Gambit Esports Qualify For Valorant Champions After Win At Berlin Masters Knockout Stage
Gambit Esports’ Valorant squad has been overshadowed by the larger European storylines at Valorant Masters: Berlin. The rivalry between Europe’s G2 and North America’s Sentinels has been one of the leading storylines of the event, and the underdog tale of Supermassive Blaze’s rise from the Turkish scene and into international prominence was cut short today by Acend in a game three that looked deceptively close. However, Gambit Esports’ performance during the season shows a disciplined team that’s broken out of the CIS region to plant their feet firmly in the greater European scene.
Their recent match against Japanese team Crazy Raccoons shows the team’s readiness to face unknown challenges. Gambit Esports’ faced elimination in this match, which must have doubled the pressure they were undergoing as their tournament life hung in the balance. Gambit Esports’ ability to recover from losses shows that the team has incredible potential on the global stage and should be considered a dark horse in EMEA.
But who are Gambit Esports, and what can we learn about them from their match against Crazy Raccoons?
Gambit Esports – The Sturdy Squad from CIS
Gambit’s squad recently added in-game leader Redgar to their patchwork team consisting of Chronicle and nAts from FishkaVTom and duelists d3ffo and sheydos to create a Russian squad that has flourished under Redgar’s leadership. In a video package interview, Redgar describes the grueling process he and his team undergoes to maintain their playstyle: “We work ten to twelve hours a day, so we all have our own training styles, but we have our main goal, which is to win in Berlin.” No doubt that Redgar has led the charge on this training regimen, as the team saw themselves winning the CIS Masters earlier this year and making it to the semi-finals of the EMEA Challengers event leading up to Reykjavik. They wouldn’t repeat this result twice as they won the Stage 3 of the EMEA Challengers playoffs to qualify for Berlin.
The team prioritizes a sturdy defense that abuses an entry point for their opponents that leaves them vulnerable to angles created by Gambit, or by utilizing nats and d3ffo’s abilities to get quick pick-offs on site retakes. Their offensive side can be considered lackluster, but they excel in holding sites after getting spike plants. Gambit Esports always prioritize planting the spike, especially if they’re behind in economy, as they use the boost from spike plants to purchase the utility they need to either secure picks or prevent enemy pushes once they manage to make it on site.
Gambit Esports vs. Crazy Raccoons – VCT Masters Berlin Knockout Stage
Gambit Esports’ game against Crazy Raccoons was thought to be a done-deal, especially after a 2-0 against Crazy Raccoons previously. Against Gambit Esports, Crazy Raccoons were only able to manage a single round against them on both maps. Gambit completely shut out the Japanese squad early in the tournament, leaving audiences with the impression that Crazy Raccoons simply weren’t prepared for international competition.
Today’s match proved that assumption wrong as Crazy Raccoons were able to make Gambit Esports sweat, but Gambit Esports showed that they don’t simply need to rely on their defensive tactics to win as they’re quite capable of responding appropriately to surprises.
Map 1 – Ascent
Crazy Raccoons were able to win the pistol round and spark momentum off that win which led to six rounds in their favor. Their wins against Gambit came from Crazy Raccoons’ ability to outgun them in tense and quick duels while also being able to reposition safely and surprise Gambit from unexpected angles.
Crazy Raccoons would rely on their gunfighting skills to grab six rounds in their favor. However, this would change in the seventh round after sheydos confirmed a kill on Medusa who was trying to take an unexpected angle above d3ffo. A tense stand-off would result in another kill for Gambit as they caught Munchkin trying to cross mid towards B, which Gambit Esports capitalized on by pushing A site after making it look like they were crossing to B. This misdirection led to A being vulnerable as only ade was holding the site. Gambit collapsed on ade and secured reflexive kills on neth and Fisker who approached from Heaven, giving Gambit Esports the round win.
Gambit would carry this momentum into their defense. A key round in Gambit’s defense was round 15, where both teams were tied 7-7 and Gambit was forced into a buy to try and break Crazy Raccoons’ economy. After a quick push mid, Gambit responded with smokes at B Main and Market, preventing Crazy Raccoons from overpowering the site and taking a fortified position. Chronicle would net two kills on Crazy Raccoons who would respond with two kills of their own as they pushed towards Defenders’ Spawn from mid. Crazy Raccoons would pinch B site, but lose in a 1v1 duel between nAts and neth.
After this round win, Gambit would end the game 13-8.
Map 2 – Icebox
Icebox was a far more even map despite it being favored for Gambit. Gambit Esports’ defense on this map was supposed to be iron-clad, but Crazy Raccoons managed to overcome it every time, either through quick pushes onto A that ended up in gun duels in their favor, or through solid kills secured on Gambit’s positions on B site. On attack, Crazy Raccoons would end up in the lead 8-4.
Gambit needed to turn things around on their attack rounds, and they would rely on utilizing quick spike plants to provide them with early economy as they would spring their offense on Crazy Raccoons during site retakes. Eventually, both teams would be tied 12-12, leading them into the tiebreaker rounds. Crazy Raccoons needed these rounds in order to stay in the tournament, but Gambit Esports would manage to keep their cool and rely on d3ffo and sheydos to win the 2nd game.
D3ffo would begin the round on top of shipping containers at B Long. Sheydos would score a kill on Fisker at A Pipes, neutering Crazy Raccoons’ push onto A and sending them into a panic. Munchkin would secure a kill near Defender Spawn, allowing Crazy Raccoons to transition to a push B as it seemed like Gambit Esports invested most of their defense to A. However, what Crazy Raccoons wouldn’t predict is d3ffo sitting on top of shipping containers on B Long and shooting down at them from above. D3ffo would secure the kill on the spike carrier, but get punished by Brazzi as he looked to secure another surprise frag. While teams were even, this kill disrupted the Crazy Raccoon push and informed Gambit of the transition to B site.
Kills would be traded at B site, with ade being the only player alive still for Crazy Raccoons. After planting the spike, ade would confirm a kill near Snowman giving him the Viper ult. With the entire site obscured, sheydos had to push onto B site with little information. However, patience and lucky timing paid out as ade walked backward into sheydos outside of the Viper ult giving sheydos the easy kill and the spike defuse. It was an incredible lesson in patience for Crazy Raccoons, and a great example of how Gambit Esports’ hard work on their fundamentals paid off.
Now at 13 to 12, Icebox was Gambit’s map to win. Crazy Raccoons and Gambit would stand-off at A site exchanging utilities in order to try and suss out each others’ positions. The lull in the round would be disrupted by a trade between both teams. Ade’s Viper wall would help him reposition for a kill, but not be able to approach Gambit as they planted the spike behind a Sage wall. A tense 3v2 stand-off favoring Crazy Raccoons would ensue, with ade falling to nAts who would get sniped afterward by Fisker, leaving Gambit’s leader Rengar all on his own.
While not as proficient at forcing out winning duels in comparison to sheydos and d3ffo, Redgar’s timing and fundamentals would allow him to score a quick headshot which gave him the Resurrect he needed to open up a window for himself or d3ffo. Fisker would push onto deffo, turning the round into a 1v1 again. Fisker would catch a glimpse on Redgar, but Redgar was able to outshoot Fisker for the clutch win.
What Comes Next for Gambit Esports at VCT Masters Berlin
Now that Gambit have secured their spot in the playoffs, they will have to contend against Korea’s best team in a single-elimination match. Vision Strikers presents a unique, unknown threat, which Gambit Esports already faced in their match against Crazy Raccoons. The team has to prepare themselves for a completely unknown opponent that will surprise them and try to destabilize their defense. However, their games against Crazy Raccoons show their capacity for staying cool under pressure and being able to recover from a series of lost rounds.
Should Gambit make it to the semi-finals, they’ll face up against the winner of the G2 vs. KRÜ Esports match. If G2 win, this could end up in Gambit’s favor as they’ll be playing against a familiar opponent. Right now, all they have to do is maintain their impenetrable defense and focus on learning about their opponent. The playoffs of VCT Masters Berlin are sure to be exciting, and the journey of Gambit Esports as the sole CIS representative is another rich story t