Dota 2 Lima Major: Gladiators, Entity, Shopify, Liquid advance to upper bracket semis
It took over 16 hours for the first round of the upper bracket to be completed due to technical issues.
The Dota 2 Lima Major Playoffs kicked off on Tuesday (28 February) with the first round of the upper bracket, though the competition was plagued by a myriad of issues.
Due to multiple delays and technical difficulties it took over 16 hours(!) to complete four matches, with the day finally ending well past 2am in Peru.
Despite all the issues, fans (or at least those that managed to sit through the whole thing) were treated to some high-level Dota.
Western Europe continues to be absolutely dominant, with Gaimin Gladiators, Entity, and Team Liquid sweeping their opponents to advance to the upper bracket semifinals. North America's Shopify Rebellion was the fourth team to qualify for the next round of the upper bracket.
Meanwhile, Team Aster from China, South America's Evil Geniuses (EG), Eastern Europe's Team Spirit, and Southeast Asia's Talon Esports were dropped to the lower bracket.
Here's how all the action in the opening day of the Lima Major Playoffs went down:
Gaimin Gladiators 2-0 Team Aster
The Lima Major Playoffs kicked off with a match between Group A first seed Gaimin Gladiators and Group B fourth seed Team Aster, with the Western European powerhouse making short work of their Chinese opponents in back-to-back 33-minute stomps.
Game one saw the Gladiators take an early lead and never looking back, piggybacking off a dominant laning stage and snowballing out of control. Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard on Nature's Prophet notably took over the map for his team, giving Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov on Drow Ranger and Quinn "Quinn" Callahan on Storm Spirit free rein to run rampant all over Aster.
Game two started out as the inverse of game one, as the Chinese squad dominated the early game and got off to a 11-1 kill lead. However, the Gladiators outmaneuvered their opponents as they readied for a midgame takeover.
Ace once again played a key role for the Gladiators, as his Crimson Guard build on Underlord nullified the damage output of Du "Monet" Peng's Troll Warlord. With Aster lacking the damage to follow through on initiations, dyrachyo's Lina was unstoppable in the ensuing teamfights that eventually handed the Gladiators the 2-0 series sweep.
Despite being down 1-11 in kills at one point, the Gladiators only conceded two more deaths while bagging 12 of their own en route to victory. Dyrachyo notably led the way with nine kills against two deaths.
Entity 2-0 Evil Geniuses
The second match of the day featured Group A second seed Entity taking on Group B third seed EG. In yet another display of Western Europe's dominance, Entity swept EG in a one-sided, albeit drawn-out, series.
Game one seemed decided as early as the draft, as EG gave away the carry Lina for Entity's Alimzhan "watson" Islambekov without having any real counters. The Western European squad promptly bowled over their opponents and looked to be in position to end things quickly, though EG managed to draw things out for 42 minutes before tapping out.
Game two was a similar affair as Entity got a lead early and kept rolling from there. Despite some relentless courier-sniping shenanigans from Farith "Matthew" Huamancaja's support Riki, Entity still methodically closed out the series in 49 minutes.
Watson and Daniel "Stormstormer" Schoetzau were the standouts for Entity, with the former racking up 25 kills and 18 assists against three deaths across the series while the latter put up 21 kills and 26 assists with just one death.
Shopify Rebellion 2-1 Team Spirit
By far the best series of the day was the showdown between Group A second seed Team Spirit and Group B third seed Shopify Rebellion. The North American powerhouse knocked the champions of The International 10 (TI10) down to the lower bracket, thanks in large part to Artour "Arteezy" Babaev's heroics.
Spirit came out swinging to start the match, stomping Shopify Rebellion to the tune of a 19-6 kill lead in 30 minutes of action.
Shopify Rebellion were quick to strike back in a 42-minute game two, however, as Abed "Abed" Yusop put on a 19-kill, 14-assist masterclass with Zeus to force the series to a decider.
Game three was a wild rollercoaster, as both teams traded blow-for-blow in a 40-minute slugfest. However, it was Shopify Rebellion that emerged victorious thanks to a show-stopping performance from Arteezy of Shadow Fiend.
In arguably the best play of the Major Playoffs so far, Arteezy boldly stole the Aegis of Champions from under the noses of Spirit despite having all of his teammates dead.
Arteezy had another clutch play in another fight for Roshan that ended up being the game-deciding fight, catching out Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk's Lina off-guard with a point-blank Requiem of Souls to take him down without buyback.
Arteezy finished with 10 kills and eight assists against three deaths to pace Shopify Rebellion's 23-20 kill lead in the decider.
Team Liquid 2-0 Talon Esports
The final match of the day featured Group B first seed Team Liquid taking on Group B fourth seed Talon Esports. Liquid has been the biggest favourites to take the Lima Major championship, and they further cemented their case by sweeping Talon.
Game one was a stomp, as Michael "miCKe" Vu's Sniper was unstoppable en route to a 12-kill, seven-assist showing in 31 minutes of action.
Game two was a much closer affair as Talon matched Liquid's aggression, but the Western European juggernaut's impeccable teamfight execution proved to be decisive as they emerged victorious after a slugfest that lasted just under 50 minutes.
MiCKe notched another high-kill game with 17 kills against five deaths on Drow Ranger while Michał "Nisha" Jankowski on Batrider pitched in with 15 kills against four deaths. However, it was Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg on Doom that proved to be the difference-maker in the decisive teamfights.
With their victories in the opening day of the Lima Major Playoffs, Gaimin Gladiators, Entity, Shopify Rebellion, and Team Liquid have all secured at least a Top 6 finish as well as US$25,000 and 200 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) points in winnings.
Here are the matchups for the upper bracket semifinals:
Gaimin Gladiators vs Entity
Shopify Rebellion vs Team Liquid
Here are the matchups for the first round of the lower bracket:
HellRaisers vs Talon Esports
PSG.LGD vs Team Spirit
Beastcoast vs Evil Geniuses
Tundra Esports vs Team Aster
The Lima Major Playoffs will take place from 28 February to 5 March and will be a double-elimination bracket. All Playoff matches will be a best-of-three except for the Grand Finals, which will be a full best-of-five series.
Teams will have to make the Top 8 in order to earn a cut of the Lima Major's US$500,000 prize pool and 1,900 DPC point pool. Those precious DPC points will go towards earning an all-important direct invite to this year's iteration of The International (TI), Dota 2's annual world championship tournament.
The Lima Major is the first Major of the 2023 DPC season and will feature 18 of the best teams in the circuit battling for their share of the US$500,000 prize pool and 1,900 DPC point pool. For everything you need to know about the Lima Major, check here.
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