Three-time Dota 2 Major champions Gaimin Gladiators kicked off The International (TI) 2023's Finals Weekend in style after they knocked North America's Nouns Esports out of the tournament in a 2-0 sweep on Saturday (28 October).
With their victory, Gaimin Gladiators have secured at least a Top 6 finish at TI 2023 as well as US$101,000 in winnings. Meanwhile, Nouns exit the tournament in 7th-8th place with US$77,000 in consolation.
The three-time Major champions blitzed through Nouns, who are known as a late game-oriented team, with very aggressive drafts throughout the series to secure the sweep.
Gaimin Gladiators' high-tempo drafts in both games was anchored by Chen for Melchior "Seleri" Hillenkamp, who helped secure a strong start in the laning stage for his cores before fueling their game-ending pushes with his army of creeps and arsenal of aura items.
However, it was offlaner Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard that was the standout player of the series. In game one, he acted as a nigh-impenetrable frontline tank as Tidehunter while in game two he spearheaded his team's overwhelming push as Lone Druid.
The three-time Major champions took game one in 34 minutes and with a 28-13 kill lead. Quinn "Quinn" Callahan on Pangolier paced things with nine kills and 13 assists on three deaths while Ace on Tidehunter had seven kills and 15 assists against just one death. Erik "tOfu" Engel on Grimstroke also had a clean five kills and 15 assists.
Game two was an even more one-sided affair, ending in just 25 minutes and with Gaimin Gladiators holding a 20-8 kill lead. Ace on Lone Druid and Quinn on a mid Dazzle notably combined for 12 kills and 20 assists with just one death each.
Gaimin Gladiators have now advanced to the lower bracket quarterfinals, where they will face the loser of the upper bracket semifinals match between Team Liquid and Team Spirit in the second day of Finals Weekend.
TI 2023's Finals Weekend will be hosted in the Climate Pledge Arena from 27 to 29 October in Seattle. There, the eight remaining teams will be battling to decide who will be crowned as this year's Dota 2 world champions.
For everything you need to know about TI 2023, check here.