The Dota 2 Lima Major Group Stage has finally concluded, with 12 teams qualifying to the Playoffs while six others were forced to take the early plane ride back home.
Team Liquid, Entity, Gaimin Gladiators, Team Spirit, Shopify Rebellion, Evil Geniuses, Talon Esports, and Team Aster were the eight teams that earned upper bracket berths in the Playoffs.
PSG.LGD, Beastcoast, Tundra Esports, and HellRaisers also qualified for the Playoffs but will have to start from the lower bracket.
Meanwhile, Geek Slate, TSM, Execration, BetBoom Team, EHOME, and Knights were eliminated early.
There will be a one-day break for the teams before the Lima Major Playoffs kick off on 11PM SGT on Tuesday (28 February).
Here's how the final day of Group Stage action at the Lima Major unfolded:
Gaimin Gladiators claim Group A's first seed in day of sweeps
With three separate ties at the end of day three of the Group Stage, there was potential for multiple high-stakes tiebreakers in Group A if its last set of matches ended up being competitive. Instead, things settled down relatively peacefully after those matches all ended in 2-0 sweeps.
Evil Geniuses (EG) swept TSM, Team Spirit routed Execration, Talon Esports made short work of EHOME, while Gaimin Gladiators manhandled PSG.LGD.
As a result, the Gladiators, Spirit, EG, and Talon qualified for the upper bracket from Group A while PSG.LGD and Tundra Esports settled for the lower bracket. Meanwhile, TSM and Execration joined EHOME on the early plane ride out of Peru.
While Group A mostly panned out as expected, it still produced a couple of surprising results.
Most noteworthy is The International 11 (TI11) champions Tundra Esports failing to secure an upper bracket berth.
The reigning TI champs looked strong as they started the Group Stage, but suffered surprising losses to PSG.LGD and EG that forced them to settle for the lower bracket with a 7-9 record.
While it has been a disappointing showing for Tundra thus far, we still wouldn't count them out in the Playoffs.
Perhaps the threat of starting from the lower bracket will light a fire under the TI champs that will help them regain their championship form.
BetBoom 'superteam' fall in Group B as Shopify Rebellion, Team Aster make upper bracket
Team Liquid and Entity already claimed two of Group B's upper bracket spots before the final day of the Group Stage, leaving Shopify Rebellion, Beastcoast, and Team Aster fighting to claim the last two slots.
Shopify Rebellion became the third team to earn an upper bracket berth from Group B after they swept Beastcoast. Aster was then routed by Liquid in another match, forcing Beastcoast and Aster to a tiebreaker for the final upper bracket slot.
After a back-and-forth three-game tiebreaker series, Aster claimed the final upper bracket slot for Group B over Beastcoast. They are notably the only Chinese team to make the upper bracket in the Lima Major, a sure sign of the declining prestige of the once-mighty Chinese Dota scene.
With Beastcoast taking the first of the two lower bracket spots in Group B, the final ticket to the Playoffs was left up for grabs between Southeast Asia's Geek Slate as well as BetBoom Team and HellRaisers from Eastern Europe.
HellRaisers made short work of hapless Chinese team Knights in their final match to ensure a tiebreaker for the final Playoff spot had to be played.
BetBoom needed to sweep Geek Slate in their own match to make it a three-way tiebreaker. While BetBoom managed to win game one and find a glimmer of hope, it was promptly extinguished by Geek Slate taking game two. However, Geek Slate themselves would fall to HellRaisers in the subsequent tiebreaker.
BetBoom was by far the biggest disappointment of Group B. As the Eastern European 'superteam', the squad was pegged by many as one of the biggest favorites to take the championship in the Lima Major.
Instead, the superteam was notably outperformed by a HellRaisers squad that had to field a stand-in after a surprising roster change just before the Major. BetBoom's plane ride back home is sure to be a tense one, as this team was created to make a splash at TI, not bomb out of a Major Group Stage.
Here are the final standings for the Lima Major Group Stage:
Gaimin Gladiators: 11-5
Team Spirit: 11-5
Evil Geniuses: 10-6
Talon Esports: 10-6
Tundra Esports: 7-9
Team Liquid: 14-2
Shopify Rebellion: 10-6
Team Aster: 8-8
Geek Slate: 7-9
BetBoom Team: 6-10
The first day of the Lima Major Playoffs on 28 February will kick off with the upper bracket quarterfinals. The winners will advance to the upper bracket semifinals on 3 March while the losers will drop to the first round of the lower bracket, which will commence on 1 March.
Here are the matchups for the upper bracket quarterfinals:
Gaimin Gladiators vs Team Aster
Entity vs Evil Geniuses
Team Spirit vs Shopify Rebellion
Team Liquid vs Talon Esports
Here are the matchups for the first round of the lower bracket:
HellRaisers vs loser of Team Liquid vs Talon Esports
PSG.LGD vs loser of Team Spirit vs Shopify Rebellion
Beastcoast vs loser of Entity vs Evil Geniuses
Tundra Esports vs loser of Gaimin Gladiators 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 Dota Pro Circuit (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.