Nigma is still alive.
The runners-up to The International 2019 took a key 2-1 win over Gambit Esports in the WePlay! Bukovel Minor. This advances the tournament favorites to the lower bracket finals, where they will face Geek Fam for a spot in the grand finals.
Nigma looked strong early on in game one. The laning stage opened in impressive fashion, as they racked up nine kills in the first 12 minutes. In most situations that would have set up a team like Nigma with an assured victory, but things went sideways for them very quickly as the mid-game came. Playing as Ursa, Aliwi “w33” Omar died four times in a seven-minute stretch, halting all of Nigma’s momentum and allowing Gambit to take the lead.
With a lineup that scaled better late, Gambit was able to take command and start pressuring high ground. This set them up with a hardfought opening win to start the series.
Nigma once again got the better of the laning stage in game two. Back in the mid lane, w33 was visibly more comfortable with how the game panned out, helping Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi snowball on Phantom Lancer. Things did get dicey as Gambit skirmished their way into evening the net worth and experience tallies. Nigma regained their footing and closed out the game to even the series.
The decider was an absolute bloodbath. Nigma dominated the field throughout the game, picking off Gambit almost at will and averaging over one kill per minute. Despite that, Gambit never fell too far behind and even managed to take the lead for a brief moment after winning a team fight.
But Nigma just kept finding kills at every opportunity. The end came at 42 minutes, with Nigma having 52 kills by game’s end.
The win wasn’t the kind of emphatic victory that many would have expected from Nigma. Even when they were behind, Gambit managed to keep Nigma honest and threaten a comeback. That said, this was by far the best Nigma has looked at the tournament thus far.
Though there were some apparent communication issues in the first game, Nigma was able to press its advantages, siege Gambit’s base, and close out games in a way they couldn’t against Flying PandaS. This followed a tough 2-1 loss to Royal Never Give Up.
With the win, Nigma heads to the lower bracket finals to face Geek Fam. That series looks like a tough one, as Geek Fam has been formidable throughout the tournament, but Nigma seems to be improving with each series played.
Their eyes are undoubtedly set on a rematch with Royal Never Give Up in the grand finals. If they can make it there, they will likely enter as underdogs, but this team remains scary when they’re at peak form.