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Liquid reach Dota 2 Bali Major Grand Finals with sweep over Tundra in lower bracket finals

For the third time in the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit season, the Grand Finals of a Major will feature Gaimin Gladiators and Team Liquid.

Team Liquid defeated Tundra Esports in the lower bracket finals of the Dota 2 Bali Major, setting up their third-straight Major Grand Finals showdown with rivals Gaimin Gladiators. (Photos: Team Liquid, Epulze)
Team Liquid defeated Tundra Esports in the lower bracket finals of the Dota 2 Bali Major, setting up their third-straight Major Grand Finals showdown with rivals Gaimin Gladiators. (Photos: Team Liquid, Epulze)

For the third-straight Dota 2 Major in a row, the Grand Finals will feature a showdown between Gaimin Gladiators and Team Liquid.

Western European powerhouse Team Liquid soundly swept The International (TI) 2022 champions Tundra Esports in the lower bracket finals, 2-0, of the Dota 2 Bali Major to once again face their biggest rivals, Gaimin Gladiators, for a Major championship.

Both Liquid and Tundra began their campaigns in the Bali Major as Western Europe's two representatives in Group A during the Group Stage.

Liquid finished the Group Stage as the first seed of Group A with a 12-4 record, tied for the best outing in the Group Stage.

Tundra took the third seed of Group A with a 10-6 record despite some setbacks. Martin "Saksa" Sazdov was forced to exit the Major due to illness after the second day of the Group Stage, prompting coach Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling to join the roster as his stand-in for the rest of the tournament.

In the Playoffs, Liquid continued to look dominant as they defeated China's PSG.LGD in the first round of the upper bracket. Tundra, on the other hand, were knocked down to the lower bracket by Eastern Europe's BetBoom Team.

However, the result of the Tundra-BetBoom match was reversed after BetBoom's Ivan "Pure" Moskalenko was caught stream-sniping during a pause.

Tundra did not waste this sudden reversal of fate, as they swept Liquid in their first meeting of the Playoffs in the upper bracket semifinals. However, the reigning TI champions were stopped in their tracks by two-time Major champions Gaimin Gladiators in the upper bracket finals.

Meanwhile, Liquid defeated Eastern Europe's 9Pandas and fellow Western European squad Quest Esports to survive to the final day of the Bali Major and face Tundra in the lower bracket finals.

Liquid were on fire to start the series, as they absolutely stomped Tundra to the tune of a very, very lopsided 43-8 kill lead in 43 minutes. Michał "Nisha" Jankowski led the way on Leshrac, racking up a whopping 20 kills on just one death. Michael "miCKe" Vu on Bloodseeker also pitched in with 12 kills against one death.

Tundra put up a much better fight in game two, leading through the early and mid game behind Leon "Nine" Kirilin's mid Zeus wreaking havoc in skirmishes and teamfights.

However, Liquid started to turn the tables by the 30-minute mark as Nisha on Storm Spirit and Ludwig "zai" Wåhlberg on Enigma caused chaos in the ensuing clashes and prevented Tundra from getting the proper set-ups they needed. With the space provided by his fellow cores, miCKe on Shadow Fiend had free reign to mow down Tundra in the fights that would eventually hand Liquid the victory after 45 minutes.

MiCKe put up 16 kills against three deaths to fuel Liquid's 32-23 kill lead to close out the series. Nisha also pitched in with nine kills on four deaths.

With their victory, Liquid have secured at least a second place finish as well as US$100,000 and 550 DPC points in winnings.

Of course, they have their sights set on a third-straight Major Grand Finals showdown with Gaimin Gladiators for the Bali Major title. After losing in their last two meetings at Lima and Berlin, Liquid will surely be hungry for revenge.

Meanwhile, Tundra bow out of the Bali Major in third place and with US$75,000 and 500 DPC points in consolation.

While Tundra fall short of the title, it is still a commendable result for a team that had to play most of the tournament while not at full strength. The reigning TI champions now look ahead to defending the Aegis of Champions in TI 2023, which will be held in Seattle this October.

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