Opening the 12th day, the ESL One Birmingham Online EU/CIS Playoffs opened with the Lower Bracket Semi-finals between Team Secret and Nigma. In a thrilling Bo3, Secret finally eliminates Nigma from the tournament.
Due to GH’s internet issue, he was not able to connect to the game lobby. After 20 minutes of waiting, the admins automatically gave Secret the game 1 win.
A 13-minute gg from Nigma
In the first phase, Nigma opened with Kuroky Witch Doctor and Mind Control Beastmaster. While Secret responded with Zai Earthshaker and Puppey Chen. The next pick phase featured GH’s IO and Miracle Slark, while Secret drafted Yapzor’s Winter Wyvern and Nisha Leshrac. For their last pick, Secret drafted Matu’s Bloodseeker then Nigma had the overall last pick with W33 Batrider.
Early on, the Slark and IO combo dominated their lane by leeching Agility to harass the Shaker and Wyvern lane. After securing some early permanent agi, Slark and IO quickly rotated near the top rune. The Rupture into the Leshrac burst was Secret’s play, but with the heals from WD and IO, Slark turned the fight for a 3-1 trade in Nigma’s favor. But a notable thing that also made Slark survive in this fight was the presence of two Bracers. Most Slarks go for two Wraith Bands, but with Miracle, he knew that the additional 4% Magic Resistance from each Bracer would be the key to avoid getting bursted by Secret.
Nine minutes in, Miracle already had 7 permanent Agility and even though he is off to a good start, W33 was also taking over the game with an early Boots of Travel that allowed him to roam around and secure experience to be the highest level by 11 minutes. By this time, MC had Necrobook 1 and Miracle already had Diffu.
Nigma played all over Secret’s side of the map, and because of this, they shut down Zai as he remained level 5 in 12 minutes. With their aggression, Gh and Miracle set a new record by having the highest assists and kills by 12 minutes. Their duo joined forces to give Nigma 12 of their 21 total kills to set that record. At 13 minutes, Secret finally called gg behind Miracle’s 12/0/4 as he eclipsed everyone’s CS with 98 last hits. In comparison, the highest CS for Secret was Matu with 54 last hits. The 5k total heal from Gh and Kuro was also the key to limit their team deaths to six throughout the game.
To sum up game 1, Nigma’s win can be attributed to the good start of Miracle and Gh. Even though Matu had a good start, the six-minute rotation by W33 slowed down Matu’s farm by killing him and at the same time he recovered some lost gold from laning. With these factors, Nigma perfectly capitalized these advantages to be aggressive and choke the life out of Secret in game 2.
Secret stomps back harder
In game 3, Secret focused on objectives with Matu Lone Druid, Nisha Morphling, Zai Nature’s Prophet, Yapzor Earthshaker, and Puppey Puck. Meanwhile Nigma went for the late game and team fight with a last-pick Spectre for Miracle, W33 Viper, MC Weaver, Gh Tusk, and Kuroky Shadow Demon.
In the first two minutes, W33 already killed Nisha twice in mid. However, the rotations from Puppey gave Secret that little advantage in their lanes With this lead, Yapzor and Zai was able to help in rotations and group up as five to secure some pushes. In this game, Secret combined for a total of 28k building damage compared to Nigma’s 951.
These numbers alone explain how well Secret controlled the map. Secret took advantage of their mobility and capitalized on the lack of hard disables from Nigma by ganking isolated heroes and engaging them in team fights. Although they were ahead by 7k by 18 minutes, Secret was still patient as they did not force any unfavorable fights that put their cores at a bad spot.
After a rough laning phase, Nisha Morph recovered to have Manta, Ethereal, and Skadi; Zai had Mek, Malev, and Silver Edge; while Matu had Madness, Deso, and MKB by the 30-minute mark. The item timings on Secret gave then the chance to limit the farm of Nigma’s cores by hunting them non-stop, especially Miracle.
Aside from great team fight, the coordination of skills was also top notch as Puppey and Matu landed some kills with the Coil into Fear combo. Furthermore, the target priority such as in this clip was a sight to behold.
In most fights, Yapzor’s stuns allowed Nisha and the rest of Secret to focus Shadow Demon and Weaver before ripping Nigma apart. Because of this, they shut down Kuro to a 0/10/1 standing and left Nigma without saves in fights.
On top of that, the global presence from Zai’s NP gave Secret some key kills with his Malev and Silver Edge. With that, Zai dished out the most hero damage that totaled to 32k. Secret became unstoppable as they take game 3 pretty convincingly at 40-7 kill score in 32 minutes.
Despite a tough start, Nisha came back strong by having the highest networth and finishing with 13/2/8. He also dealt about 67% of their building damage amounting to 18k. Another unsung hero was Yapzor who remained deathless as he finished with 1/0/21.
With great team fight and target priority, Secret won this series with sheer discipline and patience. They did not let W33 Viper control the tempo of the game. As a result, Nisha recovered and did some heavy carrying later into the game.
With their victory, Secret heads onto the Lower Bracket Finals and have their shot for a Grand Final appearance. On the other hand, Nigma still had a pretty solid run as they finish top 4 in this tournament. Can Secret get another championship title today? Share your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned for more!