Team Secret, Nigma advance in DreamLeague Season 13 qualifiers

Steven R. November 30, 2019

After a stunning upset in the Chinese open qualifiers for the DreamLeague Season 13 major, things went according to plan in Europe.

Team Secret and Nigma have navigated their way through the open qualifiers. While this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, it comes a day after The International 2019 third-place team PSG.LGD found its own journey to the major come to a swift end.

Team Secret had a fairly smooth path through the qualifiers. The team didn’t encounter much in the way of professional caliber competition until the finals when it faced Chicken Fighters.

The recently formed squad received little attention, but has a number of interesting veterans including Akbar "SoNNeikO" Butaev, former HellRaisers support Milan "MiLAN" Kozomara, and two former members of Hippomaniacs. In almost any other open qualifier field, Chicken Fighters would have had a good chance of making the cut for regionals. Instead, Secret handed them a 2-0 loss in a pair of back and forth games.

Nigma’s journey was even easier. Much like Secret, Nigma didn’t come across any particular formidable foes until the very end when it faced OG Seed. Though the new team was formed with some fanfare and found a surprising sponsor in two-time The International champions OG, the lineup had a rough showing against Nigma.

In both games, OG Seed played sloppy games of Dota 2. Though the team includes a lineup of proven veterans, they made basic mistakes like wasting ultimates and cancelling out of channeled spells. This gave Nigma a 2-0 win in the series in under 50 minutes of combined game time.

Nigma, Secret in DreamLeague Season 13 carries big stakes

The Outlanders Update arrived just a few days before the start of the DreamLeague Season 13 open qualifiers and brought sweeping changes to the game. Likely the largest was the introduction of Neutral Items, which randomly drop from jungle creeps and inject a massive amount of RNG into the game.

Former TNC Pro Team and Complexity Gaming coach Murielle "Kips" Huisman made a lengthy post on Medium discussing this and flatly labeled the mechanic as “anti-skill.”

“Neutral Items are unfair. They cannot be anticipated,” she said. “And because this skill makes the most difference at the highest levels of Dota, where players will be using items to their maximum potential and mistakes are rare, the unfairness of the situation hits them the hardest.”

Seemingly backing up her theories was the shocking elimination of PSG.LGD from the early stages of the Chinese open qualifiers of the DreamLeague Season 13. Though the team is ranked among Dota 2’s best, they were eliminated by the completely unknown FTD.Apollo in the second round of the open qualifiers. On the flipside, Secret and Nigma were both able to advance with few issues.

Though PSG.LGD underperformed in their games, if there are upsets aplenty in the regional qualifiers for DreamLeague Season 13, some backlash from fans is may come with them.

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