The second part of the story behind Dota 2 Team Nigma and their success. Make sure to read Part 1 first before diving deep into this one. Where we last left off, the roster had just triumphed at TI7 and the story of Team Nigma continues from there.
Post International Dominance
With the beginning of the new season, the squad decided to avoid any roster changes as they were confident and they believed their dominance was just about to start. Truth to be told, it started off pretty well. The team won three out of five Minor tournaments they attended.
On the other two tournaments, they achieved second and third place. However, Minors aren’t so important in Dota 2 and Majors are what actually matters. The squad had a series of solid results, finishing in the Top 4 at all Majors and winning the last China Dota2 Supermajor just prior to The International 2018.
The International 2018
Kuro Salehi “KuroKy” Takhasomi's squad was directly invited to the TI8 as Dota Pro Circuit second-placed team.
Just like on the previous TI, they were placed in Group A and finished it in the first place with a 5-3-0 record. The first opponent in the Main Stage was OpTic Gaming and Liquid had no troubles defeating them.
However, in the second round of Upper Bracket, PSG.LGT swept KuroKy and co. with 2-0 and sent them into the Lower Bracket. From there, they recovered with 2-0 victory against Team Secret only to lose in the Semi-Finals against NA team Evil Geniuses. That was the end of their journey and they finished as the fourth-placed team, taking "only" $1,7 million from the prize pool.
Struggles After TI8
Despite not winning the TI again, this team still refused to make a single change inside of the organization. They were also still considered one of the best teams and fourth place wasn’t that bad after all.
However, the new season came with new problems. First, they failed to qualify for the first Major after being eliminated by newly-formed Team Lithium in the qualifiers. The second Major was followed by a series of unfortunate events and Amer “Miracle-“ Al-Barkawi- couldn’t attend the tournament in China so they had to find a replacement.
- READ MORE: The life and times of Miracle – Part 1
Eventually, Chu “Aventador” Zeyu stepped in but it just wasn’t the same team. Team chemistry was not on point, they had communication issues and finished the tournament at 7-8th place.
The next Major was DreamLeague Season 11. They managed to qualify but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs which was more than disappointing and not enough to qualify for the next TI.
Back in Form
KuroKy had played at every TI since the first one. He never missed The International and he wasn’t about to miss this one either. His team quickly regrouped and went to the Disneyland Paris Major with the sole purpose to qualify for TI. And they did, they managed to get all the way up to the Grand Finals until Team Secret stopped them.
Second place at a Major was enough, however, and they were officially qualified for the TI. Still, they had one more Major to play prior to the TI which was EPICENTER in Moscow. This time, ViCi Gaming stopped them in the Grand Finals and they once again finished at the second place – still a lot better than the whole season before that.
First Roster Change
This team hasn’t been tied to any scandals, in fact, they didn’t even make any roster changes since the establishment of the core. However, just prior to the TI9, the first change happened; Lasse Aukusti "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen was replaced with Aliwi “w33” Omar. The squad got its final form and it didn’t change ever since.
When it comes to MUTAMBAMAN, the future roster of Nigma has been playing with him for years and he was an irreplaceable member of the team for the whole time. Releasing him was one of the hardest decisions KuroKy ever made, but he had to make it. As he said, they needed change and MUTAMBAMAN was only collateral in the process as someone had to go.
“I was basically desperate for 4 weeks afterwards. It sounds silly because I made the decision but, at the end of the day, being captain, leader, and whatever of this team I have so much responsibility. They are all trusting me, after all, to make the right decision. It wasn’t exchanging a player for a batter player, that’s not what happened, it’s more like MUTAMBAMAN was like a victim of these events. I just needed to change something!” - Kuro Salehi “KuroKy” Takhasomi
The International 2019
Unlike the previous two TI’s, this one had a different start. Team Liquid barely made it out of the groups as a seventh-placed team in Group A. They went directly to the Lower Bracket from where they had to fight through a series of 6 elimination matches with no room for any mistakes. And they didn’t make any – they won the first 5 matches without dropping a single game.
The first intense match was against PSG.LGT in the Grand Finals of Lower Bracket. The squad lost the first game but somehow managed to get back in the match and win it. In the Grand Finals, they had to face OG, titleholders and the best team in Dota 2 at that time. Unfortunately, OG were too much for them and they finished the tournament in the frustrating second place.
- READ MORE: The story of OG – Part 1
Followed by that second place, KuroKy and the rest of the squad decided to leave Team Liquid altogether and form their own organization called Team Nigma. It may have come as a surprise but given the financial success of this team, no wonder they all wanted a piece of ownership to split the profit from the upcoming events and sponsors.
Becoming an owner of the team isn’t as easy as it sounds. The stakes are higher and it is not so easy to play because you won’t get paid if you do not win. However, Nigma showed that they could handle the pressure and still perform at a high level. The first Minor event this team played was WePlay! Bukovel 2020 and they won it. They also crushed the WePlay! Dota 2 Tug of War: Mad Moon and grabbed $130,000 with it. They are performing well in online events and we are yet to see them in future LANs. Due to the COVID-19 situation, Major tournaments are canceled and even The International is postponed for 2021 but that hasn't stopped Nigma so far!
We hope you liked the story behind Dota 2 Team Nigma.