ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 will take place between December 11-17 in Malaysia. This will be the first tournament of the new Dota 2 season, and will hopefully be followed by many more. For now, there is nothing else announced for the 2023-2024 season.
Because it’s a $1 million tournament with just 12 participants, ESL One Kuala Lumpur featured regional qualifiers in seven different regions. Usually, Valve recognizes six regions to be significant and official. But in this case, MENA was also included to offer Team Falcons the chance to take part in the event.
we’ll have some good company in Malaysia 🇲🇾 pic.twitter.com/xNM1M72ahB
— Team Secret (@teamsecret) November 19, 2023
The regional qualifiers went almost exactly as expected. In Eastern Europe, Team Spirit did not attend, so BetBoom and 9Pandas won the two available invitations. Virtus.pro finished 3rd.
In Western Europe, Team Liquid and Team Secret proved to be stronger than the other major competitors, OG and Entity. Nigma Galaxy did not take part in the race. For Secret, the fact that they had success so early with their new roster is a great sign. OG, despite failing to qualify, also had some very significant victories that suggest they are a strong team as well.
In North America, the battle took place between TSM and nouns. In the Grand Final, to everyone’s surprise, TSM went from 0-2 to 3-2 and won the only available invitation. However, as soon as Fly implements his philosophy and tactics in the new roster, TSM will no longer be the best team in the region.
In South America, Oscar’s new team, Wawitas Sagazes, won after qualifying for the Grand Final from the lower bracket. Evil Geniuses and beastcoast did not take part in the tournament.
In Southeast Asia, Blacklist International have already made it clear that Abed has joined the roster to win compete in international tournaments and win trophies, not to stay at home. For 23savage and Aurora, the race ended in the lower bracket semifinal against, you guessed it, Talon Esports. The esports gods probably have a sense of irony.
The Chinese qualifier featured a lot of outsiders. The only real team was Invictus Gaming, and they won the race with ease, beating Team Zero 3-0 in the Grand Final. Things aren’t looking great for this region, which seems to have very few aspirants left. Dota 2, as a whole, has been struggling to generate enough interest because of the small number of professional tournaments.
The MENA qualifier featured two important teams: PSG Quest and Team Falcons. Falcons won 3-1.
Directly invited teams
Gaimin Gladiators, LGD Gaming and Azure Ray received direct invitations to the tournament.