Team Secret and Nigma are bound to fight for their tournament lives via lower bracket rounds at ESL One Birmingham: Europe and CIS Online after both of them lost their semifinals series last night.
For the European juggernaut this is actually the first time since December 2019 when they will have to prevail through all elimination matches to keep their tournament winning record going. Their loss came at the hands of Alliance, who took the series in a reverse sweep. Game one was an absolute beat down by Secret, who crushed Alliance with Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen’s Lone Druid, but although they got dismantled in the opening match, Alliance bounced back in game two with Nikolay “Nikobaby” Nikolov’s Morphling and a mid lane Ember Spirit messing with Secret’s Troll Warlord in the team fights.
Heading into the decisive game, Team Secret emphasized on the team fight control idea and put Michał “Nisha” Jankowski on a mid lane Beastmaster and Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg on Enigma. Unfortunately for them, Alliance aligned a draft suited for a fast tempo, with Wraith King, Queen of Pain and Kunkka not giving any chance to Secret to farm their key heroes.
The next semifinals of the day pitted Team Nigma versus the VP.Prodigy youngsters, who delivered an exciting series to take down 2-1 the TI9 runner-up lineup. Game one went in VP.P’s favour despite a great effort from Nigma who always played from behind, but never gave up. An Aegis steal by Ivan Borislavov “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov was almost enough to kill the momentum for VP.P around the 39 minute mark, but Nigma were already too far behind when MC delivered the big play.
Game two was secured by Nigma with a last pick Alchemist that put VP.P on a timer. The final game brought a tense fight between the two teams, Nigma going for the Lycan-Invoker split push tactic, while VP.P were holding their ground with a Phantom Lancer until they eventually managed to turn the tides in their favor.
While the two victors of the semifinals will have a day off to prepare for their upper bracket series counting for a top two finish in the tournament, Team Secret and Team Nigma will return to action later today, fighting with elimination on the line in the lower bracket. Team Secret will face off against FlyToMoon at 16:00 CET, followed by Team Nigma taking on Team Liquid.
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