Apr 25, 2023
Apr 25, 2023

ESL One Berlin Major 2023 | Noxville's Power Rankings

Which teams are in the S-Tier?

How will the South American teams perform at ESL One Berlin Major 2023?

Will Western Europe dominate ESL One Berlin Major 2023?

How will the first international Dota 2 tournament on the new patch play out?

ESL One Berlin Major 2023 | Noxville's Power Rankings

After two seasons of Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) Regional Leagues, the Lima Major, and DreamLeague Season 19, you’d expect the world to be relatively sure of how the teams stack up against each other. Unfortunately, one of the biggest patches of all time was released during DreamLeague, causing a potentially massive shakeup in team rankings.

Smaller patches nudge core gameplay in a desired direction, or just impact certain strategies, but a patch of this magnitude has a significant impact on how Dota 2 is played on a fundamental level. One positive is that with big changes like this, the rankings of teams usually level out as they collectively work out the patch, before some start to excel. This lends itself towards entertaining (yet possibly unrefined) Dota 2 - the most enjoyable to watch.

Whilst I think my S-tier picks are mostly uncontroversial (the best teams in the last few events), the most intriguing part for me is going to be how the middle of the pack ends up. Many of them could challenge for the top under the right conditions!


China have struggled in the last few major international events, and Invictus Gaming (IG) seem to be in the worst position of them all given their lack of international exposure. That said, there are a few known names in their squad, including Xiong “Pyw” Jiahan (top six at The International (TI) 2022 as part of Vici Gaming), who could tip the scales in their favour. They’re in D-tier but, like I said before, the skill gap between teams right now is much less than it normally is.

In a similar fashion to China, SEA were also struggling (except for Talon Esports, who we’ll get to later!). Team SMG were looking good to start off in the DPC Tour 2 league, however, after losing their last regular season series - and the subsequent tiebreaker - they qualified in third place. They’re a team with four ~1,000+ match veterans, and Lee “CDR” Jia He, their inexperienced Carry player. Like IG, they’re lacking substantial exposure, and are devoid of gameplay outside their region.

BetBoom Team were a flop in Lima, and have been very quiet since. Many analysts (myself included) felt that they looked so good in the DPC Eastern Europe Tour 1 that they might have even been Lima favourites. However, they went 6-10, which looks a lot worse when you realize that it’s really 2-0 over Antarctic Penguins (formerly Knights) and 4-10 combined against the other teams. One positive was that they took a game off Team Liquid (one of the two teams to do so). Third place in the Eastern Europe Tour 2 (only losing series to HellRaisers and Team Spirit, who placed first and second respectively) is a step down from last season, however they will have more experience coming into Berlin. One final negative for them is that they’ll be playing with a stand-in (Roman “Resolut1on” Fomynok playing for Ivan "Pure" Moskalenko).


Unfortunately, OG will be playing with two subs at the Berlin Major. On the other hand, it’s exactly these types of wild situations where the team somehow gather supercharged energy and have a crazy run. They weren’t in Lima, but they did come fifth in DreamLeague. They’ve also been fighting in the toughest region this year with middling results, but if they were with their full squad, they’d be a tier (or maybe two) up.

If I had to pick one team to be my “wild card” of this event, it’s 9Pandas (formerly the HellRaisers squad). They could replicate what BetBoom did in Lima, or they could be a big surprise. Undefeated in the DPC Eastern Europe Tour 2 (7-0 in series, 14-3 in games), and with the 10th most experienced player of all time as their captain (Alexey “Solo” Berezin, 2,164 games) they have potential to adapt well to the new patch. DreamLeague was a disaster for them - however they did take a game off Gaimin Gladiators (only five other teams did so in the entire event - four of which ended in top six).

After being in tiebreakers for the top 8 at DreamLeague, I suspect that Execration will be feeling the pressure to stay around that level in the rankings due to the influx of Chinese teams who’ve come in. DreamLeague only had one Chinese team, and Lima had three (two of which were banned shortly afterwards). I’d be tempted to push them down to D-tier, however their individual results in DreamLeague were more impressive: they took games off Gaimin Gladiators, Evil Geniuses, and TSM.

I always find it difficult to rank TSM. They are a team who flip between hot and cold quite frequently, sometimes even in a single series. They can take individual games off of just about anyone (in DreamLeague they were six draws and a loss in Group Stage 1), and in some matchups, they have their opposition's number (for example, against the Shopify Rebellion stack). Lima wasn’t great for them, however, they did sneak into the top 8 at DreamLeague. They should feel encouraged by the fact that, with 700 DPC points, one big win at a Major might put them on a path to TI 2023 direct invitation.


Going into the Lima Major, I might have been a little too dismissive of the SEA teams overall, but Talon Esports surprised me with a great playoffs run. In DreamLeague, they were disappointing. Despite averaging a much more stable laning stage than in Lima, they were ultimately eliminated with a 5-9 record. Their true skill is probably somewhere in the middle.

Team Aster and PSG.LGD both went 8-8 in the Lima Major group stage, but that’s where their similarities end. LGD were playing with a sub in Lima, and lost twice to get knocked out, whilst Aster were able to eke out one win in the playoffs. LGD were unable to make it to DreamLeague, whilst Aster were eliminated in Group Stage 1 tiebreakers.

Xtreme Gaming missed out on Lima, but went 6-1 in DPC Tour 2 and took first place above LGD (who also went 6-1). Unlike LGD and Aster, Xtreme have basically no international experience as a team - but they do have very experienced players (especially Hu "Kaka" Liangzhi and Zhang "Paparazi灬" Chengjun who have played 3,921 total pro games combined). It’s going to be exciting to see how these three Chinese teams place overall at the event.


Beastcoast and Evil Geniuses (EG) have been consistently at the top end of South American Dota 2 for ages. Both are relatively consistent in their local scene, and are mostly a top 8 team at international events (although Beastcoast did come 9-12th in Lima). Despite Beastcoast placing one spot ahead of Evil Geniuses at DreamLeague due to tiebreakers, EG’s results were far more impressive (8-12 in games, compared to beastcoast’s 4-11) and include games won against all the top 8 teams except for Liquid. Both are in A-tier, but EG’s potential seems greater.

Team Spirit are a team that, for some reason, people always forget about until it’s too late. Their approach to DreamLeague seemed to be a bit lackadaisical - almost as if it were a dead rubber event before a huge patch. They likely would’ve made it to Group Stage 2 if they took their series against Nigma Galaxy more seriously - they were the eighth team ever to first pick Anti-Mage, and despite valiant efforts to prolong the game, they ultimately lost. At Lima, their playoff draw was unfortunate: losing to the momentum-building Talon after being knocked by an on-form Shopify Rebellion. Berlin might be their location for revenge.


Despite Tundra Esports crashing out in Lima, I have them in fourth. This is sort of a hedge: if the patch suits them they’re possibly number one, but if it doesn’t, they’ll be closer to A-tier. We’ve only seen them in one series (against Shopify Rebellion) on the new patch, where games two and three lasted around an hour each. Just a few days could be enough practice time for them to break the patch, and their second tour of the DPC Regional Leagues was positive (second place, only dropping series against Team Liquid and Ooredoo Thunders).

I didn’t place Shopify Rebellion in third just to keep up with the memes. With a bit more time to prepare a small number of well-rehearsed yet blatant strategies (which is something their team has historically opted for) their stock will rise. They ended up in fourth place in Lima and third at DreamLeague, however, they’ve come second in both DPC Regional Leagues (behind TSM both times).

I have Team Liquid in second, and Gaimin Gladiators in first as these two teams have met in the Upper Bracket finals and Grand Finals for both the Lima Major and DreamLeague S19. It’s been incredibly close between them, however, Gaimin Gladiators are ahead by a just a little after the victory in DreamLeague (I would definitely forgive their last few days at Lima since Samuel "Boxi" Svahn was unable to play with them).

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About the author

Ben “Noxville” Steenhuisen

Ben is THE expert in DOTA stats, founding datdota and working as a software architect for an esports data provider. Noxville can often be found at the biggest events in the DOTA esports scene and continues to be fanatical about the game.

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