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WePlay AniMajor Wild Card: Team Nigma, Vici Gaming Qualify to Group Stage

Patch 7.29d’s nerfs weren’t enough to make the every-hero-is-viable strategy die. The WePlay AniMajor Wild Card saw a lot of heroes drafted in just two days. Some teams stuck to their tried and tested strategies, while others experimented. At the end of the day, all strategies were viable and entertaining, even with the event’s own set of misplays and mishaps.

Courtesy of Valve

Each team in the Wild Card played five series of Bo2s over the two days, which comes to 10 matches each. The standings for the Wild Card were as follows:

 TeamW-D-L (Bo2 Series)W-L (Per Match)
1Vici Gaming2-3-07-3
2Team Nigma2-2-16-4
3Invictus Gaming2-2-16-4
4Execration0-4-14-6
5Team Secret0-4-14-6
6AS Monaco Gambit0-3-23-7

Vici Gaming and Team Nigma qualified to the AniMajor Group Stage while the rest have been eliminated. Team Nigma and IG played a tiebreaker for the second-third spots.

Day 1

Wild Card Day 1 was wild. And I’m not saying that to make a cheeky pun.

Day 1 of the AniMajor Wild Card was one of the most exciting days that professional Dota has seen in a very long time. It was a TI-level gameday with top-tier teams from all around the world vying for the two spots at the AniMajor Group Stage.

Execration was the underdog with everyone pitching in to say that SEA will be the bottom of the table, but it destroyed expectations. Handling its own against top dogs Team Secret, Invictus Gaming and Vici Gaming, Execration drew 1-1 in all three of its series.             

The day was jam packed with close matches. Six of the eight Bo2 series on Day 1 ended in draws. Team Nigma and Invictus Gaming were the only ones to win their series 2-0. While Nigma defeated AS Monaco Gambit, IG managed to outplay Nigma in a 2-0 win.

Gambit’s performance was largely impacted by its unfortunate roster change, and even though the team looked shaky, it managed to snatch a game off Team Secret. IG started lukewarm, but showed its Singapore Major form later in the day. IG’s coach Su “super” Peng stood in for Chan “Oli~” Chon Kien after Oli received a false positive test for COVID-19, preventing him from attending the AniMajor.

Day 1 of the WePlay AniMajor Wild Card ended with all teams in a neck-to-neck battle. Secret was the big upset as it sat at the bottom of the table but was still able to deliver quality entertainment in the game against Vici Gaming. Team Secret vs. Vici Gaming was the most entertaining series of the day.

VG and Nigma looked strong right behind IG, which topped the board, but everything was too close to solidify any predications on who would make it to the Group Stage.

You can watch the VODs for all the Day 1 games on the following links:

Stream A VoD

Stream B VoD

Day 2

Day 2 of the AniMajor Wild Card was a lot clearer, but things got hairy as the day progressed. Very hairy.

ASM Gambit was the first team to be eliminated from the Wild Card with its 2-0 defeat at the hands of VG’s top-notch gameplay. While “old eLeVeN” and “Ori” had a great showing on Day 1, they still ended up drawing all their matches. On Day 2, “poyoyo” made all the difference. No other team managed to secure a tiebreaker against VG, making it the first team to go through to the Group Stage with comfortable victories on Day 2.

Execration’s drawing spree came to and end at the hands of Team Nigma, but boy did Execration look strong. Its series against Secret was entertaining with both teams playing on even footing and splitting the Bo2.

While IG was picking up the pace, it still couldn’t take any game off its Chinese rivals, VG. Gambit was already out but did everything in its power to make IG earn a draw. IG was frustrated but manage to 2-0 Team Secret.

As the day was coming to an end, Secret had lost one game to Nigma. Team Nigma was dominating Secret in Game 2 of their series when the Dota 2 server crashed at about 16 minutes. No players, observers or casters were able to reconnect to the game.

After around an hour of waiting and discussions, Team Secret had offered a “complete remake with new drafts” but the ultimate decision came from Valve to remake the game with the same draft and starting items.

The remade game was wildly different from the first one. Team Nigma fought hard; “iLTW” almost replicated “Miracle-“‘s Ultra Kill from the previous game (that had crashed), but Secret had learned its lesson. Since the remake restrictions only applied to starting items, Secret adapted and changed its early- and mid-game item builds to counter Nigma every step of the way. Nisha’s Blink Dagger instead of his earlier Hood of Defiance purchase enabled him to jump Nigma’s supports in the back lines, securing Team Secret numerous fights.

Nigma lost the second game to end the series in a draw. This is one of the rare times when an unprecedented mishap caused a game to be remade. Six years back, the game could have been started right where it crashed with the Replay Takeover feature that Dota 2 had. But alas, that feature wasn’t added to the game since it moved to the Source 2 engine in 2015.

With this draw, IG was pitted against Team Secret. IG managed to 2-0 Team Secret as “Emo” took the reins on this one, crushing its opponents. With this win, IG had eliminated Secret from the AniMajor and forced a tiebreaker with Nigma to qualify for the Group Stage.

IG tried to replicate the success it had in its last game against Secret with Emo on the Morphling, and they did have a strong showing too, but Team Nigma’s perseverance prevailed in two decisive fights. In the latter, Nigma managed to wipe out IG, which did not have any buy backs. Off the back of iLTW’s Luna Moon Glaiving IG’s building with the help of Alacrity, Nigma finished an absolute nail-biter in its favor to secure a spot in the Group Stage, keeping its dreams of going to The International 10 alive.

You can watch the VoDs for all the Day 2 games on the following links:

Stream A VoD

Stream B VoD

Even with their losses and failure to qualify to the Group Stage, both Team Secret and Invictus Gaming will be attending The International 10 alongside the already qualified Evil Geniuses and Virtus.pro.

With the Wild Cards wrapped up, the WePlay AniMajor Group Stages will now begin with the first match between Evil Geniuses and TNC Predator. Over the next nine days, the teams qualifying for The International 10 will be finalized as the last Major of the Dota Pro Circuit 2021 comes to an end.

You can catch all the AniMajor matches on the following links:

WePlay AniMajor Stream A

WePlay AniMajor Stream B

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