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The Kyiv Animajor has begun with the Wild Card stage, where only two teams will advance it into the Major’s group stage. With so much on the line, here are the first day’s developments.

A balanced playing field

Almost every match has resulted in a net neutral so far. Nigma took a very close 2-0 victory against AS Monaco gambit, where two unfortunate missed Chronospheres by Kiyalbek “dream” Tayirov eventually cost them the game. However, Nigma also lost 0-2 against Invictus gaming, taking away any advantage they had gained. Beyond the unfortunate plays, AS Monaco Gambit have been holding their own against the rest of the teams in the wild card stage despite coming in with two new players right before the Major.

While many fans might have expected worse from Invictus Gaming due to their hard support, Chan “Oli” Chon Kien missing the major, their coach Su “super” Peng has performed admirably in his stead. With good performances on Disruptor and Ancient Apparition in today’s games, Invictus Gaming have retained their disciplined playstyle despite missing a player and landed in the first place spot on the first day of the Kyiv Animajor Wild Card Stage.

Teamfight execution reigns supreme

The tournament’s metagame has reared its head early on, and the games have been very centered around teamfights and Roshan control. Templar Assassin has taken front and center in the drafts, with a 100% pick/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 teamfighting.

Deep down, though, teamfighting is only so important due to the priority placed on Roshan. So many relevant heroes in the meta can take Roshan so effectively that teams have to prioritize teamfighting for the objective in their drafts.

With the rise of teamfight reliant cores comes supports that prioritize saving their carries, such as Shadow Demon and Winter Wyvern. On the other side of the coin, players have picked Ancient Apparition to supplement the teamfight damage and prevent healing from his enemies. For the games going forward in the Kyiv Animajor, it seems teamfight execution will determine who wins the match.

Nigma fight for their lives tomorrow

Team Nigma came into the Kyiv Animajor fighting for the hope of getting a direct invite to this year’s International. While their victory against AS Monaco Gambit earlier in the day helped them secure the top spot against the rest of the field in the Wild Card stage, their loss to Invictus Gaming now lands them at second.

Tomorrow, Team Nigma must perform well against an equally hungry Execration team and their inter-region rivals, Team Secret. If the entire field goes 1-1, Team Nigma will likely hold their spot in second place and advance to the group stages of the Kyiv Animajor. However, a loss could seal their fate in terms of getting a direct invite to this year’s International.

Even if they make it through, they will need to earn second place in the entire tournament to earn enough DPC points to get a direct invite. Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen broke down Nigma’s chances on Twitter. If Nigma get anything other than first, they will likely have to play through the regional qualifiers in order to make it to The International.