– both teams who have stood on top of the pro scene at times and organization founded by Dota’s greatest captains of all time; Johan “Notail” Sunstein and Kuro “Kuroky” Salehi Takhasomi. The two teams began a friendly rivalry at TI9 when they met in the grand finals. We all know OG won that fated series, however, every meeting of the two since has been a fascinating meeting of Nigma’s steady and calculated 4-protect-1 versus OG’s unpredictable chaos.
“They’re running into us. They’re quick. I’m telling you; they’re monkeys.” – Kuroky, TI9
OG’s wild aggression was too much for Nigma back then, and in their rematch during the DPC regional league, OG pulled out the victory again. So how did Nigma fare against OG this time around? Did they learn from previous matchups at all? It looks like they did, but perhaps they couldn’t quite pull it off.
A winning plan: Drafting against aggression
Nigma began the series with a seemingly perfect plan for OG and overcame them easily. This win was less about play style and all about draft. Nigma anticipated the usual OG antics – absurd levels of aggression and tower diving. To cope, they drafted a tanky core duo of Dragon Knight and Razor. Both of these heroes have no problem with being dived – DK’s immense tankiness and Razor’s Static Link make them both impossible targets for OG’s Ursa and Monkey King to dive.
It wasn’t just Nigma’s cores who were part of the anti-dive brigade. Venomancer and Earthshaker rounded out the draft by counter initiating any kill attempt that OG made. With three melee cores and even Notail’s Puck closing in on their targets, they made themselves vulnerable to huge Echo Slams followed by Venomancer’s numerous slows that would ensure OG are kited for the rest of the fight.
This draft played out almost flawlessly for Nigma – OG couldn’t find any momentum and their core duo fell off fast – they conceded after a single lane of rax fell.
Game two — a missing piece
After game one, it seriously looked like Kuroky had cracked the OG code. In game two, his draft contained the same elements that made game one go so smoothly. A tanky DK frontline, with Phoenix, Death Prophet, and Earthshaker ready to counter initiate whatever OG threw at them.
This time, however, Kuroky tweaked the winning formula to give Miracle his iconic Anti Mage. Even as a last pick, the Anti Mage choice played straight into OG’s hands and provided them a clear win condition against Nigma’s second round of defensive team fight. Unlike game one, Miracle couldn’t be part of Nigma’s defensive team fight formula – they were a man down until he could join with his first fighting items.
OG largely ignored Miracle in the early game, he had just one death at 10 minutes and completed his Battlefury at a respectable 14 minutes. Instead, they focused on shattering the foundation of Nigma’s game - W33’s Dragon Knight. OG forced down his mid tower very early on, even rotating their Juggernaut at 6 minutes to ensure they claimed the tower. With all of their tier ones gone by 11 minutes, Nigma had no map control to work with.
Despite their draft being built to defend, OG’s advantage out of the laning stage gave them too much momentum – Nigma’s heroes were too under-leveled and too under-farmed to execute any team fight. With no Blink Dagger, Earthshaker couldn’t make any instant counter-initiations. With such low levels, Kuroky and GH’s spells were easily ignored.
As Miracle claimed every inch of safe farm on the map, Nigma’s economy froze and the other four members of Nigma were completely suffocated for farm. It didn’t take long for OG to seal the deal on their dominant victory, ensuring the Miracle factor never came into play.
Game three – back to old tricks
By game three, there was no sign of Kuroky’s anti-OG drafting strategy. A classic Nigma draft saw Miracle on Medusa and W33 on Viper. Even so, this game played out just as poorly as game two; OG stomped their lanes even harder, allowing Midone and Sebastien “Ceb” Debs to go on a killing spree with 16 kills each. Once again, Miracle had no time to become the raid boss he had to be and Nigma surrendered the series.
This will be the only time OG and Nigma meet in the regional league – but will we see a rematch at the major? OG have a comfortable 3-1 record while Nigma’s 2-3 score leaves them at risk of not qualifying. Keep up with our event hub
to see if we get to see another installment of this fierce rivalry!