Lima Major champions Gaimin Gladiators and The International 11 (TI11) champions Tundra Esports lead the first five teams to secure upper bracket berths in the ESL One Berlin Major 2023 Playoffs after the fourth day of the Group Stage on Saturday (29 April).
The defending Major champions were the first team to claim an upper bracket spot in Group A while Tundra, super stand-in squad OG, TI10 champions Team Spirit, and North America's Shopify Rebellion locked up the Top 4 in Group B.
Meanwhile, three teams have already been mathematically eliminated from the tournament: Southeast Asia's Execration, North America's TSM, and China's Invictus Gaming.
Gaimin Gladiators secure upper bracket in Group A, six teams still contesting Playoff spots
The fourth day of the Berlin Major Group Stage ended with Gaimin Gladiators rising above what has become a bloodbath in Group A. After racking up a 10-2 record through day three, the Lima Major champions split their only match of day four against 9 Pandas to improve to 11-3 and lock up an upper bracket berth.
But while Gaimin Gladiators sit comfortably atop the standings, six teams are in a fierce race for the remaining Playoff spots. Three of those teams will make the upper bracket, two will have to settle for the lower bracket, while one will be going home early.
Eastern Europe's 9 Pandas currently sit in second place while there is a four-way tie for third between Western European juggernauts Team Liquid, South America's Evil Geniuses (EG), as well as China's PSG.LGD and Team Aster.
Liquid, EG, and PSG.LGD have 8-6 records while Aster has 8-8. Just behind the pack is Eastern Europe's BetBoom Team with a 7-7 standing.
The stakes will be high for the final day of Group Stage action for Group A, featuring matches between PSG.LGD and BetBoom, Gaimin Gladiators and TSM, Liquid and EG, as well as 9 Pandas and Execration.
Meanwhile, Execration and TSM were among the first teams to be eliminated from the Major after only managing 3-11 and 2-12 records, respectively.
With the Top 4 of Group B set, Talon and Xtreme fight for lower bracket
While Group A has been chaotic, the competition over in Group B has largely settled as all the upper bracket spots there have been claimed.
Tundra overtook OG as the first seed of Group B, sweeping China's Xtreme Gaming and South America's Beastcoast to lock up an upper bracket berth with a 12-2 record. They only have match left to play against Southeast Asia's Team SMG.
OG also swept Beastcoast before drawing with Shopify Rebellion, ending their Group Stage run with a 12-4 record and a spot in the upper bracket. It bears repeating, OG did this with two stand-ins in Nigma Galaxy's Ivan "MinD_ControL" Ivanov and Old G's Kartik "Kitrak" Rathi, who have both performed excellently.
Spirit and Shopify Rebellion round out Group B's Top 4 with 10-4 and 9-5 records, respectively. The two teams still have one match left to play, with Spirit going uo against Southeast Asia's Talon Esports and Shopify set to face Xtreme.
The last two Playoff spots for Group B in the lower bracket are still up for grabs between four teams: Talon, Xtreme, Beastcoast, and Team SMG. Talon and Xtreme have the best odds with 6-8 and 5-9 records, respectively, while both Beastcoast and Team SMG are at 4-10.
All four teams will be playing in the final day of the Group Stage to determine who else can advance to the Playoffs.
Finally, China's Invictus Gaming is the first team to be eliminated from Group B after only managing a 2-12 record.
Here are the standings in the Berlin Major Group Stage after the fourth day of competition:
Gaimin Gladiators: 11-3
9 Pandas: 9-5
Team Liquid: 8-6
Evil Geniuses: 8-6
Team Aster: 8-8
Tundra Esports: 12-2
Team Spirit: 10-4
Shopify Rebellion: 9-5
Talon Esports: 6-8
Xtreme Gaming: 5-9
Team SMG: 4-10
Invictus Gaming: 2-12
The Berlin Major Group Stage will see the 18 participating teams split into two groups of nine teams each competing across five days for spots in the Playoffs. The Group Stage follows a single round-robin format with best-of-two matches.
At the end of the Group Stage, the six best-performing teams from each group will advance to the Playoffs while the bottom three will be eliminated. The top four of each group will begin the Playoffs in the upper bracket while the fifth to sixth-placed teams will have to start from the lower bracket.
The Berlin Major will take place from 26 April to 7 May and will feature 18 of the best teams in the DPC battling for their share of the US$500,000 prize pool and 2,700 DPC point pool. Those DPC points will go towards securing all-important direct invites to this year's iteration of The International, Dota 2's annual multimillion dollar world championship tournament.
For everything you need to know about the Berlin Major, check here.