Yesterday was the Opening Ceremony and the first day of DOTA 2’s big yearly event, with plenty of great games and entertainment to get the event started. The venue is set beautifully with a packed audience to boot.
Today’s day is looking to be no different. Two teams from the lower bracket find themselves eliminated as the TI bracket moves ahead. Gaimin Gladiators fought their way through nouns to keep their TI run going and Virtus Pro fell to their Eastern European rivals Betboom. The remaining teams make up the Top 6 of The International 2023 and today’s matches will push the event to the big finals for tomorrow.
Right out of the bag to start the second day off, the first matchup is between Team Liquid and Gaimin Gladiators in the Lower Bracket. The rivalry between these is very well known, with both teams hailing an impressive run in this year’s DOTA Pro Circuit. Both sides want to move ahead in The International, and both teams do not want to go home today. Fans are looking ecstatic as well.
Team Liquid Versus Gaimin Gladiators:
The ban phase starts and Team Liquid instantly go to take out the meta heroes; Primal Beast, Chaos Knight and Bristleback. Gaimin Gladiators do the same and ban out Ancient Apparition and Spirit Breaker. There’s an opening for Muerta as first pick and it goes to Gaimin as Dire. Team Liquid go on to ban Chen, Terrorblade and Spectre and pick Weaver, Luna, and Kunnka while Gaimin Gladiators ban Treant, Willow, Bremaster, Lina and Batrider and pick Centaur Warrunner, Pheonix, Necrophos and lastly Bloodseeker to get a subjectively small drafting edge. Liquid choose Invoker as their last pick. Cap and SVG start their casting.
An instant pause for some saucy voice lines and memes to begin the game. Bot river rune contestation ends with a kill on both sides but Insania’s Pugna going down gives First Blood to Gaimin Gladiator’s Quinn playing Necro. The laning phase is hot from the start, with Top and Bot consistently going aggressive and getting kill points going. The game reaches the 25th-minute mark and Gaimin Gladiators don’t stop their pressure, with Liquid trying to keep up and make their way to the Late Game. Necrophos is a menace on the map single-handedly giving Gaimin Gladiators the power to push hard and pressure Team Liquid. But then, Gaimin Gladiators think they’ll be able to take off Roshan at night at top. Team Liquid can see it all, and somehow Tide lands both his ulti and his spell and all of Team Liquid jumps in and takes out 3 almost instantly. A big win for Liquid and a hefty blow for Gaimin Gladiators. The game starts to look even again with Liquid gaining back their half of the map to start farming again. They start pushing the Top Lane through its Tier 2 Tower, and Necro looks to be tanky and thinks he’s strong enough to handle front lining. However he goes too far, Team Liquid catch him again and Gaimin Gladiator’s highest network hero is now killed and dwindling. Liquid take the Top Barracks and now have good momentum, Luna is farmed and they’re coming in hard. They take the Mid barracks as well and now only the Bottom Lane is left as a hurdle. 18k Gold lead plus Roshan for Team Liquid at the 38-minute mark. The lead is strong and Liquid secure Mega Creeps and their lead is higher than ever. Gaimin Gladiators looked strong earlier, Liquid have managed to topple their aggression convincingly. They win Game 1.
Gaimin Gladiators change their draft a bit and pick Muerta, Pheonix, Long Druid, Pangolier and Razor but Team Liquid seem comfortable with most of their game 1 picks and pick Pugna, Enchantress, Luna, Kunkka and Tidehunter.
First Blood goes to Liquid at the Bot Lane by killing Dyrachyo’s Razor. Bot Lane turns hard with the consistent aggression from Zai’s Tidehunter and Boxi’s Pugna blasts. It’s not like the normal case Gaimin Gladiators game where they go aggressive right from the start. Liquid keep taking many good picks and getting a lead going for them. At minute 23 however, they end up making a big blunder while trying to push high ground at the Bot Lane. They go too deep, Kunkka gets taken out of the equation and suddenly Liquid are vulnerable. 4 go down and it is a disaster for Liquid. Gaimin Gladiators get much-needed Gold and Exp and now looks much more even and better for them. Another team fight at the 29th Minute starts and looks to be even, but Gaimin Gladiators are tanking enough to take it all and counter with enough power to team-wipe Team Liquid. Suddenly a 16k Gold lead has developed for Gaiming Gladiators and now the momentum is huge. They win another initiation at minute 40 and they come back and win game 2.
Everybody is getting a Game 3 between Team Liquid and Gaimin Gladiators at The International.
Gaimin Gladiators pick Muerta, Weaver, Wraith King, Nature Prophet and because Quinn needs to pick a real hero, he gets Void Spirit. Team Liquid pick Pugna, Centuar Warrrunner, Skywrath Mage, Terrorblade and Puck. Micke gets First Blood on his Terrorblade by taking out Ace’s Wraith King before the runes spawn.
Gaimin Gladiators look like they’ve mentally recovered from the first loss, their aggression is back, and very effective. Slowly they move to get pickoffs and more map farm. Liquid are trying to keep up, but really weak team fights give them hefty losses in the early game. The score is 17-7 at the 17th-minute mark in favour of Gaimin Gladiators who also have a 10k lead now. It doesn’t stop, is Team Liquid are completely outplayed by Gaimin Gladiators. It gets worse and worse with every team fight going in favour of Gaimin. Not what fans expected or wanted, but the match is not close at all as Gaimin Gladiators win and secure their matchup coming ahead in the day. They’re still a part of The International.
Fan-favourites Team Liquid are eliminated from The International.
Azure Ray Versus BetBoom:
Azure Ray draft Pugna, Tusk, Dawnbreaker, Necrophos and Lifestealer. BetBoom ready themselves with Chaos Knight, Techies, Pheonix, Kunkka and Templar Assassin. Trent and Lyric are joined by nouns’ Gunnar as castors for this match. Slacks looks immensely happy with Techies finally in a match at The International, and the game begins.
A small pause because of some sound issue, probably Slacks screaming in chaotic happiness. The first rune spawn goes smoothly without any deep initiation. The startup is calm, and First Blood comes after Minute 4 to BetBoom’s Techies at the Bot Lane by taking out Pugna. Some pickoffs come for both sides leading to a team fight where BetBoom get the upper hand after Azure Ray try to go aggro at Mid. BetBoom kill off 3 Azure Ray’s Mid Necro. Another fight at Minute 28 and this time Azure Ray get the upper hand. The match looks even. Azure Ray have much better Map presence and so BetBoom are forced to play a little defensively and so lose som map control. Azure Ray starts to farm up. A fight for Roshan happens at the Bot Lane at the 44th minute and even that comes out even, both sides using a few buybacks and taking out a few of each other. However, Azure Ray’s Late Game presence is strong, they quickly farm up again and now go high ground with a considerable Gold lead. BetBoom does not want this to happen, and they make out an almost full team-wipe.
Azure Ray however still shows that they have the upper hand with map control, and with that recovery, they start pushing again. This time picking off a few of BetBoom’s heroes, the throne is open to them and they win the first game.
The second game has BetBoom pick CK, Willow, Pheonix, Faceless Void and Dragon Knight. Azure Ray get Muerta, Tusk, Dawnbreaker, Luna and Puck for themselves.
And what do you know, Dragon Knight’s surprise draft pick actually works out as BetBooms Mid DK takes out Azure Ray’s Mid Puck for First Blood. The game looks completely in favour of BetBoom this time around as they have 17 kills to Azure Ray’s 4 at minute 17. It doesnt stop, BetBoom conquer the map and get even more kills and a bigger gold lead leading up to the 30-minute mark. Teamfights give them complete team wipes as Azure Ray don’t have an answer for their plays and their draft. A final desperate attempt comes from AR to try to get Roshan at the bottom side, but again it does not work. They call GG and BetBoom make it even and get to game 3 at The International.
Muerta, Enchantress, Morphling, Legion Commander and Invoker go to BetBoom. Pheonix,Clockwerk, Brewmaster, Kunkka and Luna go to Azure Ray.
Muerta gets a good Deadshot on Clockwerk to kill him off for First Blood at Top. Both teams are playing very carefully. At the 25th minute, both teams get a few more kills but the game is still even. Azure come back with a few good pickoffs that give them some room to farm on the map and they go high ground as soon as they feel they’re strong enough. BetBoom try to defend their high ground at Bottom but they’re unable to save their carrys, and once they’re out including their buybacks, the game is all for Azure Ray.
BetBoom are eliminated from The International, and Azure Ray are going ahead to face Gaimin Gladiators later in a few hours.
LGD Versus Team Spirit:
An audience-favourite match of the day is up next. The winning team gets the ticket to the Grand Finals of The International 2023. Team Spirit and LGD Gaming both get ready go get their Upper Bracket matchup going.
LGD pick Ancient Apparition, Grimstroke, CK, Tinker and Centaur Warrunner for their 5-man draft. Team Spirit take Shadow Demon, Magnus, Elder Titan, Terrorblade and Kunkka for themselves.
A gank good well for LGD near the top Lotus Fountain and they take out Miposhka’s Elder Titan for First Blood for Niu’s Centaur Warrunner. The Top Lane gets the limelight for the first 10 minutes of the game as multiple ganks happen and give LGD some worthwhile kills to try to shut down Spirit’s safelane. Spirit still stands with no kills at minute 10. They start to get active on the map, and get a few kills after and the game goes somewhat even. Tinker allows LGD to hold formidable map control and team fight potential, so Team Spirit look to farm up and make something out of the game. It goes their way when they suddenly get a good pickoff on Tinker, opening up a chance to push highground. They clear out the Bottom Lane and take out the Bot Barracks. A heated initiation happens at minute 48 on top, both sides getting kills and using buybacks to keep their stance. Spirit still have the lead and they use it to get another set of Barracks and try to end the game. LGD won’t let that happen and clear them out giving them some more minutes to make something happen.
The clock strikes the 60th minute and teams are now reaching the Late Game. Team Spirit still have their 15k Gold lead and use their map presence to take Roshan to push once more. When it looks like LGD are getting pushed back, they get a good initiation on Spirit to take out three of them and now Spirit have lost their chance to push for another few minutes. Yatoro isn’t your average carry however and makes a cheeky play to try to take out the last standing Barracks and kill Ancient Apparition in his base. LGD have to come back and defend. Mega Creeps for Team Spirit. The game starts to go longer, Spirit hunting for Tinker and LGD sneaking in for any reliable initiation or pickoff. The final intense teamfight comes at minute 75 and Tinker loses his life and buyback and his life again. Centaur also gets taken down, Team Spirit have still everything on their side.
GG is called and Team Spirit secure their game 1 win and now stand just a game away from the grand finals of the International.
LGD pick Magnus to take it away from Spirit and also add Grimstroke, Spectre, Witch Doctor and Doom to their draft. Team Spirit take CK, Willow, Treant, Kunkka and Morphling.
No kills in the first 5 minutes of the game. First Blood comes to Wilow by taking out Spectre at Bot. Both teams stay together to get through the minutes and the game is even. Team Spirit are masters of pushing little by little and turning it into a completely dominant map control in their games and it happens here once again like it happened in the previous match. They get an Exp and Gold lead for them and push hard. LGD don’t have an answer. Slowly their barracks go down and their base starts to look empty. Desperate attempts from LGD leave Spectre along next to her Top Barracks and Team Spirit take her down. Buyback used, but to no avail. As soon as she rejoins, Morphling takes her out again.
Team Spirit dominate the game and are now the grand-finalists of The International 2023. LGD drop down to the Lower Bracket for another chance to climb back tomorrow.
Azure Ray Versus Gaimin Gladiators:
Winners of the first two matchups of today now face each other to decide who will go to the Top 3 positions of The International.
Some new faces in both sides in the drafting phase as Azure Ray pick Naga Siren, Muerta, CW, Enchantress and finally Outworld Devourer. Gaimin Gladiators pick CK, Chen, Pugna, Pangolier and Underlord. I guess Pango is a real hero now.
Muerta gets a kill on CK at the Top Lane for First Blood. Centaur is taken out right after however. We all know how Gaimin is now, aggression and pressure right from the start, and as soon as Pango gets online and ahead they push hard. The Bottom Lane loses its Tier 2 and high ground is the next objective for Gaimin. Azure Ray lose their Bottom Barracks before Minute 20, an 11k Gold Lead for Gaimin Gladiators. No slowing down now, full head-on with great momentum, and the game ends with Gladiators winning it in 22 minutes. They hold this TI’s record for the fastest game.
Oh, dearie, a Huskar comes as the last pick for Gaimin Gladiators, alongside Weaver, Muerta, Lone Druid and Enchantress. Azure Ray pick Pugna, Clockwerk, Kunkka, Templar Assassin and Bremaster. Laning will be hell with Huskar as an opponent.
Speaking of hell, it breaks loose even before the runes spawn, Gaimin Gladiators securing it on Ace’s Lone Druid by killing Lou’s Templar Assassin. Aggression, aggression, aggression. So much that 5 kills go to Gladiators in less than 3 minutes. It is too much, barely 20 minutes in and Azure Ray have no idea what’s going on, except that they’re completely outclassed and have absolutely no strength or map control or defence. A 24k Gold Lead for Gaimin Gladiators at the 22nd-minute mark.
Gaimin take less than an hour to decide that they’re going to be included in the Top 3 teams of The International.
And so, everything is set for the final day tomorrow of The International 2023 DOTA 2 event. There might be plenty of entertainment tomorrow aside from the grand finals and matches. The newest champions of DOTA 2 will be crowned.
For more on DOTA 2, you can check out the game’s official website. The Secret Shop is also open to everyone looking to get some great TI goodies. Tomorrow is the big final day of The International and any DOTA 2 fan could barely sleep in anticipation.