Three takeaways from the first day of the Kyiv Animajor Wild Card stage

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The Kyiv Animajor started with the Wild Card stage, where only two teams will advance it into the Major’s group stage. With so much at stake, here are the developments for Day One.

A balanced playing field

Almost every game so far has resulted in a clean neutral. Nigma won a very narrow 2-0 victory over AS Monaco, where two ill-fated Missed Chronospheres from Kiyalbek “dreamed” Tayirov ultimately cost them the match. However, Nigma also lost 0-2 to Invictus Gaming, taking away any advantage they had gained. Beyond the unfortunate games, AS Monaco Gambit held their own against the rest of the teams at the wild card stage despite the arrival of two new players just before the Major.

While many fans might have expected worse from Invictus Gaming due to their unconditional support, with Chan “Oli” Chon Kien missing the major, their coach Su “super” Peng performed admirably in his stead. With strong performances on Disruptor and Ancient Apparition in today’s games, Invictus Gaming maintained its disciplined playstyle despite the absence of a player and clinched the top spot on day one of the Kyiv Animajor Wild Card. Traineeship.

The execution of team fights reigns supreme

The tournament metagame kicked in early on, and the games were very much focused on team fights and Roshan control. Templar Assassin took center stage in the draft, with a 100% select / ban rate across all 16 games today, according to Dotabuff. Other heroes with a pronounced presence are Faceless Void, Puck, Mars, and Dark Seer – and all of them specialize in team combat.

Deep down, however, team combat is only important because of the priority given to Roshan. So many relevant heroes in the meta can take Roshan so effectively that teams have to prioritize team fights for the objective in their drafts.

With the rise of hearts dependent on team fights, supports are prioritizing saving their transports, such as Shadow Demon and Winter Wyvern. On the other side of the coin, players chose Ancient Apparition to supplement team combat damage and prevent enemies from healing. For the upcoming matches in the Kyiv Animajor, it looks like the execution of the team fights will determine who wins the match.

Nigma fight for their life tomorrow

Team Nigma entered the Kyiv Animajor fighting in hopes of securing a direct invite to this year’s International. While their victory over AS Monaco Gambit earlier today helped them secure first place against the rest of the field in the Wild Card phase, their loss to Invictus Gaming now places them in second place.

Tomorrow, Team Nigma must perform well against an equally hungry Execration team and their interregional rivals, Team Secret. If the whole peloton goes to 1-1, the Nigma team will likely retain their second place spot and advance to the Kyiv Animajor group stage. However, a loss could seal their fate in terms of a direct invitation to this year’s International.

Even if they are successful, they will need to earn second place overall in the tournament to earn enough DPC points to get a direct invite. Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen smashed Nigma’s chances on Twitter. If Nigma gets anything other than the first, he’ll likely have to compete in the regional qualifiers to get to The International.

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