Two historical Dota 2 organizations are battling to avoid relegation to the lower division of the 2021/2022 Dota Pro Circuit Western Europe (DPC WEU).

Alliance and Nigma Galaxy (NGX) will be duking it out in the upper division of DPC WEU in a series that could dictate their fates for the next season.

Falling to the lower division doesn’t just mean lower prize pools; it could mean losing a ticket to TI altogether, since only upper-division teams can earn DPC points and qualify for Majors.

Based on their previous performances, the loser of this series will likely find themselves in the DPC WEU lower division next season, though there’s still an opportunity for other teams to capitulate.

Alliance vs. Nigma Galaxy: Who will prevail?

NGX and Alliance last met in the Upper Bracket Round 1 of OGA Dota Pit Season 5 back in December 2021. This was their first series after TI10, which NGX won 2-1.

It’s still difficult to get a read on how these two teams will line up against each other. However, with a prior win against Alliance, and more dominant performances recently, NGX are heading into this matchup as favorites.

How can Nigma Galaxy win in this matchup?

Team Nigma at the Leipzig Major 2019.
Credit: DreamHack/Adrela Sznajder

NGX gave their fans an early Christmas present on December 18, showing off a dominant 2-0 performance against Team Secret, a roster that recently added star power in midlaner Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan and offlaner Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang.

The series saw Jordanian midlaner Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi on a heavier farm role on a Hand of Midas Doom and Medusa, while Russian carry prodigy Igor “iLTW” Filatov played an active carry Queen of Pain.

For NGX, a direct dichotomy between Miracle- and iLTW’s in-game roles will likely serve them well. If Miracle- gets his hands on Puck, he’ll be able to freely rotate. They can then put iLTW on Phantom Assassin or Luna to capitalize on the space.

If the superstar midlaner prefers Shadow Fiend or Medusa, iLTW has proven that he can take a more direct role, even on more unconventional heroes like Queen of Pain, or his favored Ember Spirit.

This brief swelling of hope can be a springboard for Nigma Galaxy to close out the DPC WEU season. After Alliance, Kuro “KuroKy” Takhasomi’s team will meet an undefeated Liquid and the winless Coolguys.

If NGX pulls off another upset against their former org and take care of business against Coolguys, the team has a good shot at making the Major.

How can Alliance win in this matchup?

Credit: DreamHack/Adrela Sznajder

Alliance will likely need to batten down the hatches during the laning stage, and hopefully not bleed out too much before the late game.

All three of Alliance’s cores are used to playing with more gold, and they may still be figuring out a farm distribution that works for the team. If they can reach the later stages of the game—a luxury they’ve not been able to hit—Alliance would find their best shot at taking down NGX.

New offlaner Rodrigo “Leslão” Santos and support Adam “Aramis” Moroz will need to regain the form they displayed on previous teams, where they were usually the ones pushing the tempo and dictating team fights on heroes like Dark Seer and Rubick.

Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov excels when he gets to free farm and take over the game late with his usual selection of hard carries, assisted by midlaner Ondřej “Supream^” Štarha, who has transitioned to a more active role with heroes like Quas-Wex Invoker and Queen of Pain.

Even if Alliance beats NGX, the roster will have a hard time ahead of them. Liquid and OG Esports, the two hottest teams in the region, are waiting in the wings with a direct invite to the next Major’s main event on the line.

Alliance clashes with NGX on January 5, 10p.m. GMT+8|6 a.m. PT|2 p.m. GMT.

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