Depending on your timezone, you might still be in the best day of Dota 2 ever.
Riyadh Masters 2023 has had some nail biters, but last night’s upper bracket semifinals, featuring Team Liquid, Talon Esports, BetBoom Team, and Team Spirit, were the cream of the crop in back-to-back series.
The Dota 2 community was abuzz, with one user even calling it the “most entertaining single day in the history of Dota.” Team Liquid’s coach, William “Blitz” Lee, can vouch for the intensity of the tournament as well.
“The games at this tournament are simply unbelievable anyone can win and the tension is so high,” Blitz wrote on Twitter.
These four teams were playing for nearly US$1 million as well — winning their respective series would have placed them in the top three, with a prize purse of US$1.7 million. The other two teams are guaranteed top six with US$800,000, and will continue to have a chance in the lower bracket.
Warning: Spoilers for series outcomes ahead! If you want to watch the full series, here are the VODs
Riyadh Masters 2023: Team Liquid and Talon Esports go blow for blow in tense finale
After splitting the first two games, Liquid and Talon pulled out all the stops in game three. Talon trusted Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon with his signature Morphling, and Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg with Broodmother.
23savage did not disappoint with his Morphling, proving that he’s a true grandmaster of the hero with his immaculate spellcasting. Meanwhile, zai was showcasing the strength of Broodmother with some truly filthy ratting.
Even though Liquid found themselves unable to teamfight well into Talon’s lineup, zai’s Brood was able to relieve a lot of pressure on the lanes. This meant that while Liquid held a substantial gold lead through the mid-game, Talon was more than capable of keeping up in skirmishes.
It was a classic battle of split-push versus teamfight — and one team had to give.
In the final teamfight of the game, 23savage’s Morphling Waveformed, Swashbuckled, and Time Walked his way all over a frantic Liquid. Abusing immense mobility and survivability, 23savage was even able to snipe Michael “miCKe” Vu’s Faceless Void in his own fountain. It was over — or was it?
For Liquid, three crucial heroes remained alive — Broodmother, Samuel “Boxi” Svahn’s Rubick, and Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi’s Oracle.
Despite losing the teamfight handily, zai’s previous takedown of two lanes of barracks meant that an opportunity opened up for him to teleport into the Radiant base.
iNSaNiA embarked on some disgusting delay tactics, using Fate’s Edict constantly to disarm Morphling, preventing 23savage from killing the Liquid Ancient.
Then, Boxi canceled 23savage’s Teleport Scroll with a stolen Avalanche, and a stray Fortune’s End also canceled Ember Spirit’s TP — leaving zai to freely hit the base, and secure a win for Team Liquid.
Team Spirit holds strong against BetBoom Team in two immense comebacks
Team Spirit and BetBoom team also went to three games. The never-say-die championship attitude evidently remains with Team Spirit, who came back from some huge deficits in games one and three.
In the two games they won, Spirit never led in net worth past the two-minute mark. While they did have a slight lead in gold in game three thanks to a courier kill, BetBoom took control with masterful laning stages.
It was all BetBoom in the early and mid-game. Unfortunately for BetBoom, Team Spirit put the Defense in Dota 2 — pulling out some incredible maneuvers to keep their dreams alive.
Weaving and bobbing through teamfights, Spirit put on their dancing shoes and made their opponents pay. Eking out tough fight after tough fight with every skill at their disposal, Spirit showed that even in a meta when winning lanes seems to be the highest priority, their perfectly executed teamfights are enough to take down any team.
You can watch the full highlights of the series here:
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