Nigma outlast HellRaisers at WeSave! Charity Play

It wasn't the prettiest of executions.

Photo via DreamHack

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Nigma went up against an in-form HellRaisers today in an even contest that went the distance. It wasn’t the cleanest of executions for Nigma, but they did just enough to win 3-2 in the Europe vs. CIS superfinal at the WeSave! Charity Play Dota 2 tournament.

This was the first time the two teams met this season. Nigma dominated the European bracket, taking down Team Secret and Team Liquid with ease and losing just one game in the process. HellRaisers were an unexpected surprise in the CIS region, going undefeated and crushing Virtus Pro and Natus Vincere.

Game one was a tense, back-and-forth bloodbath between the two champions. Neither team let up in their aggressive intrusions into each other’s territory with both teams having a variety of brawling heroes that simply never stopped the melee.

As the game dragged on, it was Nigma’s Miracle- who found himself dictating the pace on his Phantom Assassin. Nigma drafted a mid-game oriented lineup with tons of teamfight, but that meant Miracle- was the only physical damage carry. Despite the pressure, he was a force of nature that constantly demanded HellRaisers’ attention. 

HellRaisers forced a fight around the Roshan pit in a bid to take down the monstrous Miracle-, who had picked up a Divine Rapier. While they managed to kill him, the CIS squad had overcommitted and saw their Juggernaut and Pangolier drop. Nigma swiftly capitalized and secured mega creeps.

With their backs against the walls, HellRaisers made a last-ditch effort to try and take down GH’s Phoenix, which was promptly stalled by Nigma’s rapid response. With the desperate gambit failed, HellRaisers had to concede.

HellRaisers’ Alexander “Nix” Levin took off in the second game, though. Handling the Stealth Assassin, Nix accrued 20 kills and zero deaths while securing space for his Alchemist. The CIS squad then gathered behind the tanky Alchemist and barrelled down each lane, forcing Nigma into submission.

Game three saw another one of HellRaisers’ cores step up to the plate. This time, it was Arslan “xannii” Shadjanov’s Queen of Pain with 20 kills. Along with Nix’s Monkey King and Funn1k’s Mars, the CIS crew leveraged their immaculately-executed teamfight combos into an unassailable advantage. It wasn’t helped by Nigma experimenting with their picks once again, forcing Razor into a support role purely to avoid the Queen of Pain lane counter.

The fourth match was a perfect Meepo game for Nigma. So they picked it. While Nigma didn’t have the prettiest of early games, as soon as w33 exerted control on the game, Nigma anchored onto the Meepo and strangled HellRaisers into submission.

Compared to the bloodsoaked series that had occurred so far, game five was a relatively tense affair. HellRaisers tried to set the pace with an aggressive trilane Bristleback to push Miracle-‘s Morphling out of the game. 

While Miracle- had a delayed start, Nigma were content to slow roll and drag the game out by incessantly splitpushing. It was a frustrating itch that HellRaisers were just unable to get rid of and Miracle- reveled in the space created by his teammates. Sure enough, the Morphling transformed into the end-game boss right before the CIS squad’s eyes, unable to be brought down. 

Nigma haven’t had the best results in the Dota Pro Circuit this season, even missing out on the third round entirely. But they’ve strung together an incredible series of victories at WePlay! Esports’ events this year, triumphant at the WePlay! Bukovel Minor and WePlay! Tug of War: Mad Moon

While HellRaisers narrowly lost the series, they were the first team to actually challenge Nigma’s dominant run during the tournament. HellRaisers’ new recruits have turned the team into solid contenders and they could become the dark horse of a CIS region that’s been underperforming this season.

This was the last five-vs-five series of the WeSave! Charity Play event, raising close to $70,000 on top of the initial prize pool of $120,000. The entire purse will be donated to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and GlobalGiving to help aid in the battle against COVID-19.