Top 10 Dota 2 Upsets of 2023

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Top 10 Dota 2 Upsets of 2023

Dota 2 proves that no matter how popular a game is, there are bound to be some low points. Here are our picks for the top 10 Dota 2 upsets of 2023.


2023 was a year packed with a lot of excitement for the gaming industry. However, fans of Dota 2 had to witness some rather low points for the Esport. From big teams bowing out of major competitions to the coveted Compendium not living up to player expectations, there have been quite a few controversial moments for Dota 2 this year. And that is what we will be looking at in this article. Here are the top 10 Dota 2 upsets of 2023!

Our Picks for the Top 10 Dota 2 Upsets of 2023

As the second-highest-played game in all of Steam, Valve’s Dota 2 has seen quite a bit of criticism this year. Fans of the game went on a roller coaster ride in 2023, as there were an equal number of high points and low points. In this section, we will look at some of the biggest upsets that fans weren’t expecting.

1. Team Secret Not Qualifying for TI12

Team Secret not making it to The International is probably one of the biggest upsets in Dota 2 history. This is the first time since the team’s inception that they were not part of the competition. Moreover, this is also the first time that Dota 2 legend – Puppey, did not qualify for the tournament since 2011, when he first lifted the Aegis of Champions. The team would be knocked out after facing fierce competition in the Western Europe Qualifiers, which left a lot of fans feeling underwhelmed for the upcoming tournament.

2. The Disappointing Compendium

The Dota 2 Compendium is heralded as one of the best forms of battle passes in all of gaming. While most online multiplayer games struggle with how to add value to their battle pass, Dota 2 has been doing it right for several years now. Well, that is until 2023, when the International Compendium came as a huge disappointment for most players. This year’s Compendium is missing several key features like Arcanas, Immortal Treasure, Hero Skins, etc., which ultimately led to a large portion of players not buying it.

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3. Talon Esports Defeats Gaimin Gladiators

Circling back to The International, one of the biggest upsets in the competition came when the Southeast Asian underdogs, Talon Esports, beat the three-time Dota 2 Major Champion, Gaimin Gladiators 2-1. Though spectators were quite disappointed to see a fan-favorite be beaten in the Group Stage, that should not take anything away from Talon’s incredible comeback after facing a terrible 0-4 start on the first day.

4. Azure Ray Fy Set Record With an Upset

Team Liquid, another favorite of the tournament, faced a major blow to their pride when they faced off against Azure Ray in the first game of their opener. Within just 8 minutes and 45 seconds, Azure Ray’s Fy set a TI record with 8 kills, beating the veteran team in a show of dominance. Only two other players have a higher opening 9-minute kill count in the history of this Esports – Arteezy with 9 at ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore and Emo with 9 at Dota Summit 11. Luckily, Team Liquid would finish the day with a score of 5-1.

5. Tundra Esports Face Massive Defeat at DPC

After their decisive victory at The International 11, it would be ridiculous to think that Tundra Esports would ever falter. But over the course of the last few months, the team has been showing several signs of chinks in their armor. And this was on full display when Tundra took on the relatively new Qatar-based Ooredoo Thunders at the Dota 2 Pro Circuit 2023. Ooredoo Thunders swept the reigning champions with a clean 2-0 victory. This just goes to show that no one is safe from falling from grace, even the champions.

6. Recent Patches Have Made the Game Unbalanced

It seems fans and professional players have not been very happy with the latest roll-out of patches for the game. While it is true that live service games have always had issues with proper balancing, these issues have not been very prominent with Dota 2 until recently. Fans and players alike were not pleased with the changes that were introduced in Dota 2, as it led to several Heroes becoming unbalanced. Valve even had to drop an emergency patch in the middle of The International tournament after players reported that several bugs were plaguing the game.

7. The International’s Low Prize Pool

One of the biggest controversies of the year came from The International’s historically low prize pool. For comparison, TI 2022 had a $18 million prize pool, while TI 2021 had a $40 million pot, which was the largest prize pool for a single tournament in all of esports. However, the TI 2023 prize pool was only $3 million, which was the second lowest since its 2013 edition. This was a huge upset for the pros as it meant significantly lower prize money for the winning team.

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8. Lack of Premium Events

The lack of premium events throughout 2023 has left a lot of fans feeling underwhelmed. Players have been desperately craving new game modes and events like Siltbreaker, but it seems like Valve had no plans of adding anything new to the game this year. Plus, with the off-season tournaments being very lackluster, the community seemed quite disappointed by how things panned out this year.

9. Tundra Esports Dropping Out of TI

Tundra Esports seemed like they couldn’t catch a break this year. North American underdog team Nouns delivered an amazing performance in the seeding stage, pulling off a convincing win against the reigning TI Champion. Tundra lost both games at a decisive score of 0-2, relegating them to the lower bracket of the competition. They would then go on to lose to Entity and drop out of TI 2023.

10. Valve Terminates Dota Pro Circuit

The final nail in the coffin comes from Valve themselves when they announced that they would not be continuing the Dota Pro Circuit after 2023. It is quite clear to see that Valve is downsizing the Dota 2 competitive scene with the cancellation of DPC and the reduced extravagance around The International. This comes as a huge blow to aspiring players who are dreaming of going pro one day. Moreover, organizations may also downsize their investments in Dota, which would make it difficult for the current roster of professional gamers to continue competing in the scene.

Final Thoughts

The Dota scene has faced quite a few ups and downs this year. While the ups came in the form of many surprising performances from underdog teams, the downs came from the disappointing showcases by fan favorites. Add on top of that Valve’s poor management of the game and controversial decisions, fans were left with quite a few upsets. Hopefully, 2024 will breathe new life into the game and make it a worthwhile experience, as it has been for several years now. That’s all we can hope for! For more Dota 2 content, check out ESTNN for the latest news and updates.

Top 10 Dota 2 Upsets of 2023
The Old One
When he's not sighing at sub-standard teammates in Dota 2 and CS2, The Old One is writing about those two games (among other things). If you see his name around the site too many times for your liking, well, the guy just never stops writing. Yes, we've tried an intervention.