Only three teams remain standing at the GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022: Tundra Esports, Nigma Galaxy, and BOOM Esports.
Tundra Esports became the first team to qualify for the grand finals after a dominant 2-0 victory over Nigma Galaxy in the upper bracket finals.
Meanwhile, a resurgent BOOM Esports scored back-to-back 2-0 sweeps over Team Secret and Team Spirit to set up a showdown with Nigma Galaxy in the lower bracket finals.
Tundra Esports continue to be Nigma Galaxy’s kryptonite
Tundra Esports have dominated Nigma Galaxy in their five previous meetings, winning four of those matches while only conceding a best-of-one.
Clearly Tundra know how to draft and play against Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi and his team.
The first game in the series was a one-sided affair with Tundra Esports taking a convincing victory. Nigma Galaxy looked to bounce back with a mobile and fast-paced tempo in game two, taking Ember Spirit as a carry for Igor "iLTW" Filatov, Queen of Pain for Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barkawi, and an offlane Night Stalker on Ivan Borislavov "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov.
Tundra Esports focused on winning their lanes and then using their supports to provide vision for good team fights. Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu on Weaver and Martin "Saksa" Sazdov on Monkey King would use their mobility to poke at enemies while Oliver "skiter" Lepko and Leon "Nine" Kirilin bring enemies down on the Gyrocopter and Kunkka respectively.
It was a fairly even game past the laning stage, with both teams keeping pace with each other. The deciding moment of the match came at the 20-minute mark when Tundra Esports caught MinD_ControL and brought him down. Nigma Galaxy then took an ill-advised fight and lost all their players except for iLTW.
After taking that clean teamfight, Tundra Esports secured the series sweep to claim the first spot in the grand finals and send Nigma Galaxy down to the lower bracket finals.
BOOM Esports knock out Team Secret
The strongest team in Southeast Asia had to pull off an amazing feat to stay alive in the tournament.
BOOM had to defeat both the third place team at The International 10 (TI10) along with the TI10 winners themselves.
The first game in BOOM's series against Secret was the longest game of the tournament, breaking the 60-minute mark.
While both teams kept it close, it was BOOM who came out on top due to an incredible fight 23 minutes into the game, when they brought down all of Secret — including two kills on Singaporean star Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang’s Outworld Destroyer.
The economical damage from the fight was massive for Team Secret, as the SEA team grew their gold advantage from 2,000 before to fight to 8,000 after the dust settled while taking the Aegis.
The best game from the tournament had a lot going for it — Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan played his iconic Storm Spirit, while Souliya "JaCkky" Khoomphetsavong proved his worth on Riki with an incredible 16-3-32 score.
Erin Jasper "Yopaj" Ferrer also amazed viewers with his Kunkka, as he had a net worth of 49,000 gold at the end of the game, with the nearest competitor being SumaiL with 33,000 gold.
After a grueling game one, it was clear that Team Secret had suffered a major blow to their morale.
While the first match was one of the best in the tournament, game two was an absolute beatdown by BOOM Esports as they ended the game in 24 minutes while almost tripling Secret’s kill score.
BOOM Esports upset Team Spirit
If there was one series that could hype up Dota 2 fans even more than BOOM against Secret, it had to be the following match when BOOM took on TI10 champions Team Spirit (though not at full strength, as Vladimir "RodjER" Nikogosian was standing-in for Miroslaw "Mira" Kolpakov).
BOOM had the momentum going into the match, and took down Spirit in game one thanks to the big team fight provided by lore rivals Kunkka and Tidehunter.
BOOM picked Tidehunter again in game two and surprisingly gave it to support player Timothy John "Tims" Randrup. The SEA team went for a durable hero lineup, with Wraith King for JaCkky and Viper on the offlaner Saieful "Fbz" Ilham. Yopaj rounded up the draft with his best hero, Ember Spirit.
Team Spirit went for stable lanes, with Dragon Knight for Alexander "TORONTOTOKYO" Khertek, Doom for Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov, and Disruptor for captain Yaroslav "Miposhka" Naidenov. RodjER would play the Position 4 Enchantress, a hero that can be hit or miss and risky to give farm priority to.
Spirit came out strong in game two, taking the lead after the laning stage. The stable lane strategy for Spirit was working and all three of their cores were top of the net worth at the 15-minute mark.
BOOM were in trouble, and they knew it. The SEA team decided to avoid big team fights and only go for quick pickoffs when they could.
Slowly, Team Spirit’s advantage started to melt away, as BOOM would get a kill or two and then farm the enemy’s side of the map, denying them resources while continuing to grow the BOOM cores.
The vision game was where BOOM defeated Team Spirit, as their control of the Radiant triangle allowed them to get a quick kill on RodjER’s Enchantress.
Less than 20 seconds later, Tims started an incredible fight with Tidehunter's Ravage, allowing BOOM to bring down Collapse and Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk.
BOOM had the stronger late-game draft and after securing the Aegis, Team Spirit had no way to come back and BOOM Esports sent the TI10 champions home.
The final day of the tournament will see BOOM Esports take on Nigma Galaxy in the lower bracket finals.
The winner will earn the right to challenge Tundra Esports in the best-of-five grand finals to determine who will take the GAMERS GALAXY championship and the grand prize of 400,000AED (over US$109,000).
The GAMERS GALAXY Invitational features some of the best Dota 2 teams in the world competing in a LAN for their cut of the AED1,000,000 (over US$270,000) prize pool from 2 to 6 March.
Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.