A struggling Nigma Esports squad stays alive at the WePlay! Bukovel Minor after overcoming the resilient Gambit Esports in an intense, back-and-forth series, 2-1. Nigma advance to the Lower Bracket Finals against Geek Fam.

Game one

Gambit opened the series with a high-damage, ranged tri-core of Drow Ranger for Kiyalbek “dream`” Tayirov, Storm Spirit for Danil “gpk” Skutin, and a position-4 Puck for Danial “XSvamp1Re” Alibaev, with Maxim “Shachlo” Abramovskikh on Abaddon to man the frontlines.

Meanwhile, Nigma opted for a tri-core of Ursa for Aliwi “w33” Omar, a Quas-Wex mid Invoker for Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi, and an offlane Nature’s Prophet for Ivan “MinD_ControL” Ivanov.

Nigma had a great start to the game and had a 5k gold advantage after 10 minutes, as all their cores had good lanes while dream’s Drow Ranger was heavily shut down. However, the CIS squad clawed their way back to the game by getting multiple pickoffs on Nigma’s cores, most of which were on w33’s Ursa.

MinD_ControL was key in keeping Nigma in the game, as he split-pushed and set up pickoffs to prevent Gambit from taking objectives. However, the CIS squad was able to force a fight for Roshan and get four kills to get in good position to close out the game. gpk eventually forced Nigma to call GG at the 37-minute mark in style, as he got an Aghanim’s Scepter then immediately landed a 3-man Electric Vortex to seal the deal.

Game two

Nigma looked to bounce back in game two by taking things late with Miracle- on Phantom Lancer and w33 on Outworld Devourer, while MinD_ControL took up Omniknight to protect his carries.

Gambit opted for a high-damage core duo of Morphling for dream` and Shadow Fiend for gpk, with Shachlo on Underlord to act as their lineup’s frontline tank.

Nigma came out ahead after the laning phase as both Miracle- and w33 had a good start while dream struggled, which put a lot of pressure on gpk to make space for his fellow carry to catch up. But he could do little to stop Nigma from going on the offensive and taking over the map.

Gambit tried their best to fend Nigma off but they were simply too far ahead and were able to tie the series up after 40 minutes, with Miracle- and w33 notably finishing with a combined 21-3-10 KDA.

Game three

For the decider, Gambit opted for a highly-mobile lineup of Ursa for dream`, Magnus for gpk, and Batrider for Shachlo while Nigma ran with Miracle= on Ember Spirit and w33 on Outworld Devourer once more.

Thing started hitting up very quickly as both teams started brawling all around the map, resulting in 28 total kills just over 14 minutes into the game. Nigma was pulling ahead in the clashes, however, as Miracle- was running a train through the Gambit lineup.

Gambit was showing signs of life thanks to gpk, who hit a huge Reverse Polarity in a fight by the Roshan pit that let them teamwipe Nigma and claim the Aegis. However, they almost immediately lost that advantage when dream` got picked off soon after.

gpk almost single-handedly kept Gambit in the game, as the threat of him hitting another huge ultimate was enough to keep their opponents at bay. However, even his masterful performance was not enough to stop Nigma’s relentless assault as they eventually forced the GG call after 42 minutes.

With their win, Nigma lock up a Top 3 finish at the Minor — along with US$54,000 and 110 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points — even after their underwhelming start to the tournament.

However, the real prize for them remains the coveted direct invite to the Leipzig Major. To get that, they must first go through Geek Fam in the Loser’s Bracket Final to see who gets to face off against Royal Never Give Up for the championship.

Meanwhile, Gambit bow out at 4th place with US$42,000 and 90 DPC points in consolation.

READ MORE: WePlay! Bukovel Minor Day 3 Upper Bracket Finals: RNG advance to the Grand Finals with a 2-1 victory over Geek Fam