Team Spirit lifting the Dota 2 trophy at Riyadh Masters 2023.
Screeshot via Gamers8

Team Spirit returns to Dota 2 summit, take $15 million Riyadh Masters 2023 victory

EEU is back baby!

For the first time in 2023, a new Dota 2 champion has been crowned, with Team Spirit climbing back to the top of the competitive scene and taking the $15 million crown at Riyadh Masters 2023. 

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This was a historic event for several reasons, the first of which being it is the biggest non-The International tournament Dota has ever seen. It was also the first time Gaimin Gladiators did not win a Major tournament this year—snapping the team’s streak after they won all three Dota Pro Circuit Majors and both DreamLeague seasons.

While not truly dominant, Spirit did put up one of the best records in groups before running house through the upper bracket. The run included a huge win over regional rival BetBoom and two straight wins against one of this season’s strongest, Team Liquid.

After falling to Spirit in the upper bracket finals, Liquid made quick work of Talon Esports following the SEA team’s upset of Gaimin in the previous round. That win locked them into their fifth grand finals appearance this season, though it would also end up being their fifth second-place finish.

Game one saw Liquid pull out a 33-minute win, but that turned out to be the shortest game in the series and the WEU team’s only win.

From there, Spirit played with no fear. Yatoro decimated anyone in his path. It was most apparent in game four, where his Terrorblade got so big TL could do nothing to stop it, leading to GGs being called 42 minutes in and Spirit winning the $5 million finale.

“It’s cool to win, that’s all,” Larl said, before the team lifted up the trophy.

For Spirit, this is their biggest win since the Arlington Major last August and the first tournament win since Larl was added at the start of the 2023 DPC season. This win also highlights one of Valve’s biggest issues for competitive Dota.

Spirit’s singular win here at Riyadh Masters netter them $5 million, while Gaimin Gladiators won all three DPC Majors and made a combined $600,000. With TI12’s prize pool details currently up in the air and no battle pass on the way to support it, this could be the start of a true event rivalry in the competitive Dota circuit.

Talon’s Mikoto was named the Riyadh Masters MVP, giving the sole SEA team from the playoffs a spotlight after eliminating teams like Gaimin and 9Pandas. Yatoro placed second while Zai and Boxi finished third and fourth respectively.

Now teams from this event like Spirt, Gaimin, and Liquid will take a break before training to compete at The International in October. Meanwhile, Team Secret, OG, and more will head back home and gear up for TI Qualifiers, which begin on Aug. 17.


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Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.