Nigma’s pace surprised the Chinese giants as Kuroky and co. forced a 16 minute (Yes 16!!) GG out of Vici Gaming. Here’s how it played out as Nigma fights for a potential top two finish.

“You can’t buyback on Jugg at 14 minutes into the game!” This quote from caster Gareth Bateson perfectly describes the massacre Nigma inflicted on Vici Gaming at the WePlay Animajor. Having just come off the back of a 2-0 victory over beastcoast, Vici came into the series looking strong. On the other end of the spectrum, Nigma had come off of a two-game loss to TNC Predator yesterday. But it appears that losses didn’t deter Nigma and they woke up today ready for blood.

Nigma's Plan: Faster than the Flash

Team Nigma is one of the favorites to move to the upper bracket playoffs. Image Credit: <a href="">WePlay</a>.
Team Nigma is one of the favorites to move to the upper bracket playoffs. Image Credit: WePlay.

The Nigma strategy in this game, as it has been for many others, has been to play extremely fast. Notably, Nigma won fast in their first game against Liquid this Group Stage, and with a 25-minute victory with an Anti-Mage lineup against Execration in the Wild Card as well. Although this draft didn’t necessarily lend itself to a fast play style. With cores like Dragon Knight for Ivan Borislavov "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov and the Terrorblade for Igor "iLTW" Filatov, Nigma could have scaled into the late-game as well.

But Nigma had other plans. Getting a level one Reflection, iLTW, and Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi on Enchantress bullied the Juggernaut of Yang "poyoyo" Shaohan. This was despite being up against a quick tri-lane set-up from Vici. With that tri-lane however, Mind Control and Maroun "GH" Merhej on Rubick were able to practically shut down the Ren "eLeVeN" Yangwei Doom.

The 16-Minute smackdown

While setting up for good lanes the supports collapsed to help their mid Razor put pressure on Void Spirit. The regular pressure tactics ensured Void Spirit could almost do nothing this game. Systematically Nigma choked out the map, slowly pushing forward, using the added damage of Metamorphosis, burst damage from Rubick and Enchantress and damage steal from Razor. Nigma just ran at Vici the entire game weeding out any space Vici wanted from the map.

After taking a few one-sided teamfights and picking off the Juggernaut, Nigma went high ground at 14 minutes. Yes 14 minutes!! The EU team took their first set of barracks at 15 minutes, which according to Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen is a tournament record. It is also the 6th fastest time since TI6. Nigma took one more teamfight after and Vici called the game little after 16 minutes. Game 1 between Nigma and Vici Gaming was the fastest game at the Animajor.

Nigma Looking Absolutely Dominant

Even in game two with a Spectre lineup, Nigma still didn’t take the foot off of the gas pedal. In a 23-minute game this time, Nigma continued with the same formula, running over Vici once again. The constant pressure and fast-paced game was quite opposite to what Vici Gaming was expecting from the series. Needless to say, the change in pace was all that Nigma needed to defeat one of the best teams at WePlay Animajor.

Nigma is looking like one of the strong teams coming out of this Animajor group stage. If they keep up this pace, they are likely to gain an upper bracket spot in the playoffs. With that kind of start, especially with their momentum swing coming up from the Wild Card, we are looking at a pretty scary Nigma.

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Featured Image Credit: Nigma.