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Quest Riyadh Masters Dota 2

Riyadh Masters; TI testing grounds for most Play-In Seed teams

Riyadh Masters is getting ready to kick off with the Play-in Seed. Here's why it matters for most of the teams competing. 

Touting the $15 million prize pool, the Riyadh Masters spots have been almost as coveted as the legendary International invites. But for some teams, it isn't just the prize money that makes this event so important — though $50,000 for last place isn't anything to shake a stick at. 

12 teams secured a spot in the Play-In Seeds via the EPT ranking system. 

  • EPT rankings for each region are on the official ESL Pro Tour website HERE.

Eight teams will use this chance to test line-ups and their synergy before locking in final rosters for The International Regional Qualifiers. And only eight teams will qualify for TI through the Regional Qualifiers; two teams from South America and Western Europe, and only one team each from North America, Eastern Europe, China, and Southeast Asia.

Riyadh Masters Play-in Seed Proving Ground Teams

Quest Esports

Following their fast performance growth after taking Ammar "ATF" Al-Assaf on loan from Nigma Galaxy, Quest Esports won’t continue with the offlane prodigy at the upcoming Riyadh Masters 2023 and most likely won’t have him for The International regional qualifiers either. Quest will be playing with Abdimalik "Malik" Sailau on loan from Na'Vi. He will have some big shoes to fill and high expectations of results to compete in WEU regionals. 


Entity wasn't close to an invite, despite starting the season strong with a 5-6th place finish at Lima Major. They finished the following two DPC Tours in 6th place and DreamLeague Seasons in 15th-16th place. The WEU team decided to make a change and Kim "Gabbi" Santos replaced Tobias "Tobi" Buchner. The upcoming event will allow the team to feel the synergy with their new player and decide if they will be able to survive the most contested region for the TI qualifiers. 

Team Aster

Team Aster has been tinkering with their roster all season long in hopes of finding the right formula for The International 2023. They placed top 8 in Berlin with Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan standing in, but failing to seize a TI invite or impressive result at Bali Major, Team Aster went with a rather unexpected decision, replacing BoBoKa with Hu "Kaka" Liangzhi. Riyadh Masters will be a perfect time for them to decide if it was the right decision after all. 

Xtreme Gaming

Xtreme Gaming lost Kaka to Team Aster earlier this month. So they have now taken on free agent and highly decorated veteran Zhao "XinQ" Zixing into the fold. They are hoping to use his experience and insight into the game to make them a stand-out team —considering China has only one spot up for grabs in the TI qualifiers, there is no other choice. 

Riyadh Masters will give them some insight into their chemistry and potential for just that. 


OG has undergone some reshuffling after a disappointing Tour 3 and overall season. Ahead of DreamLeague Season 20 and following a near relegation Tour 3 OG are making a quick change in their lineup — moving coach Evgenii "Chu" Makarov back into a coaching position and bringing Sebastien "Ceb" Debs back into action. No matter what the results are in Saudi Arabia, one can't imagine that the team will replace their oft-used savior Ceb for TI qualifiers. 

Team Secret

After being relegated to Division II once again, Team Secret parted ways with Miroslav “BOOM” Bičan. Indonesian player Saieful "Fbz" Ilham has been on loan with the team since just prior to Dreamleague Season 20. However, they took a disappointing 11-12th place finish, so results at Riyadh Masters will likely determine his fate with the team. 


Execration was just inches away from securing their TI invite —20 points to be exact. They ended in 13th place with 740 DPC points. 

Not satisfied with their results and knowing they only have one spot available to them in the TI regional qualifiers, the team has parted ways with Federico "Abeng" Jr. and has taken on Juan "Carlo" Manalo for Riyadh Masters. Carlo will also be in the captain's chair, commanding the roster through the competition. His abilities and their results will most likely determine if the will get to lead them through the qualifiers as well. 

The action begins for the Play-In Seed tomorrow, Wednesday, July 19th at 11:00 CEST. 

Riyadh Masters Play-in Seed Teams

Group A

Group B

Riyadh Masters Play-in Seed stage - July 19-20

  • Two groups of six teams each
  • Single round-robin
  • All matches are Bo2
  •  Top two teams from each group advance to the group stage
  • 3rd to 6th place team from each group will be matched 3rd vs 6th, 4th vs 5th, matches are played from opposite groups
  •  Winners will advance to group stage
  •  Losers are eliminated
Cristy "Pandoradota2" RamadaniPandora is a behind the scenes Dota 2 professional Jack of All Trades. When not busy with Dota 2 work, she is out trying to save the world or baking cupcakes. Follow her on Twitter @pandoradota2

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