Gambit Gaming: The One That Worked

On July 23, 2017, a CIS team called Gambit Gaming just won the biggest tournament of their lives.

Basically, their journey to the top of the CS:GO food chain can be summarized in one tweet:

Since the inception of that tweet, Gambit Gaming has become the second Valve CS:GO Major winner of 2017 after Astralis and they have also reached a couple of top placings in DreamHack Austin 2017, cs_summit, ELEAGUE Major 2017 and DreamHack Winter 2016. Furthermore, it can be said that the ELEAGUE Major is their breakout tournament, as they've proven themselves to be one of the world's most feared teams on Cobblestone.

Who is Gambit Gaming? How did they reach the top? Why is their win significant in this age?

A quick overview will show that three of the core players, namely, Mikhail "Dosia" Stolyarov (otherwise known to fans as X-God), Rustem "mou" Telepov and Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev have been playing together since January 8, 2016. Meanwhile, current in-game leader Daniil "Zeus" Teslenko and Abay "HObbit" Khassenov joined the team in October that year, replacing two Russian players who went one to play on s4s.

Together, they formed a team that had the potential to become one of CIS's great sides and potentially reach new heights in international Counter-Strike. With that being said, they broke out at the first major of 2017; even though they barely broke the top 10, they were feared and respected for their ability to play a solid, no-frills game.

As for their tools in reaching where they stand today, they typically play fundamental CS with an emphasis on simple executions, smart play and the proper use of entry fragging. In addition, having a mix of experienced players and newly-found talent clearly helped the team's case as it allows them to deal with different threats and playstyles in-game.

Finally, their win is important in this extremely competitive age of international Counter-Strike for two reasons. Firstly, it proves that any team can beat the world's best and win the most valued tournament in CS:GO as long as they put time and effort behind it. In a world where powerhouse teams such as SK, Astralis and FaZe dominate the headlines on one hand, and up-and-coming names such as BIG and PENTA make waves on the other, grabbing top places in big tourneys have increased in value due to the high level of competition involved.

Secondly, Gambit's win is an indication of the actual "flavor of the month" in CS:GO nowadays, which is team-based gameplay that rewards consistent performance and application of the basics of CS (i.e. playing roles perfectly, use of utilities, timing of executions, simple strategies, etc.) To date, Astralis and Gambit are both notoriously known for this cerebral style of play & one can include SK on the basis of their emphasis on "playing through the team."

Overall, there are three takeaways from Gambit's win. First, a combination of experience and talent can reliably win tournaments. Second, it is possible to win big as long as one trusts in the team and its ability to grow & mesh into a better unit. Finally, it can be seen that fundamental knowledge of the game and its masterful application are among the most important things that allow teams to win in a cutting-edge CS ecosystem today.

So, are you ready to win a major?

Earl Carlo "dreamslayer28" Guevarra is the head editor for Play on WASD. His work is forthcoming in CSGO2ASIA, Crossfire Stars and GAMURS.

Formerly the lead FPS writer for eSports by INQUIRER.

People say he loves fruit juice :)