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Tundra Esports open defense of The International crown

Defending champion Tundra Esports went undefeated on Thursday as The International 2023 began with the first phase of the group stage.

The Dota tournament annually has the largest prize pool in sports, with the amount rising throughout the competition based on in-game sales to the general public. The prize pool for last year’s International began at $1.6 million but wound up being $18.9 million, with Tundra Esports claiming the $8.5 million first prize.

This year’s prize pool started at $1.6 million and is currently at $2.98 million.

The event began with 20 teams separated into four groups for round-robin play in best-of-two matches. The first- and second-place teams from each group will advance to oppose three- or fourth-place teams from another group in the second phase, with the five fifth-place teams eliminated.

Phase two this weekend will include eight best-of-three matches, with the results determining seeding for 16 teams heading to the main event.

The double-elimination playoffs will run Oct. 20-22 and Oct. 27-29 in Seattle. All matches will be best-of-three except for the grand final, which will be best-of-five.

In Thursday action, Tundra earned 2-0 wins over TSM and Talon Esports before drawing 1-1 against Keyd Stars. The results leave Tundra in first place in Group D.

Tundra rolled past TSM in 23 minutes on green and in 37 minutes on red behind a 10.0/1.5/7.0 kill-death-assist ratio from Slovakia’s Oliver “skiter” Lepko.

Against Talon, Tundra prevailed in 41 minutes on red and 47 minutes on green. skiter again starred at 8.5/1.5/6.0.

Tundra opened with a 32-minute win on green against Keyd Stars, who then rallied to a 51-minute victory on green. Finland’s Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen paced Tundra at 8.5/5.0/6.5, while Guilherme “Costabile” Costabile wound up at 8.5/3.5/8.5 for the all-Brazilian Keyd team.

Team Spirit were the only team to win three matches on Thursday, and they sit atop Group A. Azure Ray and Team Liquid are tied for first in Group B at 1-0-1 (wins-losses-ties), and LGD Gaming lead Group C at 2-0-0.

The International 2023 group stage, first phase
Group A
Team Spirit, 3-0-0
9Pandas, 1-1-1
Entity, 1-1-1
Evil Geniuses, 0-1-1
Team SMG, 0-2-1

Group B
Azure Ray, 1-0-1
Team Liquid, 1-0-1
BetBoom Team, 1-1-0
Shopify Rebellion, 0-0-1
Thunder Awaken, 0-1-2

Group C
LGD Gaming, 2-0-0
Gaimin Gladiators, 1-1-1
beastcoast, 0-0-2
nouns, 0-1-2
Virtus.pro, 0-1-1

Group D
Tundra Esports, 2-0-1
TSM, 1-1-1
Keyd Stars, 0-0-2
PSG Quest, 0-0-2
Talon Esports, 0-2-0

–Field Level Media

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