Advertisement

LGD kick off TI 2023 with huge 2-0 upset over Gaimin Gladiators

LGD offlaner niu was instrumental in the Chinese team's victory, racking up 20 kills and 17 assists against just two deaths in the sweep.

Chinese powerhouse LGD Gaming kicked off The International 2023 Group Stage with a huge 2-0 upset over three-time Major champions Gaimin Gladiators, thanks in large part to offlaner niu (left) and midlaner NothingToSay (right). (Photos: LGD Gaming, Valve Software)
Chinese powerhouse LGD Gaming kicked off The International 2023 Group Stage with a huge 2-0 upset over three-time Major champions Gaimin Gladiators, thanks in large part to offlaner niu (left) and midlaner NothingToSay (right). (Photos: LGD Gaming, Valve Software)

The International (TI) 2023, this year's Dota 2 world championship tournament, kicked off on Friday (13 October) with the first day of its preliminary Road to The International Group Stage.

Chinese powerhouse LGD Gaming had a flying start to their campaign to claim the Aegis of Champions as they scored a huge 2-0 upset over three-time Major champions Gaimin Gladiators in the opening match of Group C.

Offlaner Li "niu" Kongbo had a standout performance in LGD's first match of the tournament, racking up 20 kills and 17 assists against just two deaths in the sweep.

LGD came out swinging to start the series, dominating from the get-go in game one thanks in large part to niu's Centaur Warrunner shutting down Gaimin Gladiators carry Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov on Sven. With Gaimin Gladiators having to play catch-up, Guo "shiro" Xuanang on Weaver and Cheng "NothingToSay" Jin Xiang on a mid Earthshaker were left free to wreak havoc throughout the midgame.

The Chinese team simply snowballed from there, denying any chance of a comeback for the three-time Major champions and taking an easy game one win in 38 minutes.

Niu paced LGD's 20-6 kill lead with nine kills and seven assists on just one death. Shiro also pitched in with a clean three kills and eight assists while NothingToSay had three kills and seven assists on two deaths.

In game two, LGD looked to keep their momentum going with a high-tempo tri-core of Chaos Knight for shiro, Primal Beast for NothingToSay, and Bristleback for niu. While Gaimin Gladiators had a much better early game showing compared to game one, they couldn't stop LGD from hitting their midgame timing and get in another dominant position.

Niu's Bristleback notably proved to be quite the problem for the three-time Major champions, acting as a nigh-unkillable meat shield to zone them out of objectives and teamfights while also dealing tons of damage.

Despite Gaimin Gladiators' best efforts to mount a comeback, niu and the rest of LGD ran them over in the ensuing teamfights to secure the 2-0 series sweep after 34 minutes of action.

Niu once again topped the kill chart for LGD, pacing his team's 31-13 kill lead with 11 kills and 10 assists on just one death. One of those kills notably came in the closing seconds of the series in Gaimin Gladiators' fountain, where niu tore through dyrachyo's Lifestealer TI 2019W OG-style.

With Gaimin Gladiators standing as their biggest rivals in Group C, LGD's victory over the three-time Major champions put them in prime position to finish the first phase of the Group Stage as the top seed of their group. The Chinese powerhouse's second match of day one will be against North America's Nouns Esports.

Meanwhile, Gaimin Gladiators have two more matches to play in day one against Eastern Europe's Virtus.pro and Nouns. While their loss to LGD certainly stings, the three-time Major champions are still very likely to finish in the top two of Group C and advance to phase two.

TI 2023's Group Stage features an all-new format with two distinct phases.

The first phase will take place from 12 to 13 October and will split the 20 participating teams into four groups of five teams each, who will then go through a single round-robin with best-of-two matches. The bottom team of each group will be eliminated after the first phase while the remaining 16 teams will advance to the second phase.

The second phase will be held from 14 to 15 October and will have the remaining teams play in eight head-to-head, best-of-three matches to determine placement in the Main Event.

In this phase, the Top 2 teams from each group in phase one will get matched with either the third or fourth-placed teams from the opposite group. To clarify, the Top 2 teams from Group A will be matched against the third and fourth-placed teams from Group C while Group B's will face Group D's.

The winners of the eight head-to-head matches will then earn upper bracket berths in the Playoffs while the losers will have to start from the lower bracket.

TI 2023 will be hosted from 12 to 29 October in Seattle, the United States and will see 20 of the best Dota 2 teams in the world fighting to claim the coveted Aegis of Champions and the lion's share of a growing prize pool.

For everything you need to know about TI 2023, check here.

For more esports news updates, visit https://yhoo.it/YahooEsportsSEA and check out Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia’s Facebook page and Twitter, as well as our Gaming channel on YouTube.