Qatar-based Dota 2 team Quest Esports are the eighth and final team to qualify for The International (TI) 2023 from the regional qualifiers after they claimed the second spot for Western Europe with a 2-0 sweep over Luna Galaxy in the lower bracket of the region's qualifier on Friday (31 August).
Quest qualifying for TI 2023 completes one of the most impressive runs for a team in recent memory. They came all the way from the open qualifiers of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC), to starting in Division II, getting promoted to Division I, and then making it to the Dota 2's annual world championship tournament in a single season.
WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our Quest to TI has been a resounding success. This season has been an incredible rollercoaster, with its fair share of ups and downs, but we've triumphed in the end! A heartfelt thank you to all who believed in us and supported us throughout this… pic.twitter.com/i8ADj7t3Yw
— Quest Esports (@questesports_) August 31, 2023
The team started out as Ooredoo Thunders with a roster consisting of Middle-Eastern and Eastern European players, namely Aybek "TA2000" Tokayev, Tony "No!ob" Assaf, Faruk "Wuiter" Terci, Omar "OmaR" Moughrabi, and Oleh "kaori" Medvedok.
They earned a place in the 2023 DPC season through the open qualifiers to start in Division II, finishing the Winter Tour in first place to quickly get promoted to Division I. After a solid fifth place finish in the Division I Spring Tour regional league for Western Europe, Ooredoo Thunders then became known as Quest Esports.
Quest then started turning heads in May when they acquired Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf on loan from Nigma Galaxy to replace Wuiter, who left in April.
ATF helped Quest finish the Summer Tour regional league in third place and qualify for the Bali Major, where they had a chance to earn a direct invite to TI 2023 if they managed a second place finish. Quest finished the Bali Major in fourth place and fell short of a direct invite, though by then they were already being considered the heavy favourites to win the Western European qualifier.
Despite their impressive run in the Summer Tour regional league and the Bali Major, ATF left Quest after due to a contract dispute in July. The team then signed former Entity offlaner Tobias "Tobi" Buchner to complete their roster for TI 2023's regional qualifiers.
As the heavy favourites to win the Western European regional qualifier, Quest had an expected strong start with a 2-0 sweep over KZ Team in the first round of the upper bracket. However, they were knocked down to the lower bracket in the next round after a 1-2 upset loss to Luna Galaxy.
In the lower bracket, Quest went on a spree of breaking records en route to punching their ticket to TI 2023.
First, Quest knocked out OG in the lower bracket quarterfinals to cause the two-time TI champions to miss out on TI for the first time in the organisation's history. They then ended Clement "Puppey" Ivanov's streak of attending every iteration of TI by eliminating Team Secret in the lower bracket semifinals.
Quest then earned a rematch with Luna Galaxy in the lower bracket finals for the right to claim the second spot in TI 2023 for Western Europe.
Quest were firing on all cylinders to start the series, dominating Luna Galaxy to the tune of a 20-8 kill lead in a 40-minute stomp in game one.
No!ob on Primal Beast and OmaR on Skywrath Mage led the way in kills, notching six apiece to go with a combined 19 assists on four deaths between the two of them.
Luna Galaxy put up a much better fight in game two behind Indji "Shad" Lub's Sven. However, Quest could not be denied as they closed out the 2-0 series sweep in 44 minutes and with a 39-19 kill lead.
TA2000 led the way on Gyrocopter, notching a game-high 14 kills and 15 assists against four deaths. No!ob also pitched in with 12 kills and 20 assists on five deaths as Earthshaker. Meanwhile, Shad had 11 kills and six assists on five deaths as Sven in the losing effort.
With their victory, Quest became the second team from the Western European regional qualifier to earn a spot in TI 2023 alongside Entity, who claimed the first spot with a sweep over Luna Galaxy in the upper bracket finals.
Quest and Entity will bring Western Europe's number of representatives at TI 2023 to five, joining directly-invited squads Team Liquid, three-time Major champions Gaimin Gladiators, and defending TI champions Tundra Esports.
The other teams making it to this year's world championship tournament for Dota 2 through the regional qualifiers include China's Azure Ray, North America's Nouns Esports, Eastern Europe's Virtus.pro, Southeast Asia's Team SMG, as well as Vivo Keyd Stars and Thunder Awaken from South America.
The rest of the directly-invited squads include TI 2021 champions Team Spirit, 9Pandas, and BetBoom Team from Eastern Europe, Shopify Rebellion and TSM from North America, Evil Geniuses and Beastcoast from South America, PSG.LGD from China, and Talon Esports from Southeast Asia.
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.