All in all, it’s been a disastrous couple of weeks for Nigma Galaxy.

Following a bout of COVID for the team, Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi and his squad played three series in week three of DPC Europe 2021/2022 Tour 2 Division I—and lost them all.

This takes NGX to a 0-4 record, and at serious threat of relegation. Out of the four series, Nigma has managed to win just one game—an ultimately meaningless victory against current top seed Gaimin Gladiators, who has an opposite 4-0 record. NGX’s losses include gifting the previously winless Brame their first series, making KuroKy’s team dead last—and the only team to still be without a series win.

Nigma Galaxy is in trouble—but there are still slivers of hope that fans can grasp onto.

Nigma can still avoid relegation in DPC Europe Tour 2

DPC Europe 2021/22 Tour 2 Division I
Credit: Team Liquid, Team Secret, Valve, and ONE Esports

Aside from their loss to Brame, all three of their losses are against the current top seeds: Gaimin Gladiators, OG, and Tundra Esports.

While matches against Team Liquid and Team Secret, two more titans of the European scene, will be anything but easy, the two teams also look breakable. Both Liquid and Secret have two losses, and it’s not impossible to imagine a scenario where Nigma can claim both series.

Plus, while Nigma’s series against Gladiators is a loss regardless, the undefeated team had to fight tooth and nail. That bodes well for KuroKy’s crew and their quest to ramp up their form.

Besides the two juggernauts, NGX’s next game is against Entity, another squad from Division II last tour. Entity has been performing well—taking games off Tundra and Gladiators, while demolishing fellow promoted Brame. But Nigma needs to meet the challenge and stop the slide here—or a 0-5 record will make it near impossible to avoid the drop.

If the team recovers, however, and manages to get a 3-4 record, they should be safe from relegation. Keeping their spot in Division I means a chance to get to the last Major of the Tour, as well as provide an extra safety net. Should Nigma get relegated, they retain a spot in the Regional Qualifiers that grant one TI11 slot to each region, but will have a harder road.

What happens next if Nigma Galaxy is relegated to Tour 2?

Team Nigma, WePlay Bukovel Minor 2019
Credit: WePlay

For all teams that get relegated in Tour 2, there won’t be any opportunity to appear in Majors for the rest of the year—and the chance to earn any DPC points. That also means missing out on any improvement in The International qualification stock, and Nigma will need to battle for a ticket to TI through the regional qualifiers or last-chance wildcard.

But even if Nigma does get relegated to Division II, it is not the end of the world.

Any Nigma fan worth their salt—and corresponding heart attacks from following the team—know that the squad are notoriously slow starters. It’s what happened at TI7, when they were still Team Liquid, embarking on a lower bracket run to take the Aegis of Champions after losing their first upper bracket series. It’s what happened at TI9, where they eliminated seven teams while starting from the lower bracket best-of-ones to get to the grand finals. It’s what happened last Tour, where a 0-3 start became 4-3 to stave off relegation.

And the moment they get to a LAN event, the team seems to transform. Nigma played their most scintillating Dota in months during the Gamers Galaxy Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022, where they ended up third.

So, the next step? Get to a LAN event. Judging from their trajectory, Nigma’s first and last LAN of the year might be TI11.

But just get there. And the Nigma miracle might wow us yet again.

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