Team Secret have not had an easy year in the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit, bouncing back and forth between Division I and II while constantly swapping players and positions to try and find some balance after an incredible run at The International 11 last year. Now, after another disappointing performance on the Summer Tour, the team released Miroslav “BOOM” Bičan today and is likely making big moves ahead of a qualifier run to TI12.
BOOM was the big addition Secret made after Nisha left to join Team Liquid post-TI11, sparking concerns for the team’s future since the departing player is arguably among the best midlaners in the world.
Those concerns were quickly validated with Secret finishing dead last in the opening Tour of the DPC season and getting relegated to Division II for the first time. That led to Puppey and team management pivoting even further away from the roster that finished second at TI11, dropping Resolut1on and Zayac, bringing in Armel and yamich, and shifting BOOM from the midlane to offlane—in a move that shocked a lot of fans.
Initially, the latest set of changes looked like solid course correction from Puppey. But after making it out of Division II in the Spring Tour, they were pushed back down following another eighth-place finish in the Summer Tour. This means Secret have no DPC points to their name on the year and will have to battle it out in the Regional Qualifiers for a spot at TI12.
“A lot of times, you just end up unlucky in a way because things don’t work out,” Puppey told Dot Esports. “This [season] is one of those times I feel where I’ve been kind of unlucky for a bit. I mean, I’ve also maybe not played as well [as I could have], but there’s a lot of things involved.”
With his record as a TI-all-timer on the line and hopes that his next appearance on Dota’s biggest stage will net him his second Aegis of Champions, Puppey and Secret are making one last roster shuffle ahead of those qualifiers.
BOOM is out and it is unclear if any of Secret’s other recent additions will follow, but I don’t think we should take Secret’s follow-up tweet about soccer star Lionel Messi swapping professions too seriously.
For now, it appears the team will just be searching for an offlaner to help try and push them through one of the most stacked regional qualifiers in the world against the likes of Entity, OG, Nigma Galaxy, and more. Now we just have to see if Valve will host another Last Chance Qualifier this time around.