Riyadh Masters Play-in: OG, Team Secret, and more pushed through to the Group Stage cover image

Riyadh Masters Play-in: OG, Team Secret, and more pushed through to the Group Stage

Riyadh Masters Play-in sees eight teams advance to the Group Stage, while four teams depart from the $15 million dollar tournament.

Riyadh Masters Play-in stage is over! After two days of an insanely packed Dota 2 schedule, Riyadh Masters welcome eight teams to the Group Stage of the event. As the first phase concludes, we also see four teams leaving the tournament.

Here are the teams that qualify for Riyadh Masters Group Stage:

  • Team Aster
  • Team Liquid
  • Quest Esports
  • Xtreme Gaming
  • TSM
  • OG
  • 9Pandas
  • Team Secret

The four eliminated teams are Beastcoast, Entity, Virtus.pro, and Execration. They finish in 17th-20th place, pocketing $50,000 USD for each team.

Riyadh Masters Play-in Decider round recap

Battle of the Americas

Bryle of TSM.<br>Image via StarLadder
Bryle of TSM.
Image via StarLadder

The first series was between TSM and beastcoast, a representative of both North America and South America respectively. There were plenty of expectations for Beastcoast ahead of the tournament, especially following their top 8 placement at the Bali Major.

During the Riyadh Masters Play-in, Beastcoast performed poorly against a stacked lineup in Group B. But when they were paired up with TSM in the Decider round, many expected Beastcoast to emerge ahead. This is mainly due to TSM's poor record throughout the year. However, things went south for the South American powerhouse as TSM soared ahead 2-0.

OG snaps back into action

bzm of OG.<br>Image via Valve
bzm of OG.
Image via Valve

The second series showcases a Western European bloodbath. Despite the prominent lineup, OG had a slow and concerning start to the tournament. The team lost three series and was near the bottom in Group B.

Entity, on the other hand, was playing with their new offlaner, Kim "Gabbi" Santos, and was quite impressive throughout the Play-in Group Stage. However, pairing up against OG means an opponent that knows them well. OG also immensely improved their form, pulling off one of their best performances in the tournament so far. OG defeated their WEU counterpart in a convincing 2-0.

A CIS face-off

RAMZES666 of 9Pandas.<br>Image via PGL
RAMZES666 of 9Pandas.
Image via PGL

9Pandas rose to become one of the top teams of 2023, but they have recently shown an unstable form. This can be seen during the Riyadh Masters Play-in Group Stage, where the team lost a couple of matches against OG, Team Secret, and Quest Esports. But they remain near the top of Group B.

In the Decider round, fate reunited CIS brothers and paired up 9Pandas with Virtus.pro. Throughout the tournament, VP hasn't scored a single series win. Their struggle is not really a surprise as the team hasn't attended any Tier 1 event in 2023. But they did give 9Pandas a respectable scare. Ultimately, 9Pandas secured the series 2-1, eliminating CIS team, Virtus.pro.

Secret survives the Riyadh Masters Play-in

Crystallis and Puppey of Team Secret.<br>Image via Valve
Crystallis and Puppey of Team Secret.
Image via Valve

Team Secret had a disastrous start. They lost two series, and managed to draw another two. The only win they picked up was against Beastcoast. It didn't seem like Team Secret could push through into the Group Stage at one point. But the Decider round paired Team Secret against SEA underdogs, Execration, and there was a glimmer of hope for the now-Division II team.

Execration has consistently attended every single Dota 2 Major this year, but their performance is far from promising. They bombed out early in every tournament and one would imagine that their fate remains the same in Riyadh Masters. The Play-in witnessed a 2-0 defeat against Execration, and Team Secret grabs the final slot into the Group Stage.

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