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In one of the few premier matchups at the WeSave! Charity Play so far that featured full Dota 2 rosters, Team Nigma and Team Secret clashed in the first round of the European bracket today. Secret came in as slight favorites with their recent success, but Nigma once again toppled the titans 2-0 with a beautifully played game one.
The two teams previously played an epic series at another WePlay! Event, the Tug of War: Mad Moon tournament. Secret, on a high after a DreamLeague Leipzig Major win, were heavy favorites against an underperforming Nigma. Secret dominated the first two games, but Nigma dug deep to complete a reverse sweep, heralding their return to form.
The first game today started with a bloodbath helmed by Miracle-’s Riki. With the aid of an Io and Clockwerk to enable his relentless aggression, Nigma managed to cover the weaknesses of their pure fighting draft by constantly sending Secret’s heroes to the grave.
Secret were never far behind thanks to zai’s Bounty Hunter that helped even out the economic advantage. While Nigma were the first to take a set of barracks, Secret never felt out of reach. MATUMAMAN’s Wraith King was massive, able to turn just enough teamfights to help his team stay in the game.
As the state of the game calmed down and Miracle- was unable to find pickoffs at will, Secret started accruing a gold lead, picking up a Divine Rapier on MATUMBAMAN. It was all going according to plan for them, including a Roshan fight that saw them taking down the pesky Riki.
GH wasn’t quite ready to let the game end just because of one death, however. He made the tactical decision to Relocate into the enemy base, forcing Secret to use Glyph and teleport back, delaying the push for Miracle- to respawn.
Secret, now delayed, tried to mount an offensive again. Nigma made yet another astute read and decided that they were unable to defend, thereby going for a Hail Mary throne push. Down 37,000 gold and against a Divine Rapier Wraith King that would shred their base in seconds, Nigma managed to pull off a near-perfect heist and destroyed Secret’s Ancient.
Game two was a sequel to the Miracle- and GH show. This time on Nature’s Prophet and Nyx Assassin, the two continued belligerently challenging Secret from minute one. Nigma, having experimented with position one Nature’s Prophet with great success in the past, used Miracle-’s global mobility and high net worth to turn any fight into their favor.
While Secret had an eye for the late game again with an Arc Warden, Nigma’s draft changes to ensure that they had a good amount of push made all the difference compared to the first game. Secret were unable to mount a defense as Nigma ran roughshod over them and they meekly conceded in less than half an hour.
Nigma’s repeated victories over Secret, one of the best teams in the world, have definitely been surprising considering the squad’s lackluster results of late. The organization most recently failed to qualify for the ESL One Los Angeles Major, winning just three games in the group stage. The International 2019 runners-up appear to have found their mojo again, which will make the already stacked European region even more interesting throughout the rest of the season.
Nigma move on to the finals of the European region where they’ll face a Team Liquid that dismantled a half-strength OG. The winner will go on to play another series with the CIS champion, which means there’s plenty of more good Dota 2 for fans to watch in an esports circuit ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.