Nigma Galaxy Secures ESL One Birmingham Closed Qualifier Spot Without Facing Opposition
In a surprising development, Nigma Galaxy progressed to the ESL One Birmingham 2024 Middle East and North Africa (MENA) closed qualifier without encountering any opponents. Despite only three teams participating in open qualifier #1, including Nigma, all of them qualified for the closed qualifier due to the availability of three slots. In addition to the first open qualifier, there will be another on 24th Jan 2024, which will also see three more teams move to the closed qualifier, but it is currently unclear whether there will be enough participants considering how the first one transpired.
Nigma Galaxy encounters no opponents on the path to the ESL One Birmingham closed qualifier
While open qualifiers in competitive Dota 2 often witness varying team numbers, ranging from high to occasionally very low, a situation where the number of competing teams equals the number of qualifying spots is quite unusual.
However, in addition to Nigma, Team Revenant and Zolka Warriors have advanced to the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) closed qualifier of ESL One Birmingham 2024, where Team Falcons and PSG Quest await, having received direct invites.
In the 2024 competitive season, ESL events have begun to serve as significant replacements for Valve's Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), which did not include MENA as a separate region. Most of the teams in the region participated in Western Europe.
Even the qualifiers for BetBoom Dacha Dubai included a separate MENA qualifier, indicating that this might become a pattern in the coming time.
Meanwhile, while Nigma likely appreciates a free path to the closed qualifier, it would have also preferred to pick up some match practice considering recent roster changes.
Having released Daniel "Ghost" Chan and Roman "rmN-" Paley in just two weeks, Nigma recruited Saieful "Fbz" Ilham from Southeast Asia and Farith "Matthew" Puente from South America to round out its Dota 2 roster just recently.
As a result, during the ESL One Birmingham qualifiers, Nigma will be under a lot of pressure following the loss of BetBoom Dacha Dubai and DreamLeague Season 22. Among the main competitors are once again Team Falcons and PSG Quest, and with just one spot up for grabs, it will be an intense battle.
As Nigma has only had a short time to put together its roster, it remains to be seen if the team is up to the task. The closed qualifiers for the event in MENA begin on 28th Jan 2024.