Dota 2 was among many other gaming titles being competed in at Gamers8: The Land of Heroes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

This past weekend saw the Riyadh Masters 2023 come to a conclusion at Gamers8: The Land of Heroes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Riyadh Masters hosted the world's best Dota 2 players and was among the many tournaments at the world's biggest esports and gaming festival, which began in July and runs until late August.

Plenty was at stake at this year's Riyadh Masters as it was the final major Dota 2 tournament before The International this October in Seattle, USA, so players were keen to find momentum. Also, there was a $15 million prize pool, the highest for any Dota 2 tournament this season, and this year it was Team Spirit who emerged on top and received the largest share of the purse with $5 million pocketed.

The Dota 2 matches took place from July 19th until July 30th and involved 20 teams battling it out to earn as big a share as they could from the $15 million winnings pot. The tournament schedule involved three separate stages which were the Play-In, Groups Stage and Playoffs.

In order for Team Spirit to have emerged victorious, the team had to brush off competition from other esports teams that excelled in Dota 2 such as five-time Dota Major Championships winners OG Esports as well as the reigning champion of The International, Tundra Esports.

Team Spirit was returning to the Grand Final for the second year running as last year's Riyadh Masters saw them lose out on the main prize as they suffered defeat at the hands of PSG.LTD. This year they would have been extremely motivated and determined to put matters right and their journey to the final included a 2-1 victory over Team Liquid in the upper-bracket final which sent them through into the Grand Final.

Team Liquid's 2-0 victory over Team Talon in the lower-bracket final offered them another chance to take down Team Spirit and emerge as the overall Dota 2 winners. The Grand Final was played over a best of five games, whereas the previous rounds in the playoffs were decided over a best of three games.

There was to be no Grand Final heartbreak again for Team Spirit as they beat Team Liquid 3-1 to become the Riyadh Masters 2023 champions. This victory adds to another major Dota 2 title Team Liquid won, which was the edition of The International in 2021 and was held in Bucharest, Romania.

Whilst the victors walked away with $5 million in prize money, Team Liquid earned $2.5 million whilst third-placed Talon and fourth-placed Gaimin Gladiators received $1.7 million and $1.2 million respectively. The rest of the Dota 2 competitors earned between $800,000 and $50,000 for their participation at this year's Riyadh Masters.

Chief Esports Officer at the Saudi Esports Federation (SEF), Faisal bin Homran, spoke glowingly on the success of the Riyadh Masters and Gamers8 festival. He said: "Since July 19th, the global gaming and esports scene has been captivated by the exploits of the best Dota 2 teams and players in the world. Competing for a $15 million prize pool – the biggest third-party prize pool for a tournament ever – the action has been even more dramatic than anticipated and epitomizes the level of standard for which Gamers8 has become renowned."

Bin Homran also showed his appreciation to the Dota 2 winners and everyone involved, stating, "We congratulate Team Spirit on their success and thank all the teams, players, fans, sponsors, and partners at the Dota 2 Riyadh Masters for being part of a special moment in Saudi Arabian gaming history."

Gamers8: Land of the Heroes is still continuing for a few more weeks with other tournaments to still be decided and a record prize pool figure of $45 million to be allocated. Future esports competitions set to occur at Gamers8 include Street Fighter 6, PUBG, CS: GO and Rocket League.

Highlights so far at the festival have included Pakistan beating a heavily favoured South Korea in the Tekken 7 Nations Cup. Also, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, FIFAe Nations Cup and FIFAe World Cup are some of the other tournaments to have already taken place at this year's Gamers8 so far.