North American Dota 2 stalwarts Noun Esports are the second team to qualify for The International (TI) 2023 from the regional qualifiers after they swept B8, 3-0, in the grand finals of the tournament's North American regional qualifier on Tuesday (22 August).
Over the course of the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season, Nouns have established themselves as the third-best team in North America behind Shopify Rebellion and TSM. With the latter two teams earning direct invites to TI 2023, Nouns were the overwhelming favourites to win the North American qualifier.
Meanwhile, B8 is an organisation founded by Ukrainian Dota 2 legend Danil "Dendi" Ishutin back in 2020. The team initially competed in the DPC's Eastern European regional league, but Dendi moved the organisation's Dota 2 team to North America for the 2023 DPC season as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As many expected, Nouns cruised through the first three rounds of the qualifier's double-elimination bracket, defeating Sand King Gómez, Wildcard Gaming, and Team DogChamp to become the first team in the grand finals.
Meanwhile, B8 lost their first match against Wildcard and were dropped to the lower bracket. However, the team seemingly flipped a switch while in danger of elimination, running through Sand King Gómez, Felt, Wildcard, and DogChamp to face Nouns in the grand finals.
Nouns came out swinging
Nouns came out swinging to start the series, taking a comfortable 35-minute, 18-8 victory in game one behind Héctor "K1" Rodríguez on Terrorblade and Nicolas "Gunnar" Lopez on Invoker.
Game two was a similar story as Nouns took a commanding 2-0 series lead in just 26 minutes of action. Luke "Yamsun" Wang led the way with a masterful performance on a support Nature's Prophet, putting up 10 kills and 12 assists on three deaths to fuel his team's 28-13 kill lead. Gunnar also added nine kills and three assists on three deaths as Leshrac.
With their backs against the wall, B8 put up a valiant last stand behind Dendi's unorthodox mid Witch Doctor, decimating Nouns in teamfights when he was able to combine his Death Ward successfully with a Chronosphere from Alik "V-Tune" Vorobey's Faceless Void.
Despite B8's best efforts to stay in the series, Nouns were still able to outlast them after 56 minutes to complete the series sweep.
K1 on Juggernaut led the way for Nouns, notching 11 kills and six assists against five deaths. Meanwhile, Dendi had a commendable 12-kill, 12-assist, four-death showing despite the loss.
With their victory over B8, Nouns are the second team to qualify for TI 2023 through the regional qualifiers after Azure Ray won the Chinese regional qualifiers.
They will also be the third North American team playing in front of a home crowd at TI 2023 alongside the aforementioned Shopify Rebellion and TSM.
TI 2023's regional qualifiers will run until 31 August, with the competition being split into three five-day phases where two regions will compete in each phase.
With the qualifiers for North America and China now concluded, the qualifiers for South America and Eastern Europe will follow from 22 to 26 August. Western Europe and Southeast Asia will then close things out from 27 to 31 August.
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.