Brazilian Dota 2 team Vivo Keyd Stars have become the third team to qualify for The International (TI) 2023 from the regional qualifiers after they claimed the first of two spots in the tournament from the South American regional qualifier with a 2-0 sweep over AcatSuki in the qualifier's upper bracket finals on Saturday (26 August).
Keyd Stars is one of the many teams that had grinded through the rising South American regional league during the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season.
The team started the season with a roster featuring Guilherme "Costabile" Costábile, Adriano "4dr" Machado, Otávio "tavo" Silva, Danylo "Kingrd" Nascimento, and Matheus "KJ" Diniz.
Keyd Stars finished South America's Winter Tour regional league in fourth place before getting dropped to Division II after a seventh place finish in the Spring Tour regional league, after which 4dr and Tavo left in May.
Keyd Stars replaced their departing players with João "4nalog" Giannini and Gustavo "fcr" Ribeiro then bounced back with a first place finish in Division II of the Summer Tour regional league ahead of the TI 2023 regional qualifiers.
Not many expected Keyd Stars to perform so well in the qualifiers, having been demoted to Division II during the season. Even so, the team enjoyed a strong start to the qualifiers with a 2-0 sweep over Balrogs before they defeated favourites Thunder Awaken, 2-1, to reach the upper bracket finals.
Standing in Keyd Stars way towards one of the two spots in TI 2023 were AcatSuki, a team that also defeated more established squads in Infamous and Infinity to get to this point.
Keyd Stars came out swinging to start the series, taking a comfortable 44-minute win in game one behind strong performances from Costabile and 4nalog.
Costabile led the way as Sven with 11 kills and 12 assists on two deaths while 4nalog on Lina pitched in with eight kills and 10 assists against three deaths to pace Keyd Stars' 29-19 kill lead in game one.
Game two was practically a victory lap to TI 2023 for Keyd Stars, as they made short work of AcatSuki in 30 minutes to complete the 2-0 series sweep.
Costabile on Gyrocopter and 4nalog on Invoker shined once again, racking up nine kills apiece and a combined 25 assists on three deaths between the two of them. Fcr also had a stellar performance on Timbersaw, pitching in with six kills and seven assists on one death.
With their victory over AcatSuki, Keyd Stars are now the third team to qualify for TI 2023 through the regional qualifiers and the first of two from South America.
South America and Western Europe were both given one additional spot in TI 2023 through the regional qualifiers by Dota 2 developer Valve Software back in June as part of a revamped format for this year's world championship tournament.
AcatSuki still has a chance to grab that second spot for South America in their qualifier's lower bracket finals, where they will face the winner of the lower bracket semifinals between Mad Kings and Thunder Awaken.
South America will have four teams in TI 2023, including directly-invited squads Evil Geniuses and Beastcoast alongside the two winners of their regional qualifier.
TI 2023's regional qualifiers will run until 31 August, with the competition being split into three five-day phases where two regions will compete in each phase.
With the qualifiers for North America and China now concluded, the qualifiers for South America and Eastern Europe are ongoing from 22 to 26 August. Western Europe and Southeast Asia will then close things out from 27 to 31 August.
TI 2023 will be hosted across multiple weekends from 12 to 29 October in Seattle, the United States. This year's tournament also features a revamped format split into two distinct phases, called 'The Road to The International' and 'The International' itself.