Gaimin Gladiators have been crowned as the champions of the ESL One Berlin Major 2023 after they defeated rivals Team Liquid, 3-1, in a clash of the two best Dota 2 teams right now during the tournament's best-of-five Grand Finals on Sunday (7 May).
With their victory, Gaimin Gladiators claimed their second Major championship of the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season as well as the grand prize of US$200,000 and 500 DPC points. Meanwhile, Team Liquid bow out in second place with US$100,000 and 450 DPC points in consolation.
Gaimin Gladiators notably claimed their second Major title this season in a repeat of the Lima Major Grand Finals, where they swept Liquid in three games while Samuel "Boxi" Svahn was sidelined. But with this victory against a full-strength Liquid, no one can deny Gaimin Gladiators' supremacy now.
— ESL Dota2 (@ESLDota2) May 7, 2023
As the reigning Major champions, Gaimin Gladiators were the biggest favourites to claim the title, and they more than lived up to the promise. They finished the Group Stage as the first seed of Group A with a 13-3 record to earn an upper bracket berth in the Playoffs.
They then cruised through the upper bracket to become the first team in the Grand Finals, scoring three-straight sweeps over Team Spirit, OG, and 9 Pandas.
Meanwhile, Liquid also played the Group Stage in Group A and finished as the third seed with a 10-6 record, with two of their losses notably coming at the hands of Gaimin Gladiators.
Liquid stumbled to start the Playoffs, however, losing to OG in the first round of the upper bracket. But being on the verge of elimination in the lower bracket seems to have flipped a switch in Liquid, as they knocked out Xtreme Gaming, Team Aster, Tundra Esports, and Evil Geniuses to survive to the final day of the Major.
Liquid then defeated 9 Pandas, 2-1, in the lower bracket finals to earn their highly-anticipated Major Grand Finals rematch with Gaimin Gladiators.
The Lima Major champions had a flying start to the Grand Finals, showcasing their signature midgame prowess en route to a 44-minute game one victory.
Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard's Magnus led the way for his team, making good use of the new Harpoon-Skewer combo to catch out Liquid heroes in key teamfights. Meanwhile, Quinn "Quinn" Callahan paced Gaimin Gladiators' 28-18 kill lead with 10 kills against three deaths.
Liquid were quick to shake off their game one loss and bagged their first-ever win against Gaimin Gladiators across both the Lima and Berlin Majors in a one-sided game two. Boxi had a great showing on Techies, helping to shut down their oppponents across all three lanes and give his cores space to go ham in clashes.
Liquid's cores fueled their 45-9 kill lead in game two, with Michał "Nisha" Jankowski on Ember Spirit leading the way with 13 kills against just one death. Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg on Doom pitched in with 10 kills on one death while Michael "miCKe" Vu on Faceless Void added a clean nine kills.
Quinn then showed out on Puck in the pivotal game three, where Gaimin Gladiators held the lead from the laning stage then snowballed to a 34-minute victory. Quinn put up a perfect 12-kill, 10-assist line in a 28-13 stomp that gave his team the commanding 2-1 series lead.
Gaimin Gladiators then closed things out with a nigh-unstoppable draft that had tons of damage, incredible sustain, and global reach. Dyrachyo on Alchemist, Quinn on Leshrac, and Ace on Underlord presented an unkillable frontline while Erik "tOfu" Engel on Techies and Melchior "Seleri" Hillenkamp on Io provided both teamfight control and healing from the rear.
Gaimin Gladiators once again dominated the laning stage and never looked back, forming a deathball that simply tanked through whatever Liquid threw at them. Despite their best efforts to mount a comeback, Liquid could do little as Gaimin Gladiators teamwiped them in one last clash at the 33-minute mark that sealed their victory.
Gaimin Gladiators roster:
Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov
Quinn "Quinn" Callahan
Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard
Erik "tOfu" Engel
Melchior "Seleri" Hillenkamp
Team Liquid roster:
Michael "miCKe" Vu
Michał "Nisha" Jankowski
Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg
Samuel "Boxi" Svahn
Aydin "Insania" Sarkohi