Tundra's 33: 'The organisation [of the Major] has been surprisingly great'
The Dota Bali Major 2023 is well underway. For the first time, a Dota Pro Circuit major is hosted in Indonesia, and 18 of the world's best teams have congregated to find out who is best.
They are fighting for a total $500,000 USD prize pool and the precious DPC points, which count towards qualification for one of the biggest annual esports spectacles, The International (TI).
Teams from North & South America, West & Eastern Europe, as well as South East Asia and China have sent their best. Now already past the group stage, an initial selection of the best talents has been made. Ten more teams remain and are fighting through the bracket stage.
One of them is Gaimin Gladiators, who are currently on a four-major event winning streak, playing some of the most consistent top-tier Dota in recent history. Nine others are trying to finally topple them from the throne, with so far varying degrees of success.
One of the most likely teams to put up a serious fight against them is last year's TI winner, Tundra Esports, and star offlaner Neta "33" Shapira. So far, the team has prevailed through the group stages, during which they didn't lose a single match, winning two games and drawing the score six times.
In the first round of bracket play, the team dropped to the Russians of BetBoom Team, a team that had delivered an impressive upset victory to Gaimin Gladiators during the group stage. Now Tundra is looking for a lower bracket run starting with their match against Azure Ray.
GGRecon got to ask 33 about the group stage, the dominance of Gaimin Gladiators, the meta development, the organisational side of the Bali Major, and more.
Especially Group A showed a high number of tied matches. Is top-level Dota currently enjoying a large amount of parity or are other factors at play?
I don't think the teams are all equal, BO2s can just be weird sometimes. Somehow the team that lost has a much easier time readjusting and learning from the first game, and also they are a lot more motivated since a 0-2 loss in a group stage is so devastating, while a 1-1 result is still 'ok.'
Even if their group stage performances aren't as clean, Gaimin Gladiators are on a ridiculous tournament win streak. What makes them so resilient and is this the event during which the streak breaks? Other than your own, which other teams can stop them?
I think they are just by far the most stable Tier 1 team. When we or Liquid are in top form I think we can match them, but they somehow manage to stay at their top form for the whole year while we have a lot more ups and downs, both during tournaments having off days and outside of tournaments not having 'dry' periods. They are probably by far the hardest-working team this season and it shows. And, of course, they are all great players, hard work isn't enough if you aren't.
How much and what has changed since the Berlin Major in the meta and relative team strength?
Probably the biggest changes are LGD, Betboom and Quest improving a lot and becoming big contenders. I would be surprised if we saw another Liquid vs GG finals since there are a lot stronger teams at this major compared to the past ones where GG and Liquid were clearly above the rest.
Are you satisfied with the decision to change the tiebreaker rules to the ones usually utilised at Majors? What do you generally think about the organisational side of the Bali Major?
Honestly, I didn't really read much into it, but in general, you can't go wrong with doing things the way it's always done, no need to reinvent the wheel.
The organisation has been surprisingly great, when we arrived we had some issues with the chairs not matching the desks as we did in Lima, so I was getting a bit worried.
The day after new chairs arrived, and since then everything has been great, haven't had any issues or delays, the resort is great and the food is the best I've had on LAN (other than in Singapore).
In the match Invictus Gaming vs Blacklist International, arguably one of the biggest comebacks in recent memory took place. What was your reaction to seeing the play?
I didn't watch the game, I just saw the ending. Props to Blacklist I guess for going for the high-risk play, but IG probably messed up by not being careful enough, thinking they can't lose since they are so far ahead.