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TI 2023 Playoffs: TSM knock out Shopify Rebellion to upend North American Dota hierarchy

Despite playing second fiddle to Shopify Rebellion for the entire season, TSM have now proved themselves the superior North American squad.

TSM knocked Shopify Rebellion out of The International 2023 to upend the long-standing hierarchy of the North American Dota 2 scene. Pictured (from left to right): TSM kasane, Bryle, Timado, Ari, Whitemon. (Photos: TSM, Valve Software)
TSM knocked Shopify Rebellion out of The International 2023 to upend the long-standing hierarchy of the North American Dota 2 scene. Pictured (from left to right): TSM kasane, Bryle, Timado, Ari, Whitemon. (Photos: TSM, Valve Software)

The second day of The International (TI) 2023's Road to The International Playoffs saw the three North American Dota 2 teams in the tournament pit into an elimination gauntlet to determine who is the best of the region that will advance to the Main Event.

Despite playing second fiddle to Shopify Rebellion for the entire season, TSM proved themselves the superior North American squad in a dominant 2-0 sweep.

TSM had the best showing of the North American teams in the first phase of the Road to The International Group Stage, finishing as the second seed of Group D with a 4-4 record.

Meanwhile, Shopify Rebellion had a shaky start and barely qualified for the second phase as the third seed of Group B with a 2-6 record.

Both North American squads then struggled in the second phase of the Group Stage against Eastern European opponents to get forced into a lower bracket start in the Playoffs.

TSM was swept by Virtus.pro while Shopify Rebellion were routed by TI 2021 champions Team Spirit, setting up an all-North American affair in the first round of the Playoff lower bracket.

Game one started with Shopify Rebellion taking a page out of LGD Gaming's book by picking a carry Dark Willow for Artour "Arteezy" Babaev.

Meanwhile, TSM drafted a more orthodox lineup anchored by a tri-core of Chaos Knight for Enzo "Timado" Gianoli, Earth Spirit for Jonathan "Bryle" De Guia, and Dawnbreaker for Gainullin "kasane" Ilyas.

Both teams were on relatively even footing to start the game, but TSM won a pivotal clash at the Roshan pit around the 22-minute mark to force Shopify Rebellion on the backfoot.

With Shopify Rebellion feeling the pressure, Arteezy struggled to keep up with Timado in terms of net worth and stayed out of most teamfights to farm. As a result, TSM easily won the ensuing clashes and only grew their lead further.

In the end, the carry Dark Willow pick for Shopify Rebellion failed to have much of an impact as TSM took their first win of the series in 47 minutes.

Timado fueled TSM's 30-16 kill lead with an excellent line of 12 kills and six assists on just one death. Kasane also pitched in with eight kills and 13 assists on four deaths.


TSM upped the tempo in game two with some unorthodox picks of their own in a mid Magnus for Bryle and an offlane Lycan for kasane. Timado rounded out the tri-core with Luna to give his team a powerful early power spike.

Meanwhile, Shopify Rebellion looked to survive TSM's early onslaught and take things late behind Arteezy's Morphling. Abed "Abed" Yusop on Primal Beast and Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek on Centaur Warrunner were tasked with making space for their carry.

Shopify Rebellion looked good to start the game by scoring two early kills on kasane to slow down TSM's snowball. However, a disastrous fight for Shopify Rebellion around the 14-minute mark handed TSM four big kills that enabled them to begin their onslaught.

With momentum on their side, TSM simply bulldozed through a hapless Shopify Rebellion squad to secure the 2-0 series sweep in just 27 minutes of action.

Timado led the way for TSM with five kills and five assists on just one death to pace his team's 14-8 kill lead. Bryle also added a clean 3 kills and 11 assists.


With their victory over Shopify Rebellion, TSM have guaranteed themselves at least a Top 12 finish and at least US$61,000 in winnings.

They will next face the other North American team in TI, Nouns Esports, for a guaranteed Top 8 finish and the right to advance to the Main Event.

Meanwhile, Shopify Rebellion bomb out of TI 2023 in 13th-16th place with US$46,000 in consolation.

The Road to The International Playoffs will take place from 20 to 22 October in the Seattle Convention Center's Summit. It will feature the 16 teams that made it out of the Group Stage fighting to be among the eight teams making it to The International Main Event.

The International Main Event will be hosted in the Climate Pledge Arena from 27 to 29 October, where this year's Dota 2 world champion will be crowned in the Grand Finals on 29 October.

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

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