Dota 2 Lima Major: Liquid, Gladiators top the standings as China, Eastern Europe struggle
Western Europe continues to look strong while Southeast Asia and North America show promise.
The action is heating up in the Dota 2 Lima Major as the Group Stage got past its halfway point.
The top teams are beginning to separate themselves from the rest of the competition, who are now in a chaotic scramble for spots in the Playoffs.
While most of the regions are well-represented among the best performers, with Western Europe notably holding three out of the eight top spots in both groups, the Chinese teams only continue to struggle.
Here's how things stand after the third day of competition in the Lima Major Group Stage:
Gladiators, Talon dominate Group A while EHOME flounder
Arguably the biggest surprises of the Major thus far have been the two top teams of Group A: Western Europe's Gaimin Gladiators and Southeast Asia's Talon Esports.
While the Gladiators do hail from the strongest region in the circuit, they weren't exactly expected to be the ones holding this top spot. They currently hold a 8-2 record, tied with Team Liquid for the best record among all teams at this point.
The Gladiators have only dropped two games so far to Talon and Execration, sweeping The International 10 (TI10) champions Tundra Esports, Team Spirit, and EHOME. With only three matches left to play, it's safe to say that the Gladiators are locked in for the Playoffs and in prime position to secure an upper bracket berth.
Meanwhile, Talon have performed excellently despite being pegged as one of the weaker teams prior to the tournament. They hold a 8-4 record and have yet to concede a series, with their four losses only coming in 1-1 ties.
Talon is also looking like a lock for the Playoffs, though they still have work to do if they hope to be one of the top two seeds.
Three teams are in contention for the other two upper bracket slots for Group A: Team Spirit, Evil Geniuses (EG), and PSG.LGD. The former hold a 6-4 record while the latter two are tied at 5-5 apiece.
PSG.LGD have been the best-performing Chinese team of the tournament, though that's not saying much, especially when considering the team's past performances in Majors. It's one of the surer signs of Chinese Dota's continued decline over the past few seasons.
Still in the mix for a spot in the Playoffs are The International 11 (TI11) champions Tundra Esports and North America's TSM.
After a promising start in day one of the Group Stage, the reigning TI champs struggled mightily and got swept in back-to-back series against PSG.LGD and EG to be tied at 5-7 with TSM. While it's hard to count out Tundra this early on, things are not looking promising.
Speaking of performances that haven't elicited much optimism, Execration and EHOME sit at the bottom of Group A with a 4-6 and 2-8 record, respectively. Execration still has a puncher's chance of making the Playoffs while EHOME is all but assured of an early exit.
Liquid, Shopify Rebellion lead in Group B as BetBoom, Knights stumble
While Group A has seen a lot of surprises, things are looking more predictable in Group B.
Leading the way is Team Liquid, the squad many have considered as the biggest favorites to claim the Major championship. The Western European juggernauts are tied with the Gladiators for the best record among all teams thus far with a 8-2 line, surprisingly dropping two games against Geek Slate and BetBoom Team.
From what they have been showing so far, Liquid are practically guaranteed a Playoff spot and will be looking to make good on their promise as championship favourites.
Not far behind Liquid are North America's Shopify Rebellion, who are sitting pretty with a 8-4 record. The Rebellion also seem headed for the Playoffs, though they look less convincing than Liquid when considering they have been forced to four ties in what should have been sweeps.
At third in Group B is Entity, another strong performer from Western Europe, with a 7-5 record. Despite getting swept by Liquid, this squad still has the potential to overtake the Rebellion for the second seed of the group as their remaining matches are against the struggling Eastern European teams.
Tied for the last upper bracket spot are home team Beastcoast and Southeast Asia's Geek Slate with 6-4 records apiece. The two will face off in an important match in day four of the Group Stage, which will likely determine which of them claims the upper bracket berth.
Treading on thin ice are Eastern Europe's HellRaisers and BetBoom Team as well as China's Team Aster.
HellRaisers hold the edge with a 5-7 record and 2-0 sweeps over BetBoom and Aster despite having to field a stand-in after a surprising roster change.
Meanwhile, BetBoom and Aster have to be the two biggest disappointments of the Major.
BetBoom were considered to be their region's superteam and were pegged as one of the favorites, only to get manhandled by HellRaisers. Aster were also considered contenders as the fourth-placed team at TI11 but also got swept by a team with a stand-in.
Either one of BetBoom and Aster are practically guaranteed to get eliminated early, and it's looking very likely that both will get sent home.
Oh, and Knights have been the worst team of the Major by far with an abysmal 1-9 record. Their only win was a surprising upset over Shopify Rebellion. They are all but assured of an early exit.
Here are the full standings after day three of the Lima Major Group Stage:
Gaimin Gladiators: 8-2
Talon Esports: 8-4
Team Spirit: 6-4
Evil Geniuses: 5-5
Tundra Esports: 5-7
Team Liquid: 8-2
Shopify Rebellion: 8-4
Geek Slate: 6-4
Team Aster: 4-6
BetBoom Team: 3-7
The Lima Major Group Stage will take place from 22 to 26 February and will feature the 18 participating teams split into two groups of nine teams each fighting for a spot in the Playoffs.
Six out of the nine teams in each group will earn Playoff spots. The Top 4 teams of each group will advance to the upper bracket while the fifth and sixth-placed teams will have to start from the lower bracket.
Meanwhile, the bottom three teams in each group will be eliminated early.
The Lima Major is the first Major of the 2023 DPC season and will feature 18 of the best teams in the circuit battling for their share of the US$500,000 prize pool and 1,900 DPC point pool. For everything you need to know about the Lima Major, check here.
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