Dota 2 Berlin Major: OG shine in Group Stage opening day despite two stand-ins

OG were one of four teams in the Berlin Major that had to play with stand-ins, due to visa issues.

·4-min read
OG had a perfect 4-0 start to the Group Stage of the ESL One Berlin Major 2023 despite being forced to play with two stand-ins. Pictured: OG Taiga. (Photo: ESL)
OG had a perfect 4-0 start to the Group Stage of the ESL One Berlin Major 2023 despite being forced to play with two stand-ins. Pictured: OG Taiga. (Photo: ESL)

The ESL One Berlin Major 2023 kicked off on Wednesday (26 April) with its five-day Group Stage, and even this early on, the Major has produced some surprising results.

Western Europe's OG are leading the competition as the only team to manage a perfect 4-0 start despite fielding two stand-ins.

OG top Group B despite having two stand-ins

After offlaner Dmitry "DM" Dorokhin, team captain Evgenii "Chu" Makarov, and coach Mikhail "Misha" Agatov were sidelined due to visa issues, OG were forced to tap Nigma Galaxy's Ivan "MinD_ControL" Ivanov and Old G's Kartik "Kitrak" Rathi as stand-ins.

Despite the shakeup, OG looked strong as they started their campaign in Berlin with back-to-back sweeps over Southeast Asia's Team SMG and China's Xtreme Gaming (XG). The Western European powerhouse ended day one of the Major atop the standings of Group B.

Sitting behind OG are The International 11 (TI11) champions Tundra Esports and North America's Shopify Rebellion, each with a 3-1 record. Both teams drew with TI10 champions Team Spirit and swept China's Invictus Gaming (IG).

Spirit and South America's Beastcoast sit in the middle of the pack with 2-2 records apiece. Spirit drew with Tundra and Shopify Rebellion while Beastcoast drew with Southeast Asian squads SMG and Talon Esports.

China is having a rough start in Group B, as both IG and XG are at the bottom of the group, with the former going 0-4 while the latter went 0-2.

Gaimin, EG, BetBoom in three-way tie for first place in Group A

While day one for Group B ended with one team clearly on top, the competition in Group A opened with three teams leading early on: Lima Major champions Gaimin Gladiators, South American powerhouse Evil Geniuses (EG), and Eastern European superteam BetBoom Team.

Gaimin Gladiators began their campaign for a second Major title this season by drawing with EG before soundly sweeping China's PSG.LGD. After drawing with Gaimin, EG went on to sweep Southeast Asia's Execration.

BetBoom drew with China's Team Aster, featuring Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan as a stand-in, and then swept North America's TSM.

China is faring better in Group A compared to Group B, as PSG.LGD and Team Aster are still competitive with 2-2 records apiece. Despite getting swept by Gaimin Gladiators, PSG.LGD bounced back with their own sweep over Execration. Meanwhile, Aster had two draws against BetBoom and Team Liquid.

Sitting in the bottom of the standings in Group A are TSM and Execration, with both getting swept in their two opening matches. TSM went winless against the Eastern European gauntlet of BetBoom and 9 Pandas while Execration were routed by PSG.LGD and EG.

Here are the standings after day one of the Berlin Major Group Stage:

Group A:

  1. Gaimin Gladiators: 3-1

  2. Evil Geniuses: 3-1

  3. BetBoom Team: 3-1

  4. 9 Pandas: 2-0

  5. PSG.LGD: 2-2

  6. Team Aster: 2-2

  7. Team Liquid: 1-1

  8. TSM: 0-4

  9. Execration: 0-4

Group B:

  1. OG: 4-0

  2. Shopify Rebellion: 3-1

  3. Tundra Esports: 3-1

  4. Beastcoast: 2-2

  5. Team Spirit: 2-2

  6. Talon Esports: 1-1

  7. Team SMG: 1-3

  8. Xtreme Gaming: 0-2

  9. Invictus Gaming: 0-4

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.

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