It’s a tale of two Dota 2 legends.
On one side, you have Clement “Puppey” Ivanov and Team Secret, who managed second in the Western Europe Qualifier and made it Singapore for a chance at The International 2022 (TI11).
While the last chance qualifiers are a slim hope for a chance to play at the Main Event, at least it’s still part of of the biggest esports tournament in the world.
However, on the other side, you have Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi and Nigma Galaxy, who won't be anywhere near TI11 after a dismal run, knocked out by their eternal rival and friends Team Secret in the Lower Bracket Quarterfinals.
Much of their run felt odd despite the stellar players in their team, which featured an all-star squad of previous TI winners such as Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan and Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi. KuroKy himself has won a TI, too.
However, the onus of their defeats lie with the poor drafts by KuroKy, and his somewhat lacklustre performance as captain.
He did not make full use of the talents of his squad, and I have the feeling Nigma would have done better had KuroKy made space for a new captain and taken up a coaching role.
The numbers, too, don't lie.
To be fair, Puppey did play more games, which could affect the stats. But the fact he's playing more games also means his team obviously performed better.
Under KuroKy's leadership, Nigma have floundered, dropping to the second division for DPC WEU 2021/2022 Tour 3. They had placed eighth in Tour 2.
It has not been a good year for the team, who have failed to make it to any Majors. They were also eliminated right at the Playoff stage, losing to Thunder Awaken 2-0 at ESL One Malaysia.
There have been sparks of brilliance at times, but these have been noticeably absent when it mattered. That's a sad state of affairs for a team that pull one of the biggest crowds for fan events.
Perhaps it's time for the members to go their separate ways.
Individually, they have great talent, but the chemistry and the synergy to make it work doesn't seem to be there.
KuroKy's draft and plays seem off at times. While Puppey will occasionally show stubborn drafts that don't work, KuroKy's picks don't make sense.
But it may not be entirely his fault. I'm not privy to how Nigma does their draft, whether it's a "my way or the highway" type or a collaborative decision.
Regardless, it just shows that it's not working either way.
I guess it's time to let go, to move on. I don't expect the squad to stay together for another season.
I don't think KuroKy should retire just yet, there's still some game in him yet, I'm sure.
But maybe what he needs is a fresh start, new ideas, and new teammates.
Puppey's notorious for cutting members out of Secret when they don't work, and maybe it's time for KuroKy to do the same.
It may be comfortable for him to keep the players that he has played with for the last five years (or more) such as Miracle- and Ivan "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov, and Maroun "GH" Merhej, but respectfully, it's time for a change.
Otherwise, I'm guessing we're set for another lacklustre DPC Tour from the squad in an extremely competitive region.
And that's really not how I want KuroKy's legend to end, not with a bang but the softest of whispers.
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com. Views expressed are the writer's own.
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