Riyadh Masters 2023 Group Stage – Match Analysis and Predictions


The Riyadh Masters 2023 is dubbed the largest Dota 2 Championship, rivaling even Valve’s The International (TI) Championship. It boasts a generous $15M prize pool that puts the early years of TI (2011-2014) to shame, where twenty teams brawl it out.

The Play-ins are the first stage, where twelve teams qualified based on the EPT Ranking System, compete for a group stage slot. With only eight qualifying slots, teams scramble to beat the competition, or else they will go home with a mere $50K winning.

Riyadh Masters 2023 Play-in Stage Recap

Group A

Group A concluded in a one-sided dominance from Team Aster and Team Liquid, taking the top seeds and the Group Stage slots. Considering Team Liquid’s status as the second-strongest team in Dota Pro Circuit 2023 (DPC 2023), it was no surprise. Whereas Team Aster put up a decent fight themselves, snatching three clean series.

While their group stage slots are confirmed, Aster and Liquid have yet to face one another, which will decide which team is superior. Of course, the fans favor Liquid as the strongest team, second only to Gaimin Gladiators. Hence, Aster and Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan are somehow still the underdogs going into this match.

Group B

Over at Group B, the competition is much more even, despite having multiple TI12 direct invitees. Namely, 9Pandas and beastcoast are strong opponents to be in the Play-in stage, yet beastcoast has already cemented themselves in the bottom seeds of group B.

Let’s not forget Quest Esports, which was a team many anticipated to be at TI12 and would eventually qualify via TI12 Regional Qualifier. Given their fourth-place finish at Bali Major 2023 behind only the Big Western Europe Trio (Gaimin, Liquid, Tundra Esports). However, Quest is playing without AmmarATF” Al-Assaf, which is a cause for concern since he contributed highly to their Major performance.

Yet, Quest is seemingly doing well, at least in the Play-in stage, to redeem a Group Stage slot as the top seeds.

Group Stage Match Predictions

With the Play-ins concluded, we have a convincing pack of teams in the Group Stage to be excited about. Notably, Gaimin Gladiators vs Team Spirit is on everyone’s watchlist, considering both teams’ titles. On one side, we have a three-time Major Champion, while the latter is none other than the TI10 Champions themselves.

Gaimin Gladiators vs Team Spirit

At first glance, Gaimin is unstoppable and in their prime in DPC 2023, but even the strongest could fall when the stakes are high. The pressure is on for GG as they are surely the most studied opponent in every team’s book.

On the other hand, Spirit has been on the sidelines, enjoying lesser attention, so perhaps they might just brew some incredible stunts in Riyadh Masters Group Stage.

Gaimin Gladiators vs PSG.LGD

Gaimin is also scheduled to face PSG.LGD, the only Chinese powerhouse to qualify for TI12 via direct invite. However, even with such accomplishment, this team is merely a husk of their former self. Without their golden boy, Wang “Ame” Chunyu, on the forefront, it’s impossible for them to beat Gaimin.

GG Riyadh Masters

Credit: Gamers8 / Gaimin Gladiators

Evil Geniuses vs Team Spirit

A more interesting match-up coming up next is Evil Geniuses vs Team Spirit, for good reasons. EG may not be on the list of top three teams in the past majors, but it has performed consistently to be South America’s most prominent candidate. Sure, crashing the Bali Major at last place isn’t a good look, but fans believe they weren’t taking the major seriously since they already placed fifth in the DPC 2023 Leaderboard.

Tundra Esports vs Talon Esports

An honorable mention on the Tundra Esports vs Talon Esports match is well deserved, given how poorly the Southeast Asian teams performed at Bali Major. Specifically, Talon didn’t qualify for Bali Major but is the only SEA team to qualify for TI12 at eight-place on the DPC 2023 Leaderboard. Considering the long hiatus since we last saw Talon play, perhaps this SEA team is looking for early redemption by stomping over one of the WEU Big Trio.

Given the stakes at Riyadh Masters 2023, it’s going to be an enjoyable week ahead with action-packed games between world-class teams.

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