Gaimin Gladiators React to Elimination from Riyadh Masters 2023
In a crucial clash during the lower bracket semifinal of the Riyadh Masters 2023, Talon Esports registered a 2-1 victory over Gaimin Gladiators, putting an end to one of the most dominant winning streaks of all time. Having won five tier one tournaments back to back before this, Gaimin had seen a dip in form in this tournament but was showing tremendous tenacity to keep it up through the lower bracket until it finally faltered. On social media channels, the five players who persevered and gave their best to the team over the last seven months shared their thoughts following their elimination from the Riyadh Masters 2023. Although they were disappointed to have lost after putting so much effort into the lower bracket run, they were now drained and looking forward to the offseason for much-needed recuperation.
Gaimin Gladiators disappointed but eager for a break after Riyadh Masters exit
Gaimin's support player Erik "tOfu" Engel came for the exit interview soon after the defeat against Talon that resulted in the elimination from the tournament. The player's emotions were evident as he reflected on the team's journey during the tournament and the entire season.
“I mean, honestly it was hard in parts to power through because it’s been a really long season. We didn’t get any breaks. It's up and down, we have been empowering and helping each other to push through and it’s fun with these guys. It was a lot of tournaments. We won a lot, we can not win them all. It’s not like we had a lot of pressure. We honestly don’t care too much about what other people think - if they want us to win or to lose or whatever. We kind of just play our games. We haven't been in top shape for this tournament which is a bit unfortunate. We have been improving a lot on this and whether it’s Riyadh or Millions on the line, we don’t necessarily play for it. Of course, it’s important and it matters but it’s Dota after all and we just play our game it wasn’t good enough this time but I am sure this break is going to be good.”
As the most part of the season was now behind them, tOfu looked relieved and said that he was looking forward to a lengthy break.
“People are relieved, they are happy that we actually do get some break. I am really looking forward to that. I am not exactly sure what I am doing yet but I haven’t had four days break in a row for a year so we’ll see. Just enjoy the break and come back for TI and it’s going to be good again.”
Gaimin's midlaner Quinn "Quinn" Callahan, on the other hand, expressed pride in his team’s gradual progress at Riyadh Masters 2023, calling it one of the most memorable tournaments despite losing.
Experiencing a blend of emotions following the elimination, team captain Melchior "Seleri" Hillenkamp shared his feelings about the journey at the tournament. At the same time, he also admitted to feeling burnout and expressed anticipation for a break from Dota 2 tournaments in the next month.
Gaimin’s carry Anton "dyrachyo" Shkredov also wrote in detail about his sentiments of elimination from the Riyadh Masters 2023, highlighting how the team made such a deep run after avoiding a loss early in the playoffs. While he was disappointed to lose, he was drained emotionally and is now looking forward to returning home and livestreaming on Twitch.
Gaimin has had such a phenomenal run in Dota 2 this year that a fourth-place performance at Riyadh Masters 2023, where the team received an enormous $1,200,000 USD in prize money, does not seem as substantial in comparison. For the first time this year, the team was relegated to the lower bracket of the playoffs early on, but it demonstrated that it could deliver top-tier performances even when facing the pressure of elimination.
Gaimin will now take an extended hiatus before returning to The International 2023 in October. A third party Dota 2 event might be held in September where The International 2023 qualified teams would be able to obtain valuable match practice and warm up.