The Group Stage for Dota 2's DreamLeague Season 21 (mostly) concluded on Wednesday (20 September), with three-time Major finalists Team Liquid and Southeast Asian powerhouse Talon Esports among those failing to make the Playoffs.
With South America's Evil Geniuses (EG) getting eliminated in day two, there is still one more elimination left to be decided. Either three-time Major champions and DreamLeague Seasons 19 and 20 winners Gaimin Gladiators or Quest Esports will be eliminated early after their match was postponed due to power issues at Quest's bootcamp.
Meanwhile, the teams who have locked in a spot at the Playoffs include North America's Shopify Rebellion, The International (TI) 2022 champions Tundra Esports, Western European squads Entity and OG, as well as Eastern European powerhouses Team Spirit, BetBoom Team, and 9Pandas.
Here's how all the action in day three of DreamLeague Season 21 went down:
After only managing 2-6 records apiece through the first two days of the Group Stage, Liquid and Talon still had a chance to force tiebreakers for the Playoffs if they managed to sweep their last matches against Tundra and Shopify Rebellion, respectively, while hoping Entity got swept by 9Pandas.
Unfortunately for Liquid and Talon, the exact opposite of that scenario ended up happening. The two were soundly swept while Entity managed to sweep 9Pandas.
As a result, Liquid and Talon were the two teams to get eliminated from Group A as the fifth and sixth-placed teams, respectively. Liquid will be going home with US$30,000 in consolation while Talon will get US$25,000 for their efforts.
Meanwhile, Shopify Rebellion, Tundra, Entity, and 9Pandas advanced to the Playoffs. Shopify Rebellion and Tundra earned upper bracket berths while Entity and 9Pandas will have to start in the lower bracket.
With EG already eliminated and the Gaimin Gladiators-Quest Esports match postponed, the two remaining matches for Group B were largely inconsequential.
Spirit swept OG to finish the DreamLeague Season 21 Group Stage with the best record at 9-1 and the first seed of Group B. Meanwhile, EG dealt BetBoom an unexpected loss on their way out.
Spirit and BetBoom earned the upper bracket spots for Group B while OG took the first two lower bracket spots. The postponed Gaimin Gladiators-Quest Esports match to determine the second lower bracket team from Group B will be played four hours before the tournament's Playoffs kick off.
Here's how all the matches in day three of the DreamLeague Season 21 Group Stage went down:
Tundra Esports 2-0 Team Liquid
Shopify Rebellion 2-0 Talon Esports
9Pandas 0-2 Entity
Team Spirit 2-0 OG
BetBoom Team 1-1 Evil Geniuses
Gaimin Gladiators 0-0 Quest Esports (postponed)
Here are the standings after day three of the DreamLeague Season 21 Group Stage:
Shopify Rebellion: 8-2 (Playoff upper bracket)
Tundra Esports: 7-3 (Playoff upper bracket)
Entity: 6-4 (Playoff lower bracket)
9Pandas: 5-5 (Playoff lower bracket)
Team Liquid: 2-8 (eliminated)
Talon Esports: 2-8 (eliminated)
Team Spirit: 9-1 (Playoff upper bracket)
BetBoom Team: 7-3 (Playoff upper bracket)
OG: 5-5 (Playoff lower bracket)
Gaimin Gladiators: 3-5 (TBD)
Quest Esports: 2-6 (TBD)
Evil Geniuses: 2-8 (eliminated)
DreamLeague Season 21 is split into two phases: the Group Stage, taking place from 18 to 20 September, and the Playoffs, scheduled from 21 to 24 September.
The Group Stage split the 12 participating teams into two single round-robin groups of six teams each, where they fought to be among the eight squads advancing into the Playoffs. All matches in the Group Stage were a best-of-two.
The Top 4 teams in each group advanced to the Playoffs, with the Top 2 teams earning an upper bracket berth while the third to fourth-placed teams having to start in the lower bracket. Meanwhile, the bottom two teams of each group were eliminated.
The DreamLeague Season 21 Playoffs will follow a double-elimination bracket format, with four teams starting in the upper bracket while four others will be seeded into the lower bracket. All matches in the Playoffs will be a best-of-three except for the Grand Finals, which will be a full best-of-five series.
With almost all of the participating teams in DreamLeague Season 21 set to play in TI 2023, it will also serve as the undercard event to this year's Dota 2 world championship tournament.
TI 2023 will be hosted across multiple weekends from 12 to 29 October in Seattle, the United States. This year's tournament also features a revamped format split into two distinct phases, called 'The Road to The International' and 'The International' itself.