Dota 2: Shopify Rebellion, Spirit advance to upper bracket finals of DreamLeague Season 21

Meanwhile, BetBoom Team and Tundra Esports were dropped to the lower bracket while Quest Esports were eliminated.

Shopify Rebellion and Team Spirit advanced to the upper bracket finals of DreamLeague Season 21 in the opening day of the Playoffs. Pictured: Shopify Rebellion Arteezy, Team Spirit Collapse. (Photos: Shopify Rebellion, Team Spirit, ESL, Valve Software)
Shopify Rebellion and Team Spirit advanced to the upper bracket finals of DreamLeague Season 21 in the opening day of the Playoffs. Pictured: Shopify Rebellion Arteezy, Team Spirit Collapse. (Photos: Shopify Rebellion, Team Spirit, ESL, Valve Software)

Things are heating up in Dota 2's DreamLeague Season 21 as all the Group Stage matches finally concluded and Playoff action kicked off with the first round of the upper bracket.

Three-time Major champions and DreamLeague Seasons 19 and 20 winners Gaimin Gladiators took the last spot in the Playoffs over Quest Esports after their match was initially postponed due to power issues in Quest's bootcamp.

Meanwhile, North American powerhouse Shopify Rebellion and The International (TI) 2021 champions and Riyadh Masters 2023 winners Team Spirit guaranteed themselves at least a Top 3 finish after they defeated Eastern European superteam BetBoom Team and TI 2022 champions Tundra Esports, respectively, in the first round of the upper bracket.

Here's how all the action in day four of DreamLeague Season 21 went down:

Group Stage decider

Gaimin Gladiators 2-0 Quest Esports

The day kicked off with a match between Gaimin Gladiators and Quest Esports to decide the final team heading to the Playoffs. Unsurprisingly, the three-time Major champions extended their stay in the tournament in a sound 2-0 sweep.

Game one saw Gaimin Gladiators run bulldoze through Quest in a 32-minute stomp. Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov on Gyrocopter and Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard on Dark Seer led the way, notching six kills on one death apiece along with a combined 13 assists to pace their 21-10 kill lead for their team.

Game two was a much closer affair, though there was little doubt that Gaimin Gladiators had it in the bag from the early game until the GG call at the 30-minute mark. Quinn "Quinn" Callahan had a standout game on Invoker, putting up nine kills and nine assists on three deaths to fuel his team's 27-15 kill lead.

However, it was Ace that stole the show on Sand King, breaking the back of Quest by stealing both the Roshan kill and the Aegis of Immortality from right under their noses before helping his team win the ensuing fight. Gaimin Gladiators' offlaner also recorded seven kills and 15 assists on five deaths to seal the sweep.

Upper bracket round 1

Shopify Rebellion 2-1 BetBoom Team

The Playoffs then kicked off in the upper bracket, starting with a heated showdown between Shopify Rebellion and BetBoom. After the first two games of the series ended up being stomps, the North American powerhouse ultimately emerged victorious after Artour "Arteezy" Babaev led them to an incredible comeback in game three.

BetBoom came out swinging to start the series, comfortably taking game one in 44 minutes behind Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko's Juggernaut, who had eight kills and three assists on one death to pace the team's 21-13 kill lead.

Shopify Rebellion were quick to strike back in game two, stomping BetBoom to the tune of a 23-6 kill lead in 32 minutes to force the series to a decider. The one-two punch of Arteezy on Muerta and Abed "Abed" Yusop on Pangolier carried the North Americans in game two, combining for a clean 17 kills and 13 assists.

Game three then saw BetBoom take control early on by heavily shutting down Arteezy on Phantom Assassin, taking him down six times in the first 26 minutes of the game. However, Shopify Rebellion were able to stall things out thanks to Abed's mid Lina and Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek's offlane Kunkka anchoring a stubborn high-ground defense.

With Shopify Rebellion managing to repel multiple BetBoom attempts to end the game, Arteezy had enough space to turn his hero into the late game monster it was with a Divine Rapier. The tides turned in the North American squad's favour in the 43-minute mark, when Arteezy managed to survive a smoke gank from BetBoom on a sliver of health before racking up an Ultra Kill.

From there, Shopify Rebellion methodically dominated the ensuing teamfights and pushed BetBoom back into their base before taking the 2-1 series victory after a thrilling 52 minutes of action.

Team Spirit 2-0 Tundra Esports

The second match of the day was a highly-anticipated clash between the last two TI champions, with TI 2021 champions Spirit claiming victory in a sound 2-0 sweep over TI 2022 winners Tundra.

Game one started out with both teams on relatively even footing, but Spirit won key teamfights in the midgame that allowed them to snowball to a 48-minute win.

Illya "Yatoro" Mulyarchuk on Phantom Assassin and Magomed "Collapse" Khalilov on Axe both had stellar performances to help Spirit bag game one. Out of Spirit's 40-22 kill lead in the series opener, the pair each put up 15 kills. Yatoro also had 13 assists on three deaths while Collapse had 12 assists on two deaths.

In game two, Spirit were able to take the lead from the get-go and never looked back, eventually securing the series sweep after 45 minutes of action.

Spirit's core trio all had double-digit kills in the closeout game to pace their team's 41-20 kill lead. Yatoro on Morphling led the way with 12 kills and seven assists on three deaths, Denis "Larl" Sigitov on a mid Dazzle had 10 kills and 15 assists against six deaths, while Collapse on Centaur Warrunner put up 11 kills and 14 assists on just one death.

With the day's results, Shopify Rebellion and Team Spirit have guaranteed themselves at least a third place finish and US$120,000 in winnings. They will face off in the upper bracket finals on Saturday (23 September) to determine who will be the first team in the grand finals.

On the other hand, BetBoom Team and Tundra Esports dropped down to the lower bracket quarterfinals, where they will take on the winners of the first round of the lower bracket.

Meanwhile, Quest Esports were eliminated in 11th-12th place and with US$25,000 in consolation.

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.

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