The team was in an awkward position as the European region was only given one slot in the minor despite having one of the deeper lineups of teams. The second-place team from The International 2019 kept their hopes of qualifying for the second major of the season alive by defeating Vikin.gg in the finals of the minor.
Nigma started the series in emphatic fashion. With Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi on Storm Spirit, Aliwi “w33” Omar on Ursa, and Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov on Underlord, the team had amazing pick-off potential alongside very strong pushing. Vikin.gg only needed to make one mistake in order to give away the game, and that came after 20 minutes when a skirmish snowballed into a game-ending high ground push.
Game two was a wacky one. After an even early game, Vikin.gg was very strong in the mid-game, forcing some mistakes out of Nigma and overcoming a deficit.
The team manufactured several wild team fights and at one point started sending players on suicide missions down the mid lane to break high ground. While this resulted in multiple deaths, it also kept Vikin.gg scattered, unable to push, and seemingly flustered. The sequence was followed by Vikin.gg going all-in on a team fight and Roshan attempt, burning through buybacks and squandering their lead. That gave Nigma the opportunity to take the game back and advance to match point.
The series ended with an absolute stomp. Vikin.gg tried to catch Nigma by surprise by running a trilane bottom, but Nigma countered by sending an extra hero bottom to meet them. The plan backfired badly on Vikin.gg as w33 and Miracle- both won their solo lanes. Nigma wasted little time in sealing the deal from there, locking up a spot in the WePlay! Bukovel Minor with a 3-0 series victory.
This is a critical victory for Nigma.
The five players that made up Team Liquid’s roster for The International 2019 split off from the organization in the weeks following the event in order to start their own esports brand and opted to take a break rather than compete in the MDL Chengdu Major.
With only five majors in the season, missing out on two would put the team in a tough spot in terms of qualifying for the major, especially with the European field looking scarier than ever before.
Nigma still faces a long road to reach the major and will need to finish in first place at the WePlay! Bukovel Minor in order to qualify. The team will be entering the event as the clear favorite, but is set to face some tricky opponents including Gambit Esports and Ninjas in Pyjamas.
The event begins on January 9.