Puppey power: Breaking down Secret’s continued high-level play after ESL One Birmingham

Team Secret is by far the best Dota 2 team in the world right now, having won four of the last six tier two or higher tournaments in 2020, including a win at the DreamLeague Season 13 Major. 

And at the forefront of Secret’s success sits the mastermind of the operation: Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, who has extended his lead as the winningest player in Dota 2 history after he and his team swept Alliance to win ESL One Birmingham Online. 

In total, Puppey has won 1,312 professional Dota games, the most of any player ever. Only veteran players like KuroKy, Fly, s4, and n0tail even come close to that number, with Kuro sitting in second at 1,295 wins. 

Screengrab via datDota

The list is made up of the original Team Secret roster that Puppey formed after leaving Natus Vincere in 2014. Back then, Fly went by Simbaa and n0tail played under his old BigDaddy tag. 

During the team’s run at ESL One Birmingham, Puppey outplayed Kuro twice, sweeping Nigma in the group stage and eliminating them from the tournament in lower-bracket round three.

And looking at a few other metrics, Secret’s players, both former and current, dominate nearly every category. 

Puppey sits at third in all-time winrate at 66.77 percent, just behind former teammate MidOne (67.24 percent,) and current teammate zai, who holds the record at 68.41 percent. It will be basically impossible for Puppey to catch zai due to his age and the fact they play together, but he is still ahead of some other ex-Secret players, s4 (65.04 percent) and Arteezy (64.96 percent.)

Puppey earned the title of Europe/CIS Mercedes Benz MVP of the event, both for his drafting throughout the event and his extremely technical play in the finals. He went a combined 6/8/47 as Secret rolled over Alliance for their fifth ESL One title.

Puppey is ahead in all but four head-to-head match-ups for players he has faced 50 or more times, according to datDota developer and analyst Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen. This includes all of his ex-teammates and most of his biggest competitors in Europe/CIS. 

Former teammates

  • FATA: 72-26 (73.5 percent)
  • Universe: 64-42 (60.4 percent)
  • n0tail: 76-45 (62.8 percent)
  • KuroKy: 59-41 (59 percent )
  • Fly: 73-62 (54.1 percent)
  • s4: 67-58 (53.6 percent)

Losing matchups

  • RAMZES666: 42-30 (41.6 percent)
  • AdmiralBulldog: 38-35 (47.9 percent)
  • No[o]ne: 35-34 (49.2 percent)
  • Akke: 44-44 (50 percent)

Secret’s Dota roster has been one of the top teams since its formation in 2014, and the one consistent factor in that success continues to be Puppey. His knowledge of the game combined with his ability to lead with an open personality and direct approach to competition has Secret sitting at a tier above anyone else currently playing. 

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