Gambit’s Journey

On January 8, 2016, Gambit entered CS:GO by signing the HS.GG roster, which consisted of:

  • Dosia
  • mou
  • AdreN
  • hooch
  • wayLander
  • beAst (c)

Their first offline tournament was the CIS Minor Championship for MLG Columbus 2016. Gambit won the overall event after going 2-0 in their group, beating eXplosive 16-4 on Cache and beating Rebels 2-0 (36-32 on Cobblestone and 16-14 on Inferno). They then met Method in the semifinals and beat them in a series that stretched over three maps, losing 16-14 on Train and then winning 16-11 on Cache and 16-9 on Cobblestone. The mixed CIS side would meet their group stage opponents, Rebels, in the finals. Fortunately, they were able to make light work of them this time, winning 16-4 on Inferno and 16-3 on Train.

As a result, Gambit qualified for the MLG Columbus main qualifier, and would qualify from their group with a 2-0 record, beating Cloud9 16-9 on Cache and beating Renegades 16-11 on Train.

Gambit was put into Group C at the MLG Columbus major, alongside Counter Logic Gaming, Astralis and Team EnVyUs. Gambit lost their opening match-up 16-10 to Astralis on Train, only to bounce back and secure a 16-13 victory over EnVy on Cache. Their next match was an elimination match against CLG. Gambit took the first map from CLG, winning 16-13 on Cache, but CLG was able to bounce back, winning 16-11 on Cobblestone and 16-10 on Mirage.

The tournaments after the Columbus major were the ESL One: Cologne 2016 qualifiers, as well as the first season of ELEAGUE. Over that period of time, Gambit made a roster change. On April 18 2016, wayLander stepped down from the roster, and just one day later, spaze was added to the roster.

Gambit’s CS roster looked like this:

  • Dosia
  • hooch
  • mou
  • AdreN
  • spaze

Gambit headed into the ESL One: Cologne qualifiers with a new roster, and plenty of practice behind them. They were able to beat OpTic 16-14 on Cobblestone, beat EnVy 16-10 on Cobblestone, lose to FaZe 16-11 on Train and beat G2 16-10 on Train to qualify for the major for a second consecutive time.

Gambit also failed to make a significant mark during the first season of ELEAGUE, crashing out in the Last Chance qualifiers after a disappointing finish in the group stages.

For the first time in the organization’s history, Gambit was able to secure legendary status. A 16-13 win over CLG on Dust II and a 16-6 win over Astralis on Dust II saw Gambit secure their legendary status for the next major. In the quarterfinals, Gambit met Fnatic, and they were dispatched of in quick fashion. Fnatic demolished them 16-5 on Train and 16-3 on Cache to send Gambit packing.

Dreamhack Bucharest 2016 saw Gambit crash out in the group stages, losing out to VP 16-12 on Cobblestone, and then losing 2-0 to EnVyUs in their elimination match, losing Cobblestone 16-14 and then losing Cache 16-7.

Seven days after Dreamhack Bucharest, on September 24, spaze was removed from the active line up and kUcheR was brought in as a stand in for Gambit.

About one week later, on October 2nd, hooch announced that he was removed from the team. On October 12, 2016, HObbit joined Gambit, and Zeus was also brought in to in game lead for the team, after his removal from Na’Vi.

The roster now looks like this:

  • HObbit
  • Dosia
  • Zeus
  • mou
  • AdreN
  • kane (c)

The first tournament with the new line up was ESWC 2016, on October 27, two weeks after the roster changes. In the group stages, Gambit triumphed over GODSENT’s Academy 16-6 on Overpass and beat BPro 16-13 on Dust II. Gambit were able to get through the round of 16 by beating Pride Gaming 2-1, winning on Train 16-4, losing 13-16 on Mirage and closing out the series in overtime, winning 19-16 on Dust II. In the quarterfinals, Gambit met the Turkish side, Space Soldiers. Space Soldiers won on Train 16-4, only for Gambit to win 16-4 on Cobblestone. Space Soldiers closed out the best of three by winning 16-5 on Dust II. Gambit placed in the top eight overall.

In the later stages of November, 2016, Gambit headed to Jönköping, Sweden, to play in Dreamhack Winter. In the group stages, Gambit beat OpTic 16-10 on Cobblestone. In their next group stage match, they lost to Renegades 16-8 on Cache. Fortunately, Gambit were able to bounce back in the elimination match vs. Cloud9, losing 16-6 on Mirage, only to win 16-2 on Cobblestone and 16-11 on Dust II to qualify with a 2-1 record from the group stage.

In the semifinals, Gambit met GODSENT. Gambit made light work of GODSENT on Cobblestone, winning 16-5. GODSENT were able to pull one back, winning 16-8 on Train. Overpass was the deciding map, and Gambit prevailed in a close match, edging out the Swedes 16-13.

Gambit met Renegades in the finals, a team they lost to in a BO1 in the group stages. This time, Gambit got the better of the Australians, winning 16-12 on Nuke and 16-10 on Cobblestone to win their first international tournament, claiming the title as champions of Dreamhack Winter 2016.

Gambit closed out their 2016 on a rather strong note, winning an international trophy for the first time since the inception of the roster, and most importantly, since the addition of HObbit and Zeus. Gambit finally had a solid in game leader, as well as a fresh injection of talent, in the form of HObbit.

Gambit’s first tournament in 2017 was the ELEAGUE Major, which was hosted in Atlanta, Georgia. Their opening match in the Swiss system was against North, and Gambit looked dominant, securing a 16-8 win over North on Cobblestone. Their next match was against GODSENT, and once again, Gambit looked good, securing a 16-9 win on Overpass over the Swedish side. Gambit’s first loss would come at the hands of the eventual finalists, Virtus.Pro, losing 16-10 on Train. Their next opponent was FaZe Clan, and in a hotly contested match, they were able to secure the win with a 16-14 scoreline on Overpass. Fnatic met Gambit in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive major. Their match up in ESL One: Cologne 2016 was extremely one sided, and both teams had made changes, so the results could have been different. Gambit were able to claim one map, which was Overpass, where they won 16-3. Unfortunately, Fnatic won on Cache 16-7 and on Dust II to eliminate Gambit from the tournament.

The next tournament was Dreamhack Vegas. At this tournament, Gambit competed in a group that consisted of Fnatic, Virtus.Pro and Misfits. Gambit qualified from their group with a 2-0 record, beating Fnatic 16-8 on Inferno and beating major finalists and eventual Dreamhack Vegas winners Virtus.Pro 16-10 on Cobblestone.

North met Gambit in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Gambit were eliminated 2-0, but both of those maps were hotly contested. Gambit lost 16-11 on Nuke and 22-20 in overtime on Inferno.

Two months after their run in Las Vegas, Gambit headed to Kiev, in Ukraine, to compete in the StarLadder Series 3 Finals. Gambit were eliminated in the group stages, losing to Fnatic 16-8 on Inferno, 16-14 to CLG on Cobblestone and 16-13 to FaZe on Cache. Their only victory came from a 16-13 victory over TyLoo on Cobblestone. Gambit were eliminated in the group stages with a 1-3 record.

A few weeks later, they headed to Los Angeles, California to compete at cs_summit. Gambit started out strong, beating GODSENT 2-0, with a 19-15 win on Cache and a 16-5 win on Cobblestone. The next team Gambit faced was Team Liquid, where they beat the North Americans 16-1 on Train and 19-17 on Nuke. SK Gaming would put a run to Gambit’s run in the winners bracket quickly, winning out 16-4 on Cobblestone and 16-7 on Cache. In the losers finals, Gambit had one last chance to make it to the finals. Standing in their was was OpTic Gaming. Gambit managed to secure Inferno 16-10 over the North Americans, but conceded Mirage 16-9. On the final map, Cobblestone, Gambit made light work of OpTic, beating them 16-6. Gambit would once again meet SK Gaming, this time in a best of five format. Gambit secured Inferno with a 16-10 scoreline, only to lose out 16-2 on Cache, and then lose a closely contested affair on Train 16-13.

Gambit finished runners up at cs_summit.

Seven days later, Gambit headed to Austin, Texas, to play for their second Dreamhack trophy at Dreamhack Austin. Gambit’s opening match was against Heroic, and after a few overtimes, they were able to secure Train with a 25-22 scoreline. The following match would be much more simple for Gambit, as they dispatched of HellRaisers on Nuke with a 16-7 scoreline. Gambit then met the French superteam, G2 Esports in the semifinals of the tournament. G2 took the first map off of Gambit, winning Nuke 25-23. Gambit bounced back, winning Train 16-12 and Cobblestone 16-14 to secure a finals berth. In the finals, they met the fiery Brazilian side, Immortals. The maps were Train, Inferno and Cobblestone. Gambit were able to secure both maps with a 16-12 scoreline, thus becoming Dreamhack Austin champions.

Gambit had a two month break from offline events, and made their next offline appearance in the early stages of June, in Jönköping, for Dreamhack Summer. Their opening match was against CLG on Overpass. Unfortunately, Gambit looked incredibly rusty, and as a result they lost 19-16. Gambit had a strong showing in their first elimination match vs. Cloud9, winning 16-12 on Train and 16-11 on Cache. Unfortunately, Gambit was not able to replicate this strong showing, and in their next elimination match, they fell short against the eventual finalists Fnatic, losing 16-12 on Train and 19-17 on Inferno, to be eliminated from the group stages with a 1-2 record.

Their next tournament was the PGL Major, hosted in Krakow, Poland. It was here that they would make history, one month after Dreamhack Summer. The opening group stage match was Gambit’s match, and it was against mousesports. Gambit secured that match 16-10 on Inferno. Their next match was against the French heavy hitters, G2. Gambit made light work of the French team, beating them 16-6 on Cache. Their final group stage match was against Virtus.Pro. Gambit secured their undefeated record by beating the veteran Polish side 16-11 on Train.

Gambit met Fnatic in the quarterfinals for the third consecutive major, and this time, Gambit got the better of Fnatic, beating them 16-14 on Train and 16-12 on Inferno.

Gambit met one of the best teams in the world, Astralis, in the semifinals. Many thought that this was either Astralis’, FaZe or SK’s major. After the shock elimination of FaZe in the group stages and the elimination of SK at Astralis’ hands, many looked to the Danes to take the major title. Gambit had other ideas, and upset Astralis over a series that lasted all three maps. Gambit secured a 16-10 victory on Overpass. They suffered a heavy, 16-8 loss on Inferno only to bounce back and win, after an inspiring rallying cry at 13-12, 16-12 on Train.

Gambit met Immortals in the finals. The young Brazilian side had their own dream run in the major. Here, one team’s dream would end, and it looked like Immortals were going to run away with it after winning on Cobblestone 16-4. Gambit did not buckle under the immense pressure, and levelled the series after winning 16-11 on Train. Inferno was the deciding map, and the levels of tension, emotion, and most importantly, desire, were certainly at an all time high. The experienced leadership of Gambit eventually prevailed, as Gambit prevailed 16-10 on Inferno.

Gambit had won the PGL Major in Krakow.

They made history. This is the first time a Ukranian player, a Russian player and three players from Kazakhstan won a major title, and this was the first time that a winner of a major sat outside of HLTV.org’s top 10 rankings.

A year and a bit after Zeus made the vow to win a major, he was able to do so.

Gambit’s rise was slow and steady. Initially, they looked like a side with little promise, or a side that had the potential to make the playoff stages of a tournament, but even that was uncertain to a degree. The first ten months of Gambit’s life was mediocre, and consisted of a lack of high tier international tournaments, with the only notable achievements being qualification for the major, eventual securing of legend status and win in the four team Adrenaline Cyber League offline finals. It wasn’t until the arrival of Zeus and HObbit that Gambit looked like they could add an element of consistency to their game, add tactical depth and really start to grow as a team.

Gambit never looked set to challenge for any titles. Even with the addition of Zeus and HObbit, Gambit were certainly elevated a tier with the addition of Zeus, and looked like a team that would qualify for playoffs at best.

They managed to get their hands on a strong leader, one that had an extensive resume of experience, and one that has a very sound knowledge of the game, but HObbit was plucked from Tengri, and had a very minuscule amount of international experience. HObbit’s impressive showing at Dreamhack Winter and the ELEAGUE Major proved that he was able to compete at a high international level. AdreN and mou have also been incredibly outstanding and consistent since the addition of Zeus. Dosia has also pulled through when his team needed him on occasion.

This is also an incredible story for Zeus, as an individual. As mentioned previously, Zeus vowed to win a major. It was as if his individual story was plucked from a movie script. He was removed from Na’Vi, who were, during Zeus’ tenure, an extremely sound side. They felt the need for change and Zeus was deemed to be the factor that needed to be changed. Zeus’ arrival to Gambit seemed like the promise to win a major would never come to fruition, and ties in well with this underdog story. Many would have thought that Na’Vi would have boasted the first Ukranian and Russian players. However, the team’s victory at the major, on top of being a huge feat for the team, was a massive feat for Zeus as an individual, considering the fact that it seemed like the dream of winning a major became thin since his arrival to Gambit.

He proved us wrong. They proved us wrong.

Gambit’s major win is the definition of the underdog story, and it’s something that adds that special element to their major victory.

They did not have a magnificent run of form prior to the event and only won a few Dreamhack events. The element of consistency was there, for the most part, in terms of reaching playoffs and so on, but trophies or high tournament finishes were sporadic. Their journey leading up to the unexpected victory was rather unorthodox. There were no factors pointing to a potential Gambit success on the biggest stage on the Counter Strike calendar.

Their run in the playoffs was not an easy path, and they managed to beat some formidable foes along the way.

It was evident that Gambit put in the hours of practice, had the dedication, discipline and desire to succeed, and their hard work was rewarded. There was no insane run of form to ride into the major, just practice and the will to succeed.

Their victory was impressive and well earned, and it will be interesting to see if they can reinforce this massive win with more wins in the coming tournaments.

The victory in Krakow was a surprising, shocking, yet welcome and awe inspiring. It is a story that will inspire underdogs to put in the work, and success will come.

 

 

 

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