The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the rematch of The International (TI) 2023 grand finals between two-time champions Team Spirit and runners-up Gaimin Gladiators. While many expected Spirit to continue reigning supreme, it was Gaimin Gladiators that emerged victorious in a sound 2-0 sweep.
Chinese powerhouse and group stage leaders Xtreme Gaming also fell victim to a 2-0 upset at the hands of Team Falcons.
Elsewhere, Eastern Europe's BetBoom Team continued China's woes as they swept LGD Gaming. The only victorious Chinese squad of the day was Azure Ray, who edged out Western Europe's Team Liquid in a 2-1 series.
With these results, Gaimin Gladiators, Team Falcons, BetBoom Team, and Azure Ray have guaranteed themselves at least a Top 6 finish as well as US$45,000 in winnings. Meanwhile, Team Spirit, Xtreme Gaming, LGD Gaming, and Team Liquid will have to fight for their tournament lives in the lower bracket.
Here's how all the matches in day one of the BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024 Playoffs went down:
BetBoom Team 2-0 LGD Gaming
The Playoffs opened with a match between LGD and BetBoom, with many favouring the Chinese squad to win given their 6-4 record in the Group Stage in contrast to their opponents' middling 4-6 standing. However, BetBoom ended up defying expectations as they soundly swept LGD.
Game one saw BetBoom repel an aggressive LGD draft to score a 43-minute comeback win behind a clean performance from Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko on Slark. Nightfall finished with eight kills and seven assists on zero deaths to pace his team's 22-14 kill lead to take their first win of the series.
BetBoom then closed the door on LGD with a 32-minute stomp in game two that featured another clean outing for Nightfall, this time on Sven. BetBoom's carry player finished with a spotless six kills and six assists but it was Vitalie "Save-" Melnic on Shadow Demon who fueled the team's 24-6 kill lead with seven kills and 10 assists on two deaths.
Gaimin Gladiators 2-0 Team Spirit
In their first rematch since the TI 2023 grand finals, Gaimin Gladiators avenged their previous loss to Spirit by sending them down to the lower bracket in a sound 2-0 sweep. Quinn "Quinn" Callahan and Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard notably shined in this victory, with Quinn even logging back-to-back games on his classic 'real hero' Pangolier pick.
Gaimin Gladiators came out swinging to start the series, dominating Spirit in 33 minutes of action to the tune of a 23-9 kill lead. Ace on Lone Druid led the way by racking up a game-high eight kills to go with eight assists on two deaths while spearheading his team's relentless siege machine. Quinn also had a dominant showing with six kills and 13 assists on one death.
Spirit put up a better fight in game two, though they only managed to draw things out to just under 35 minutes before ultimately conceding the series. Ace on Magnus paced Gaimin Gladiators' 30-14 kill lead in the closeout game with 11 kills and six assists on two deaths, even scoring a Rampage in the final teamfight.
Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov on Slark got in on the fun with nine kills and 11 assists on two deaths while Quinn had six kills and 17 assists on one death.
Team Falcons 2-0 Xtreme Gaming
The streak of upsets continued in the third match of the day between Xtreme and Falcons. Xtreme was heavily favoured in this matchup after they finished the Group Stage with an 8-2 record — best among all teams in the tournament.
However, Falcons ground Xtreme down in back-to-back games that reached past 50 minutes to send them packing to the lower bracket.
Falcons inflicted death by a thousand cuts on Xtreme in a 50-minute game one behind a stellar performance from Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf on Timbersaw, who finished with a perfect 19 kills and eight assists to pace his team's 32-10 kill lead. Stanislav "Malr1ne" Potorak on Dragon Knight also pitched in with a clean five kills and 21 assists.
Game two was another slow burn as Falcons closed out the series in 56 minutes behind a second-straight Naga Siren pick for Oliver "skiter" Lepko. He finished with 11 kills, eight assists, and over 56,000 gold in net worth against two deaths to give Falcons the 2-0 series victory.
Azure Ray 2-1 Team Liquid
The only match of the day to go the distance was between Azure Ray and Liquid, where the Chinese squad edged out their Western European opponents to advance to the Top 6.
Azure Ray were firing on all cylinders to start the series, scoring their first win in just 24 minutes of action and with a lopsided 21-4 kill lead. Zeng "Ori" Jiaoyang on Queen of Pain led the way with seven kills and six assists on one death while Lou "Lou" Zhen on Luna, Zhang "Faith_bian" Ruida on Mars, and Xu "fy" Linsen on Techies combined for 12 kills and 33 assists on one death for Lou.
Liquid struck back hard in a 35-minute game two win behind an excellent performance from Neta "33" Shapira on Dragon Knight, finishing with a clean 10 kills and 13 assists to pace his team's 28-16 kill lead.
The deciding game three then saw Ori ball out as Storm Spirit to close out the series with a victory for Azure Ray. Ori had a stellar 20 kills and 18 assists on three deaths to fuel a 47-22 kill lead for his team in 44 minutes of action while Faith_bian also pitched in with 10 kills and 12 assists on three deaths.
With the day's results, BetBoom Team, Gaimin Gladiators, Team Falcons, and Azure Ray now advance to the upper bracket semifinals while LGD Gaming, Team Spirit, Xtreme Gaming, and Team Liquid fall to the first round of the lower bracket.
The second day of the BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024 Playoffs will feature the first set of Playoff elimination matches with Team Spirit taking on LGD Gaming while Xtreme Gaming will be facing Team Liquid.
Day three of the Playoffs will feature the upper bracket semifinals, which will see Gaimin Gladiators matched up against BetBoom Team and Team Falcons set to go against Azure Ray.
With the dissolution of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) last year, the 2024 Dota 2 esports season will see a return to third-party tournaments being the main form of competition across the title.
BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024 will kick off the 2024 season from 4 to 16 February in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and will feature 12 of the best Dota 2 teams from across the world fight for the lion's share of a US$1 million prize pool.
For everything you need to know about BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024, check here.