OG eliminated Team Nigma in a close best-of-three series that saw both teams pushed to the brink
ESL One Summer 2021 treated us to a rematch of The International 2019 finals today as Team Nigma clashed with OG. The two European teams, both masters of the Lower Bracket miracle-run, met in a bitter matchup to decide who would advance.
Just like yesterday's OG versus Team Liquid clash, today's matchup would be a preview of the upcoming TI Western Europe Qualifiers. Despite their best efforts, both teams have failed to qualify for TI as of yet. Like two boxers measuring each other up with testing jabs, these stacks attempted to poke holes in each other's gameplay. A compelling series to end the day with.
Patience pays off
Game one's draft started with Nigma taking away the Axe, which has become popular as a carry pick. OG has plenty of people who'd gladly pick that hero, so it seemed like a good takeaway. What's more, Nigma's draft seemed tailor-made to stop OG style Dota, where they run at you. Ironically, though, OG instead opted to draft for late game.
As the match kicked off, Nigma captain Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi immediately gave up first blood. But that didn't seem to shake Nigma, who kept things locked down for the first part of the matchup. OG slowly fell behind as Nigma's carries scaled up. But OG's took this as a chance to scale themselves.
As fights started to happen in the mid-game, OG narrowly came out on top each time. In particular, Sébastien "Ceb" Debs, on the Brewmaster, started to cause havoc in team fights. With a Midas picked up, he scaled into a monster. And with Martin "Saksa" Sazdov on Lurker duty with his Aghanim's Nyx Assassin, Nigma struggled to engage.
But after just a single fight where Nigma executed perfectly, OG found themselves wiped. That, and a disastrous play from Ceb dying despite having the Brewmaster escape, meant that Nigma picked up a Roshan and was back in the game. Ultimately this would lead to OG being pushed onto their high ground and giving up game one
OG punches back
Trying to rebound, OG tried the unorthodox mid-Hoodwink to counter the Invoker. As a result, the team had a much stronger start, grabbing a quick lead and looking to capitalize. This was the kind of "run at them" Dota that OG excels at, even if Nigma thought they had their number.
Ultimately this would lead to a ridiculous snowball for OG. While the Hoodwink would turn out to be just average, the sidelaners for OG popped off with Drow and Axe dominating. Turns out, picking away or banning Axe from OG is must—Ceb kind of has a bit of history with that hero.
Nigma looked helpless in the matchup, the same way they looked against Vikin.gg on day one. OG was definitely the team that was learning faster in this rapidly evolving meta. They went from barely holding on in game one
Back and Forth until the end
For game three, Axe was picked off by Nigma, who as a hero had become a crux of the series. Without this pick in Ceb's hands, OG struggled to grab an early lead as in the last game. This was further exacerbated with Sumail getting caught out early and frequently. After 15 minutes, it seemed like the game was equal between both sides.
However, Nigma forced the issue by taking the initiative and invading OG's jungle. Nigma's cores were able to engage and take out OG as they pleased. But the looming issue of OG's Medusa threatened to turn the game on its head. Seemly firmly in control, Nigma took a risky team fight at the 32 minutes mark, only to be wiped out, and in minutes the gold lead was destroyed.
Time and time again, Nigma took risky fights, and OG took control. Slowly but surely, OG took the gold lead from Nigma, despite Nigma having the kill lead. Even the fed Axe and super fed Storm Spirit couldn't stop OG as fights broke out across the lanes.
As things wrapped up, OG were able to take advantage of some bizarre mistakes by Team Nigma lead to a massive high ground push by OG. And once OG were there they refused to leave. Deleting barracks after barracks, the OG resisted each and every one of Team Nigma's attempts to push them back, taking game three after a dramatic turn around.
Hassan Bowl looms
With the loss Nigma is eliminated from ESL One Summer. They head home with $10,000 and some things to think about head of the Western Europe TI Qualifiers.
But in a brilliant turn of events Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan will now have to face his brother Yawar "YawaR" Hassan as OG takes on Quincy Crew tomorrow for a chance to reach the Lower Bracket finals. ESL One Summer continues on July 18th.