Dota 2 Lima Major champions Gaimin Gladiators silenced all doubts about their victory in the Major after they soundly swept a full-strength Team Liquid, 2-0, in the opening day of the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season's Spring Tour regional league for Western Europe on Tuesday (14 March).
The Gladiators became the first Major champions of this season with a perfect run in the Lima Major Playoffs, which they capped off with a 3-0 sweep over Liquid in the Grand Finals.
However, many doubted that the Gladiators would have still won the Major if Liquid played at full strength. Liquid had to play the last leg of the tournament without position 4 support Samuel "Boxi" Svahn, who was forced to exit the Major due to a medical emergency.
With analyst Mathis "Jabbz" Friesel standing-in for Boxi, Liquid were swept by the Gladiators in the Lima Major's upper bracket finals and Grand Finals.
Boxi was able to return to Liquid for their rematch with the Gladiators to open the Spring Tour, and many expected a different result this time around. However, the Lima Major champions only cemented their case further in yet another dominant showing.
How the match went down
The Gladiators came out swinging to start the series, taking the game one win in just 27 minutes even with a 'slow' lineup centered on Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov's carry Naga Siren.
Quinn "Quinn" Callahan on Puck recorded nine kills and nine assists against two deaths to pace his team's 24-6 kill lead. Dyrachyo also pitched in with a clean six kills.
Liquid put up a better fight in a 33-minute game two, though that isn't saying much considering it ended up being a 45-18 rout. Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard on an offlane Nature's Prophet led the way with 16 kills and 16 assists on two deaths, even capping the game off with a Rampage, while Quinn on Batrider notched 13 kills against five deaths.
With this victory, the Gladiators have now won their last seven games against Liquid, a team most have considered as the strongest in the circuit after they added Michał "Nisha" Jankowski following their third place finish at The International 11 (TI11) last October.
In the post-match interview, Gaimin Gladiators captain Melchior "Seleri" Hillenkamp said he was confident that their rematch with Liquid would have the same results as their previous meetings even with their opponents back in full strength.
"It was a bit weird that we played Liquid in our first [match of the Spring Tour], but at the same time it was exciting. You rate these things, right? "Ah, they didn't have Boxi [in the Lima Major]. It would be different without Boxi." I keep thinking I don't think so," said Seleri.
Seleri also said they were playing on even ground with the recent release of the 7.32 patch, which added a new hero in Muerta and tweaked game balance.
As the new top dogs of Western Europe, and by extension the entire DPC, Seleri attributed the Gladiators' dominance to how much every member of the team trusts each other.
"I think we have a very good understanding of the game right now, but we also fully trust each other. I don't think any one of us for a second think that we need to help someone in the game, in the sense of managing them or trying to make sure someone shows up and performs," said Seleri.
"We just all try to do our part really well and we understand the game well enough and we trust each other enough that the games feel very chill. At the Major as well, we just knew we were gonna win these games."
The Gaimin Gladiators will be looking to continue their winning streak in their next match against Ooredoo Thunders on Thursday (16 March). Should their dominance result in a Top 4 finish in the Spring Tour regional league for Western Europe, they will be looking to claim another Major championship in the Berlin Major in late April.
Gaimin Gladiators roster:
Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov
Quinn "Quinn" Callahan
Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard
Erik "tOfu" Engel
Melchior "Seleri" Hillenkamp
Aske "Cy-" Larsen (coach)
Team Liquid roster:
Michael "miCKe" Vu
Michał "Nisha" Jankowski
Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg
Samuel "Boxi" Svahn
Aydin "Insania" Sarkohi
William "Blitz" Lee (coach)