The two organizations earned spots in the event with exceptional all-around performances throughout. They also quell some of the fears about the impact of RNG on the game following the release of the Outlanders Update.
Liquid and Secret were both the top performers of their groups.
Liquid started off its run in the qualifiers with a perfect 8-0 record in group A, defeating Ad Finem, Godsent, Team Singularity, and Nigma 2-0. That set the team up in the playoffs with a game against Alliance.
The two teams have looked like equals throughout the season to this point, and that continued here as they were neck and neck in the deciding series. Both games followed similar formulas with an even laning phase being followed by a close mid game, but both saw Liquid take over after the 30-minute mark.
Liquid took the first map by winning a team fight and leveraging its fast-pushing Lone Druid and Legion Commander duo to close the game. The second was slower by comparison, as Liquid built up its lead and tied the knot at 45 minutes.
Team Secret was similarly successful in the group stage, topping group B with a 7-1 record. Its sole loss was an upset at the hands of Vikin.gg.
The team then faced Nigma in the playoffs, something newly added carry player Lasse Aukusti “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen undoubtedly relished. Taking on the teammates that kicked him ahead of a second-place run at The International 2019, he helped Secret punch a ticket to the Leipzig Major with two emphatic performances.
The first game saw MATUMBAMAN lead his team in kills en route to a clean 30-minute victory. Though Nigma got revenge in game two, Secret once again leaned on MATUMBAMAN to carry them to victory. Playing as Anti-Mage, he topped the net worth charts and scoreboard in a clinching victory for Team Secret.
Nigma and Alliance faced off for the last qualifier slot in the DreamLeague Leipzig Major. Though Nigma managed to reach the grand finals of The International 2019, the team came up short here and was swept by Alliance 2-0.
Both games featured heated early and mid games, with the net worth and experience advantages shifting back and forth. As time went on, Alliance’s rotations and team fight execution just proved to be a cut above Liquid’s. The kill difference was profound in both games, which allowed Alliance to bludgeon its way to victory.
Nigma’s loss is a surprise on paper, but it continues what has been a very strong start to the season for Alliance. The team posted a top-eight finish at the MDL Chengdu Major, then Alliance took third at ESL One Hamburg 2019 and first at DreamLeague Season 12. The team seems positioned for a very strong year, and will have another chance to close in on an invitation for The International 2020 at the DreamLeague Leipzig Major.
As for Nigma, the team’s hopes haven’t died yet. They’ll be looking for a spot in the WePlay! Bukovel Minor later this week, with a chance of qualifying to the major on the line.