Alliance’s new roster, now captained by returning member Gustav “s4” Magnusson, defeated Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) in a back-and-forth, 67-kill slugfest in game two of their group stage match at the ESL One Los Angeles EU-CIS online regional league.
Alliance looked to bounce back in the second game of the series after suffering a humiliating defeat in game one, which ended with NiP holding a lopsided 21-3 kill lead.
The Swedish squad ran with a lategame lineup headlined by Spectre for Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov, with Linus “Limmp” Blomdin on Void Spirit, s4 on Axe, Simon “Handsken” Haag on a support Phoenix, and stand-in support player Andreas Per “Xibbe” Ragnemalm on Witch Doctor.
Meanwhile, NiP opted for a hard-hitting mobile composition with Nikita “Daxak” Kuzmin on Ursa Warrior, Jason “TANNER” Weedon on a mid lane Monkey King, stand-in offlaner Evgeniy “Blizzy” Ree on Omniknight, stand-in support player Milan “MiLAN” Kozomara on a support Weaver, and Peter “ppd” Dager on Grimstroke.
Both teams were aggressive from the get-go and took turns winning the early engagements, although neither ended up gaining much of an edge from them. While Alliance was able to secure the first Aegis of the Immortal at the 22-minute mark, both sides entered the midgame on relatively even footing.
Despite having the Aegis in the hands of Nikobaby, Alliance gave their opponents the momentum by losing an ill-advised fight at the 25-minute mark against an NiP side that held the high ground advantage.
However, Alliance were able to slow down their opponents’ aggression from there while being able to pick which fights they would take. Clutch plays from Limmp and Handsken in back-to-back crucial team fights at the 31 and 33-minute marks then allowed the Swedes to take back the lead.
While Alliance looked like they were in control 35 minutes into the game, NiP stopped them in their tracks by taking down Limmp twice with the Aegis, then started threatening their opponents’ base.
The game looked like it could go either way from there, as both teams expended multiple buybacks in a huge, drawn-out team fight by Alliance’s barracks at the middle lane.
In what ended up being the deciding clash of the game, at the 43-minute mark, Alliance’s support duo came through in the clutch by catching out Daxak without buyback. That enabled the rest of their teammates to clean up the remaining enemy heroes and force the GG call from NiP after an action-packed 45 minutes.
Limmp notched a game-high 13 kills and 19 assists against only three deaths, while Nikobaby and s4 each had nine kills of their own to pull out a close win for Alliance.
While Alliance did win game two of the series, NiP ended up spoiling the competitive debut of their opponents’ new roster by winning game three and taking the series, 2-1.
Both teams will continue their group stage campaigns at the ESL One Los Angeles EU-CIS online league on April 7, with Alliance going up against Team Liquid while NiP will take on Team Secret.