Taking a look at the Dota 2 teams that will be fighting it out for the Major and TI spots this year in the DPC 2023 Tour 1.
The upheaval of the Dota 2 scene that is the post-TI shuffle has finally come to an end, and teams are all set to begin a brand new year of Dota 2 adventures (misadventures for some). The entire community bore witness to the plethora of changes — good, bad, ugly, and completely out of the blue — that took place in the teams, with age-old friends parting ways, former rivals joining forces, and unlikely combinations popping up. If you haven’t been paying attention or just want a roundup of the Dota 2 scene for the next year, you need to read this.
For the sake of easy reading and region-based fans, we’ve split this up by region.
Western Europe Division 1
In a region that has won four out of the last five The Internationals, just about every single team is a powerhouse, but one can’t help but notice that this year, at least before the tour matches begin, the returning Div 1 teams look much stronger than the promoted ones. However, if there’s anything we’ve learned from previous DPC tours, it’s that few things turn out the way they’re expected to. Without further ado, the following are WEU’s Division 1 teams for Tour 1, followed by brief discussions about them:
- Tundra Esports
- Team Liquid
- Team Secret
- Gaimin Gladiators
- Nigma Galaxy
- Into The Breach
- Oliver “skiter” Lepko
- Leon “Nine” Kirilin
- Neta “33” Shapira
- Martin “Saksa” Sazdo
- Wu “Sneyking” Jingjun
Following their undefeated run at TI11, Tundra will have every eye and every crosshair on them. They were the most dominant team in TI history, and everyone going up against them will be hoping for either their magic to have diminished or the meta to change. Under the tutelage of Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling, the team seemed to reinvent itself, and following a good showing in the third DPC tour of last year, they made it to TI despite a horrific last-place finish at the Arlington Major.
Nobody had very high expectations of them, but they seemed to go above and beyond anything they had previously displayed. With some incredible teamwork, seamless coordination, and a seemingly endless hero pool, they were a force to be reckoned with. That being said, there’s every chance that they won’t be able to replicate their success this season, because the meta will most likely change quite drastically once patch 7.33 and new hero Muerta arrive.
- Michał “Nisha” Jankowski
- Michael “miCKe” Vu
- Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg
- Samuel “Boxi” Svahn
- Aydin “iNSaNiA” Sarkohi
Team Liquid may not have won TI11 or even reached the final, but they certainly won themselves tens of thousands of fans with their incredible run, and were arguably the biggest winners of the post-TI shuffle by picking up Nisha — arguably the best Carry player in the world right now. They have a strong lineup and a lot of team chemistry, and best of all, they seem to genuinely like each other and enjoy playing together. This will do wonders for them in the long run, and we won’t be surprised if we see them in the Grand Final of some big event soon.
The fact that they made it to the Lower Bracket Final despite having to win their rite of passage through the Last Chance Qualifier spoke volumes about how much the team improved over the course of the last few months, because prior to that, they had had absolutely shambolic performances at both the Stockholm and Arlington Majors. We hope that their rise continues, and that they can form the same bond they had with ex-Carry Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen with Nisha, which shouldn’t be hard with a coach like William “Blitz” Lee.
- Artem “Yuragi” Golubiev
- Bozhidar “bzm” Bogdanov
- Dmitry “DM” Dorokhin
- Tommy “Taiga” Le
- Mikhail “Misha” Agatov
One of the most disappointing teams at the last TI, OG nevertheless punched well above their assumed weight throughout most of the rest of the year. Following the disbandment of their old lineup after they failed to win the TI for a third time, it came as a surprise to many when team management basically threw together a motley crew of players alongside a barely-proven coach and expected them to perform at the highest level. With that caveat in place, OG surpassed expectations by winning two high-profile ESL ONE events — one of which was a Major.
Highly dynamic in their playstyle and absolutely unforgiving when presented with the slightest chance, OG’s gameplay and teamwork are things of beauty when they work right. At the same time, though, they’ll have to adapt to a slightly different style with the exit of Ammar “ATF” Al-Assaf and the entry of DM. The latter is an experienced hand, though, and it will be easier for OG to train him to follow their system. Plus, his relatively cooler mentality should be a treat to work with, because ATF’s volatile personality had caused a few issues within the team.
- Dzmitry “Fishman” Palishchuk
- Vladislav “Kataomi`” Semenov
- Tobias “Tobi” Buchner
- Daniel “Stormstormer” Schoetzau
- Alimzhan “watson” Islambekov
Speaking of disappointments at the last TI, Entity looked like they would rock every team out there with their off-beat drafts and methodical playstyle, but it just wasn’t to be. They have since lost former Position 1 player Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko to BetBoom Team, but reinforced their squad with Kazakh talent Alimzhan “watson” Islambekov. Islambekov had previously propelled HellRaisers into Tier 1 after winning Division 2 during last year’s third DPC Tour, and despite never having played for a top-tier team, he has shown that he’s ready for the big time.
Entity first made news after beating bigger-name teams, and although they haven’t quite been Tundra, their rise through the Dota ranks has been nothing short of meteoric. So far, they seem to excel at qualifiers and do well at Majors until they reach the latter stages. Despite middling or poor performances on LAN, however, the Indian organization is a potent threat looming over the more established Dota clans of Western Europe.
- Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
- Bakyt “Zayac” Emilzhanov
- Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok
- Miroslav “BOOM” Bičan
- Remco “Crystallis” Arets
It’s been an absolute roller-coaster of a year for Secret. On one hand, they struggled in the DPC all year, didn’t make it to any Major, lost one of their longest-serving soldiers to health issues, and were knocked out very close to the Riyadh Masters, ESL ONE Malaysia, and even TI11’s WEU Qualifier. However, once they were all set with their new recruit, they managed to make it to TI via the Last Chance Qualifier, and showed such dominance there that until they lost to Tundra in the Winner Bracket, they were the firm favorites to win it all.
Secret have had one of the saddest stories regarding TI, as they have been crawling towards a win since 2018 but just can’t seem to make it, and when they had their most dominant run in Dota, TI itself was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, if the mathematics gods have any mercy, they will be crowned champions next year. They have a highly competent squad, and although they lost Nisha, BOOM has shown plenty of promise during his days in Gaimin Gladiators.
- Anton “DyrachYO” Shkredov
- Quinn “Quinn” Callahan
- Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard
- Erik “tOfu” Engel
- Melchior “Seleri” Hillenkamp
Speaking of whom (again), this is another squad that came out of seemingly nowhere to take the DPC by storm last season. Tearing through Division 2 to be promoted to Division 1, GG then proceeded to get as far as fourth place at the Stockholm Major, and although they were pretty poor in the third DPC tour and couldn’t take part in the Arlington Major because of visa issues, they made it through to TI anyway.
After a disappointing TI where they placed 9-12th, they were left a player short when the aforementioned BOOM was taken away by Team Secret. However, they have since imported former Quincy Crew and Sonics member Quinn, who has shown plenty of promise over the years without any real results outside of North American regional events. What’s even more interesting is that they’ve brought in a Tier 3 Chinese player with zero coaching experience to take charge of the team, so whatever happens to GG, it’s going to be interesting.
- “Kuro Salehi “”KuroKy”” Takhasomi “
- Maroun “GH” Merhej
- Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov
- Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
- Ammar “ATF” Al-Assaf
With Amer “Miracle-” Al-Barkawi out on the sidelines due to health concerns, Nigma brought in ATF to take over the Carry position. On paper, the team looks fantastic with four TI winners and a Major winner, but the lineup’s performance at the recent BetBoom XMas Show has hinted at otherwise. It might take a while for the team to really start working together, and there’s a big chance that SumaiL and ATF will have personality clashes that even someone with KuroKy’s experience can’t resolve.
This situation comes on the back of a horrid last couple of for Nigma, during which they managed to win absolutely nothing except WEU’s DPC Division 2 Tour 3 to come back to the top tier after getting relegated the tour before. Nigma did show some signs of life at the Riyadh Masters tournament, but the fact remains that they have never won a Tier 1 event as an organization since being founded shortly after TI9. Considering the amount of money and talent the clan has, this is quite damning, and we hope to see better from them this year.
Into The Breach
- Roman “Otaker” Aliullov
- Ondřej “Supream^” Štarha
- Andreas “Xibbe” Ragnemalm
- Aleksandr “Immersion” Khmelevskoi
- Ivan “Kidaro” Bondarev
The only almost completely unknown quantity of this season’s first DPC tour, the British organization skimmed around the periphery of Division 1 for a while before finally breaking, well, into the breach during last season’s final tour. Many of the players have played against Tier 1 opponents in the past as stand-ins or for other teams, but the only real Tier 1 exposure they have had as a team was during last season’s WEU Qualifier. However, they have since replaced their Position 4 player, so it remains to be seen what they can do in the big league.
There’s not much to be said about ITB yet, except that they pushed Team Secret to the edge each time they played against the European giants, and also knocked out goonsquad and Team Bald Reborn on their way to a 4th place finish at the aforementioned WEU Qualifier. Their best-known players are Supream^, Xibbe, and new inclusion Immersion, who will be critical in training this new lineup to handle the pressure of high-level Dota.
We’ll be writing a lot of stuff about Dota 2 ahead of the first DPC tour, so keep an eye on our site for more on your favorite game.