Major Champions Return | ESL One Berlin Major 2023 Group Stage
Berlin, the second stop in the Dota Pro Circuit 2023 season has made its way to the Capital of Germany; With the hopeful Western European and Major 1 winning Gaimin Gladiators to continue their prevalent dominance on a yearly pursuit of The International 12 accession. Group stage, sometimes referred to as the “LAN” portion, began the first part of the two week long major event. After strong showings in both Dreamleagues Season 19 and previous Lima Major wins; the Gaimin Gladiators roster looked to maintain their group stage dominance in hopes of competing at the majors grandest stages in a finale set-up in Berlin’s iconic Velodrom Arena.
Divided into two groups of 9; the top four of each group would ascend to winner’s side competition while the fifth and sixth seeded teams would slot into lower bracket last chance contests, an uneasy and potentially difficult path to victory. Positioned in Group A, the Gaimin Gladiators looked to battle against the best of Major two’s qualified teams including: PSG.LGD, Team Aster, Evil Geniuses, 9 Pandas, Team Liquid, BetBoom Team, Execration and TSM, with best of two series’ with everything on the line. With eye’s a plenty on the dominant Gaimin Gladiators roster, high expectations were expressed from the masses, and with a new patch that shifted the Dota 2 ecosystem; The ESL One Berlin Major 2023 looked to provide some of the most exciting Dota this 2023 season.
The Gaimin Gladiators definitely did not disappoint.
Day 1: April 26th
Series 1: Evil Geniuses 1 - Gaimin Gladiators 1
Series 2: PSG.LGD 0 - Gaimin Gladiators 2
After an opening day, and major opening series against South American Evil Genius roster; the Gladiators won and lost in quick fashion, splitting the opening series in one of the quickest series’ in the new 7.33 patch. Warming their hands for a long and strenuous group stage portion, the Gladiators turned up the heat on the wavering Chinese PSG.LGD roster, winning the day’s second series in a combined 52 minutes. The opening day showed significant strengths for the Western European roster, in a patch yet to be fully calculated.
Day 2: April 27th
Series 1: Gaimin Gladiators 1 - BetBoom Team 1
Series 2: Execration 0 - Gaimin Gladiators 2
Continuing the opening day split and subsequent series two dominance; the Gladiators maintained their stance in upper bracket qualification beating the likes of Eastern Europe and South East Asia's Tour 2 DPC winners. With strong drafting and precise team cohesion, Gaimin Gladiators looked to continue months of prior success.
Day 3: April 28th
Series 1: Gaimin Gladiators 2 - Team Aster 0
Series 2: Team Liquid 0 - Gaimin Gladiators 2
Captivating a strong start to the group stage portion, the Gaimin Gladiators came out of day 3 with two consecutive complete games, finishing a full day without defeat. On the back of a 28 and 26 minute 2-0 victory over Team Aster, and 26 and 28 minute victory over rival Team Liquid; The Gladiators maintained a stranglehold for the time being, looking to continue their path to upper bracket qualification.
Day 4: April 29th
Series 1: 9 Pandas 1 - Gaimin Gladiators 1
With their sole series’ and last of Group A’s day, the Gladiators opened day 4 with a strong game 1 performance that unfortunately faltered in the series second game. Winning an opening game in 37 minute fashion, the second game went into the hands of the Eastern European 9 Panda roster. Even with the series’ split, playoffs were ultimately secured, but the hopes of first place in Group A were still in their sights. With one final day to determine their seeding, the Gladiators looked to their final day to secure as the best team in the group.
Day 5: April 30th
Series 1: TSM 0 - Gaimin Gladiators 2
As they had throughout varying series’ in Group A play, Gaimin Gladiators knew the stakes and didn’t look back. With an opening 28 minute stomp on one of the weaker teams Group A had to offer, the Gladiators didn’t play down to their competition. Game two provided much of the same in grueling fashion, as the Gladiators maintained their dominance defeating North America’s TSM roster, squashing their hopes of playoff contention.
Finishing their group stage with a collective 5-3-0 series’ score and 13-3 total; the Gladiators booked their ticket to Berlin’s Velodrom Arena, looking as one of the strongest out of the initial group stage portion. With repeat major winners still in their sights, the best is yet to come, and the Gladiators now turn the page to the exciting playoff competition. With the first place praise and selection, Eastern Europe's Team Spirit is up next, and the Gladiators look better and more determined than ever, to continue their major strength in hopes of a repeat performance.
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