Image Courtesy: Nigma
They’ve actually pulled it off! NA hopefuls Fighting Pandas managed to pull off the biggest upset of the new year yet. They managed to beat Team Nigma 2-1 and secured a place in the winners match.
The TI9 Runner Ups came into this tournament as favourites but they failed to live up to their expectations in their opening match.
With this victory, Fighting Pandas are just 1 win away from a place in the playoffs.
Fighting Pandas vs Nigma
Game 1: The first game started with Nigma snowballing to a massive lead after multiple pickoffs on Bryle’s Shadow Fiend. With all three of their cores leading the networth charts, Nigma looked like they were on cruise control.
But EE and Bryle managed to make some smart rotations around the map, to avoid getting picked off by W33’s Lina and Mind_Contr0L’s Nature’s Prophet. They eventually caught up to the Europeans and turned the game around with an overwhelming amount of physical damage combined with great ganks on Nigma’s cores. They eventually claimed victory after catching out the European players without Buybacks and took the throne.
Game 2: Nigma answered by picking up a far more aggressive lineup and choked out Fighting Pandas with multiple 5-man teamwipes before the 15-minute mark to easily snowball to a 22-minute victory.
Game 3: Fighting Pandas finally managed to figure out their lanes in the deciding game. They managed to draw even, despite having the weaker laning lineup on paper. Bryle on the Storm Spirit was fed a number of kills by the Nigma heroes, allowing him to finish up a quick Bloodstone and buy time for EE to come online on his Phantom Lancer.
Both the cores of Fighting Pandas had perfect games putting up 14/0/11 and 9/0/7 scores, destroying the TI9 runner-ups to secure victory and push them to an elimination match.
Team Nigma will now have to compete in an elimination match against FURIA/Gambit Esports later in the day. A loss there would knock them out of the tournament on the first day.