GAMERS GALAXY Dota 2: Team Spirit, Team Secret qualify for playoffs

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Team Spirit's Illya
Team Spirit's Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk and Team Secret's Clement "Puppey" Ivanov. (Photos: Team Spirit, Dota 2 TI Flickr)

Day 2 of the GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022 saw The International 10 (TI10) champions Team Spirit and Team Secret take the last two playoff spots after surviving the play-ins against Nigma Galaxy SEA (NGX SEA) and TSM FTX.

After Nigma Galaxy, Tundra Esports, BOOM Esports, and OG previously claimed the four upper bracket spots, only two lower bracket slots remained up for grabs between five teams: Spirit, Secret, NGX SEA, TSM, and Fnatic.

After some intense showdowns in the play-ins, Spirit and Secret were the only ones left standing to claim the last playoff spots in the Invitational. Here's how everything went down:

TSM knocks out Fnatic

At the start of the second day of the tournament, Fnatic had a score of 1-2 while TSM had gone 0-3 in their matches. The final group stage game of Group A between Fnatic and TSM would decide which of them will move on to the play-ins and face Secret.

Fnatic needed to win just one game to move on while TSM had to beat Fnatic twice to advance, once in the group stage and again in a tiebreaker. TSM easily won their first encounter against Fnatic, thus forcing both teams to face each other once more.

TSM used an interesting strategy in their tiebreaker match, as they sacrificed their supports David "MoonMeander" Tan Boon Yang and Kim "DuBu" Doo-young on Monkey King and Ogre Magi, respectively, to allow their cores to farm.

Despite the kill score being 6-1 in favor of Fnatic at the 10-minute mark, TSM were 2,000 gold ahead in farm, with all their cores topping the net worth charts.

Fnatic started the game strong but were unable to keep the pressure on TSM. Between the 16 and 28-minute marks, Fnatic weren't able to get a single kill on TSM.

The North American squad, on the other hand, secured Roshan 19 minutes into the game and proceeded to win a pivotal fight, eliminating Fnatic from the tournament.

Team Secret stops TSM’s momentum

TSM’s reward for beating one of the best teams in Southeast Asia was to take on Secret, who finished TI10 in third place and then proceeded to add Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan and Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang to their roster.

Both teams were able to take a game each in their best-of-three series, leading to a do-or-die game three.

Secret fell back to some of their most iconic heroes, which included Clement "Puppey" Ivanov on Chen and iceiceice on Timbersaw, their most played competitive heroes of all time.

TSM, on the other hand, went for a team fight heavy composition to provide their carry with space to farm.

Jonathan Bryle "Bryle" Santos De Guia’s Invoker, Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek on Tidehunter, and DuBu on Undying meant Secret would have a tough time in five versus five engagements.

It was the iceiceice show in game three, as the Singaporean pro's ability to play on TSM’s side of the map significantly reduced their farm.

Enzo "Timado" Gianoli was able to keep pace on Terrorblade, but the other two cores kept falling further and further behind due to iceiceice taking over their side of the map.

The most important fight of the game happened 30 minutes into the match, when TSM overextended after making a small comeback. After getting a quick kill on Michał "Nisha" Jankowski, TSM couldn’t disengage fast enough and got punished by losing Bryle, Moonmeander, and Timado.

After winning that fight, TSM had no avenue to come back and tapped out three minutes later.

Team Spirit eliminate NGX SEA

Team Spirit had to attend the tournament without Position 4 support Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov, with Vladimir "RodjER" Nikogosian standing-in.

If teams expected that a stand-in would weaken Team Spirit, they were quickly proven wrong as the TI10 winners went secured a 2-0 victory over NGX SEA in convincing fashion.

Team Spirit’s aggression was in full force during both games, as they managed to team wipe Nigma Galaxy Sea 23 minutes into game one, and proceeded to secure their raxes for the win.

Game two was an even shorter affair, as Nigma Galaxy tapped out 30 minutes into the match.

In total, it took Team Spirit just 62 minutes to send the Southeast Asian team packing.

With their victories in the play-ins, Secret and Spirit will start the GAMERS GALAXY Invitational playoffs in the lower bracket. Their opponents will be the losers of first round of the upper bracket.

The first round of the upper bracket will begin with Nigma Galaxy taking on OG, followed by a showdown between BOOM Esports and Tundra Esports.

The GAMERS GALAXY Invitational features some of the best Dota 2 teams in the world competing in a LAN for their cut of the AED1,000,000 (over US$270,000) prize pool from 2 to 6 March.

Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.

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