Three rapiers and a comeback
Liquid went for a last-pick Lone Druid for Qojqva and a mid Monkey King for Micke to lead Liquid’s push-and-fight draft. On the other hand, Secret leaned toward the team fight side of draft as they moved Nisha Storm in the safe lane, Matu Dragon Knight in the mid lane, and an offlane Vengeful Spirit for Zai.
In the early game, Liquid’s aggression paid off as they got the better half of kill trades. But what I saw early on was how Secret planted their vision to even out the game. For the first 25 minutes, Secret focused their Wards on Liquid’s Dire jungle. From there, they pressured the top lane to take control of that side and force Liquid to take unfavourable fights.
Liquid remained strong and began to push out towers as Secret farmed. Again, Secret protected their high ground by placing vision solely on their side of the map around the 30 and 40-minute mark. Liquid took two sets of racks, but with great vision just outside of their high ground, Nisha saw an opportunity to buyback and set up a great Echo Slam for Yapzor Earthshaker with a three-man Electric Vortex with his Aghs.
After their successful defence, Secret’s vision moved to the Dire side of the Rosh pit as well as their own triangle jungle near the Radiant Secret Shop. Because of this vision, Zai and Puppey Keeper of the Light was able to stall Liquid’s Rosh long enough for Matu and Nisha to swoop in and take Rosh’s valuables.
As they went past 60 minutes, Liquid had secured megas and pressured the lanes. They set fights, but they were too scattered to focus an individual on Secret, so in the end, it was Secret who claimed the needed kills to hold on to the game. The Bear managed to chip away one Tier 4 tower, but Secret held on as Matu bought his second Rapier with a Black Dragon Form, while Micke bought his own. However, Secret quickly claimed the Aegis and then chased down Liquid on the Radiant Outpost to secure more key kills and force Micke to die and drop his Rapier.
As Secret pushed, Puppey guarded their base successfully. In fact, Puppey had the fourth overall highest last hits at 573 to result to a 44.6k networth in the end. For comparison, the highest networth in Liquid was 45.7k and it belonged to Qojqva Lone Druid.
Because of Secret ‘s continuous disables and positioning during their high ground push Liquid did not find the right opportunity to turn things around. So between the 82 and 83-minute mark, Secret takes down the throne with 63k gold lead.
Secret and Liquid had 36 and 37 Observer Wards planted respectively, but Secret was the one who maximized their vision more. In the last 20 minutes of the game, Secret gave up only 4 kills, while Liquid gave up 17. As a result, Secret almost evened out the kill score at 47-49 behind Nisha’s 16 kills, Matu’s 73k total damage dealt, and 34 assists from Zai.
Secret gave Liquid a taste of their own medicine as they last-picked a carry Lone Druid for Matu to go along with Secret’s heavy team fight spells. Meanwhile, Liquid drafted a Taiga Willow and Boxi Mars combo together with a Qojqva safe lane Lycan.
Like game 1, Puppey KotL and Yapzor Earthshaker played a big part early on to give their cores the much-needed space and farm to take the slight lead. Although Liquid had put out great fights, Matu’s pushes together with his Bear made the difference as this gave Secret the control of the game. But what finally gave Secret this game is their game plan in the last 10 minutes of the match. Secret took 13 kills, while Liquid managed to take only 2 and because of this, Secret pulled away and finished the job leading the kills 29-26.
Even though the game lasted 49 minutes, Secret returned to their dominant form as their team fights paved the way for Matu to claim 9 kills. Although Matu dealt the most building damage, it was Zai’s Tidehunter who dished out the most damage at 35.7k as his durable initiator build transitioned into heavy damage as he built his Assault Cuirass and Daedalus to complement his 200 Damage Talent at level 25. With 18 assists from Puppey and 3 more AoE ults coming from Yapzor, Zai, and Nisha Queen of Pain, Liquid’s squishy draft was no match in terms of physical and magic damage.