Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) leaders Team Secret flexed their muscles against Alliance in their group stage opener at The International 2019 (TI9), coming back to win a thrilling game one, and then closing out game two in dominant fashion.

The first game saw Secret seemingly blindside Alliance in the draft with a Broodmother pick for Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng, then following that up with a greedy Arc Warden for Michał “Nisha” Jankowski.

Alliance countered with a strong lane composition led by Samuel “Boxi” Svahn on Ogre Magi heavily shutting down Nisha in the early game, which then let Michael “miCKe” Vu on Tiny take over the game for the team come midgame.

With Secret on the backfoot, it fell to MidOne to carry his team to victory as Nisha was having an abysmal game and Alliance were dominating teamfights and threatening Secret’s base.

Taiga on Dark Willow scored TI9’s first Aegis snatch with a nicely-timed Terrorize.

Secret would hold on largely thanks to MidOne eliminating Alliance’s backlines during clashes and sneaking up to threaten their base in turn, letting Nisha catch up to become enough of a factor.

This led to a decisive teamfight where Secret turned the tables on Alliance, who were caught without buybacks and their base exposed, leading to the GG call shortly afterwards.

For game two, Secret made an unorthodox support Invoker pick for Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat and Axe for Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg.

The duo were instrumental in Secret taking over in fights, with Zai’s Axe not dying despite numerous daring initiations. Despite valiant high ground defenses, Alliance eventually succumbed to Secret’s overwhelming offense.

Be sure to check out our coverage of The International 2019 Group Stage for more TI9 action.