Nigma falters, China dominates the Singapore Major Wild Card

By Tom CockramMarch 28, 2021
It took Team Liquid yet another tie-breaker but they join both PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming in the Group Stage of the ONE Esports Singapore Major 2021. Due to both beastcoast and Natus Vincere withdrawing from the Major, three teams advanced from the Wild Card Stage: luckily for Team Liquid fans as they squeaked through!

The Teams

China looks to be the powerhouse region people thought it would be with both PSG.LGD and Vici Gaming going through in first and second respectively. VG only lost games to PSG.LGD and gave Nigma their only win in a 1-1 draw to split the points. The Chinese region looks to be in good form going into the Group Stage, and it’s a safe bet to say PSG.LGD and VG will make it into the playoffs.
Team Liquid stayed true to their inconsistent form; after their first day of the Wild Card event they managed an amazing score of 6-0 but then on the second day, they went 0-4. They went from looking like an almost guaranteed spot in the Group Stage to having to play a tiebreaker. When Team Liquid was playing their 6-0 Dota, they looked incredibly strong and a team that could do very well in the tournament despite coming from the wild card. However, the 0-4 Liquid could easily find themselves at the bottom of the round-robin Group Stage.
Nigma fans will be severely disheartened with this performance as the team only managed to get one win in the whole Wild Card. It came when they drew with VG in their penultimate game. Nigma was forced to play with their coach Roman "rmN-" Paley when Ivan Borislavov "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov tested positive for Covid-19. While this was a clear step back for them, rmN- is someone they’ve used to fill a missing slot. He's also the coach of the team and, even with a missing MinD_ContRoL, fans expected more than a bottom place finish. On a more positive note, Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasom managed to complete the all hero challenge and has now played all heroes available for Captains Mode.
AS Monaco Gambit were a surprise, nearly making it out of the Wild Card with a best-of-one with Team Liquid to decide the final slot. Before the Wild Card event, we did a power ranking of the teams and had Gambit at the bottom of the group along with T1. However, the team proved that they and the CIS region are stronger than people think, ending with a score of 6-4. Given how stacked the Wild Card was with two teams from China and Europe being present, this was a very strong showing and something Gambit can definitely build on.

The meta picks

Io looks to be back on the cards as teams dominated with it in the carry position. AS Monaco Gambit were the first team to play it, drafting it in their game versus T1, which resulted in a Gambitr victory. I0 was picked 8 times in 31 games and had a 75% win rate and was picked or banned in 29 out of 32 games. Teams seem to be just figuring out the true power of the Io carry with it being picked four times on the last day and Team Liquid relying on it for their crucial tie breakers.
Puck hasn’t dropped off and was the most picked hero with the fairy dragon appearing 17 times with a staggering 70% win rate. Puck was picked or banned in every single game of the Wild Card event. Clearly, this hero is still considered one of the strongest teams in the game at the moment.

The hype moments

The wild card brought us some amazing plays both with huge team fight combinations or very clever use of basic abilities.
Team Liquid ended their Wild Card event in style with Max "qojqva" Bröcke landing a 4-man Cataclysm to truly kill the spirits of Gambit:
Zhao "XinQ" Zixing managed to get an ultra kill just 7 minutes into the game when PSG.LGD played Chinese rivals Vici Gaming:
Tommy "Taiga" Le once again proved his skill by denying Ren "eLeVeN" Yangwei’s Pangolier using Ice Shards to send Pangloier the wrong way:
PSG.LGD, Vici Gaming, and Team Liquid can all celebrate making it through the gauntlet that is the wild cards but now find an even tougher challenge in the group stage. The teams won’t have long to prepare as the group stage starts tomorrow at 4 a.m CET / 7 p.m ET.
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