Steven R. February 23, 2020
Sometimes, Nigma looks like the best Dota 2 team in the world. Other times, they look like anything but.
At WePlay! Dota 2 Tug of War: Mad Moon, they looked like the former when they posted a reverse sweep against Team Secret in the grand finals of the event. This gives Nigma the $130,000 top prize along with a much-needed boost of morale.
The series started inauspiciously for the ex-Team Liquid roster. A pair of lights-out performances by Michał "Nisha" Jankowski, including a game two core Batrider pick, saw Team Secret advance to match point quickly. This wasn’t helped by the fact that game one was decided by Nigma fumbling an strong mid-game lead.
Game three was a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams look strong through the mid game. Strong core play from Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi and Aliwi “w33” Omar proved to be the difference, allowing Nigma to take over the game and post a win.
Lasse Aukusti "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen ran wild for Secret early in game four, racking up six kills in the first 15 minutes. Despite that, Nigma retained a net worth lead and steadily built it up to the point where Secret could no longer resist.
The decider was the most lopsided game of the series, with Nigma taking an early kill lead and never looking back. Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi’s Winter Wyvern was a force both offensively and defensively, while Miracle- was a terror as Faceless Void. This allowed the team to take over the game and close things out for the 3-2 series victory.
This is a major coup for Nigma. Despite taking second place at The International 2019 under the Team Liquid banner and retaining the same roster for this season, the team hasn’t been nearly as successful since. Nigma returned to action by winning the WePlay! Bukovel Minor but flopped in the DreamLeague Leipzig Major. Most recently, the team failed to qualify for the ESL One Los Angeles Major.
This win shows that Nigma still has a lot of life left in it, and is capable of taking wins off the very best Dota 2 teams in the world. Though they are still in a precarious position when it comes to the Dota Pro Circuit, this silences any questions about whether the team was starting to fall off.
WePlay! is the biggest winner of Tug of War: Mad Moon
While Nigma won the WePlay! Dota 2 Tug of War: Mad Moon officially, it was actually WePlay! itself that was the biggest winner of the event.
The organizer impressed many Dota 2 fans with the WePlay! Bukovel Minor, an event that took place in a Ukrainian ski resort. The unique venue alongside a strong lineup of broadcast talent and quality content made for a fun tournament that stood on par with those held by more established tournament organizers.
WePlay! Tug of War: Mad Moon was a continuation of the organizer’s prolonged online league efforts, and they pulled out all the stops for it. The tournament featured an elaborate stage supported by a raucous crowd, alongside a strong lineup of teams and broadcast talent. This made for a memorable tournament despite flying under the radar due to it not being a part of the Dota Pro Circuit.
WePlay! has impressed with its two live events in 2020 and could be one of the biggest Dota 2 tournament organizers moving forward.