s lineup began to kick in as Chen became ineffective gradually progressing towards the 20 minute mark.
Game three turned into a stalemate as both teams seemed to be afraid to fight against each other because any loss might tip the balance of the game’s direction. The deciding team fight happened at minute 37 as Secret team wiped EG in their jungle and proceeded to take their first lane of barracks. However, EG did not give up and retaliated with a team wipe on Secret’s side but Secret immediately bought back two heroes and counter wipes EG, equalizing the advantage once again. With the TA dead for 20 more seconds, Secret stormed into the base of EG taking the third game of the series.
It looked like Secret wanted to replicate their success in game three picking Slardar in the first phase, but Dark Seer was left uncontested for EG’s MVP in this series – Universe. With one of the best crowd control abilities in the game, EG’s lineup this game was much more resilient against the Slardar face rush tactic. The draft proceeded to some new faces in the hero pool – Visage, Beastmaster for EG and Disruptor, Lina, and Phantom Assassin for Secret. Both teams looked to have extremely strong laning potential especially on the side of Team Secret.
EG needed this win to stay alive in the tournament but they did not have a good start as Ember Spirit rushed into the jungle and fed first blood for Team Secret. But EG quickly grabbed a kill off Secret using the power of Chilling Touch in the tri-lane showdown. Dark Seer also has complete control over the Slardar in the top lane due to the nature of Ion Shell against Melee heroes. Secret began to pull ahead with rotations around lanes as PA secured more farm in the safe lane and Lina’s rotation killing off Ember Spirit. But a perfect Vaccum Wall into Ice Blast by EG at minute 14 ripped apart Team Secret securing an advantage for themselves.
Minutes after EG’s attempt to take down the tier one tower of Secret turned out to be a slaughter by Secret as EG was wiped once again due to severe over-extension. Secret began to snowball ahead with the gold lead on w33haa’s Lina and Ember Spirit’s squishy nature under the armor reduction of Slardar. After securing Roshan, Secret was ahead with a 5000 gold lead. 31 minutes in both teams decided to contest Roshan it looked good for EG at first but with a spectacular play and buyback coming from Misery’s Slardar, Secret was able to take Roshan under a dieback coming from Ember Spirit, Secret pulled further ahead once again. Team fights after that were much more back and forth as no team was able to pull ahead once again.
Two important pickoffs happened at the 45 minute mark as Secret was able to kill off Ember and Beastmaster. Although EG killed off Lina during Secret’s high ground siege, their over extension paid a high price as their heroes had no buybacks after deaths and deaths due to the high burst power from Secret. Secret finally took down the first lane of barracks 48 minutes into the game. But this game was in no means over.
Although EG lost a lane of barracks, they quickly retaliate with more kills after Secret tried to be greedy attempting to take the second lane of barracks as well. After the dust settled, Secret was still ahead by a sizable margin. EG was struggling to comeback from the gold deficit and Secret cruised into EG’s base after killing off two heroes on EG’s side, at this point EG had no more ways to comeback and Team Secret is your MLG champions!