Nigma will miss out on StarLadder ImbaTV Minor after losing 3 – 2 to Alliance in the final series of the qualifiers.
The series was intense. Alliance won the first game in style. They gained a net-worth and experience advantage early in the game and never let it go. Nikolay ‘Nikobaby’ Nokolov carried hard on Faceless Void, with 18 kills, 15 assists, and only 1 death. Neta ’33’ Shapira was equally impressive on Timbersaw, with 14 kills, 15 assists, and 1 death. It was all over in the 31st minute, with a final score of 43 – 18.
The second game was a different story. Nigma had an early net-worth advantage, while Alliance had the experience advantage. But that changed when Nigma killed Juggernaut and Razor in the 11th minute and Batrider and Earthshaker in the 12th. They gained momentum and never lost it, winning 23 – 14. Aliwi ‘w33’ Omar was impressive on Void Spirit, with 11 kills, 6 assists, and 4 deaths. Ivan ‘MinD_ContRoL’ Borislov and Maroun ‘gH’ Merhej also did well on Beastmaster and Nyx Assassin, with a combined total of 4 kills, 25 assists, and 4 deaths between them.
The momentum continued in the third game. Nigma stomped Alliance 44 – 15 after snowballing in the 11th minute. From that point onward, it was a complete bloodbath. And it all revolved around w33, who racked up an impressive 17 kills and 9 assists on Outworld Devourer, with only 4 deaths.
Alliance responded in the fourth game. They won 31-16, but it was an absolute slog. Alliance had the experience advantage for most of the game, while Nigma had the net-worth advantage. It was a deadlock until the 33rd minute when Alliance traded Batrider for Ember Spirit and Slardar. Then they killed Roshan, picked up an Aegis on Sven and went on to win the game.
The fifth and final game was an absolute rollercoaster ride. The early game was dead even. But Nigma managed to put themselves in a good spot heading into the late game. They destroyed the top barracks in the 31st minute and the bottom barracks in the 34th minute. They even managed to destroy the middle barracks in the 42nd minute. But it cost them a lot. They used Black King Bar on their cores and lost w33 in the process.
Still, it looked like Nigma had the game in the bag. The mega creeps gave them a huge advantage. They didn’t have buyback on Amer ‘Miracle’ Al-Barkawi. And w33 was still dead. But they still had backdoor protection since both side lanes were pushing into Alliance’s base. All they needed to do was stay in the base and clear creep waves. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t.
Strangely, Miracle and MinD_ContRoL decided to sprint into the enemy team in an attempt to kill Disruptor. But not only was it a low-value support kill. He also had buyback. What’s more baffling is they dove past Nikobaby’s Medusa, who had two Divine Rapiers, to try and secure the kill. And their Black King Bars were still on cooldown. It was a high-risk play for little to no reward. And it didn’t work out.
Medusa obliterated them, as well as Kuro ‘Kuroky’ Takhasomi on Ancient Apparition, who tried to help. And in a quick turn of events, Alliance had the game in the bag. Nikobaby marched down the middle lane, destroyed the Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 towers as well as the throne, and ended the game. He even managed to kill Skywrath Mage, Ancient Apparition, Slardar and Void Spirit in the process. It was a strange end to an incredible series.
Nigma has struggled this season. They haven’t been the same since their second-place finish at The International 9. They did manage to win the WePlay! Bukovel Minor in January. But they’re a team with lofty ambitions and expectations. It’s strange to not see them compete at the very top against teams like Evil Geniuses, OG, Team Secret, and Vici Gaming.
Nigma will miss out on earning any potential DPC points in this round of the Dota Pro Circuit 2019-2020. They’re currently sitting in 20th place with a mere 250 DPC points. And if their performances don’t improve soon, they risk missing out on a chance to compete at The International 10. PSG.LGD is another powerhouse in a similar boat.
Meanwhile, Alliance is sitting in 7th spot with 1800 DPC points. They move on to the StarLadder ImbaTV Minor, which takes place in Ukraine on March 5.
Alex is a freelance writer based in Adelaide, Australia. He finished a law degree but realised it wasn't the career for him and decided to follow his dream of becoming a writer. Since then, he has finished two postgraduate writing degrees at Swinburne University of Technology. Now he writes about his other passion; esports and gaming.