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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Gambit move past NAVI to book BLAST Premier grand final spot

Gambit have secured a spot in the grand final of the BLAST Premier Spring Final following a 2-1 victory against Natus Vincere. The world No.1 team put a stop to a two-match losing streak against their CIS rival (0-3 in DreamHack Masters Spring and 0-2 in EPIC League CIS) with a dominant performance that sees them make their ninth final since the start of the year, the sixth in a row.

Fresh off 2-0 victories over Evil Geniuses and Complexity, the young CIS roster drew first blood in the series with a narrow Dust2 victory in a closely-contested game. NAVI replied on Ancient, showing marked improvements from Wednesday’s defeat to FaZe on Train’s replacement, but their map pool issues were laid bare for all to see as they were outclassed on Mirage, one of their worst maps in recent history.

“We need to play more Ancient,” Vladislav “⁠nafany⁠” Gorshkov said after the match. “It’s not the best in our map pool, but I think that after some time it will be one of our best maps. It’s like a new map and no one has much experience. It’s a bit like Vertigo, which is now one of our best maps.” The in-game leader, who put in a strong performance on Mirage, added that he expects a strong NAVI side if they manage to reach the final: “I think it will be the toughest game ever.”

Gambit advance to Sunday’s grand final

Gambit made a whirlwind start to the series, hopping out to a 4-0 lead on the offence on Dust2 before NAVI finally came to life, powered not only by their big guns but also Valeriy “⁠B1T⁠” Vakhovskiy, who raised eyebrows with an ace in the nith round. The 18-year-old was a joy to watch in the first half, racking up 15 frags, five more than Aleksandr “⁠s1mple⁠” Kostyliev or Denis “⁠electronic⁠” Sharipov, as NAVI controlled the flow of play from the midway point and went into the break with a minimal advantage.

The second half began with Gambit retaking the lead on the back off a trio of frags from Sergey “⁠Ax1Le⁠” Rykhtorov in the pistol round. The game became more chaotic once it reached the gun stages as neither side were able to stamp their authority over the author, but in the end, NAVI’s insistence on letting the clock wind down backfired and allowed Gambit to make a late push for the win.

NAVI hit back immediately after losing the pistol round on Ancient and rode that momentum to a 6-1 lead. An ace clutch from Abay “⁠Hobbit⁠” Khasenov then breathed new life into Gambit, who began to fight their way back into the game, but the half still ended with a three-round lead for NAVI thanks to two key clutches from B1T in the closing stages.

The second half brought no relief for Gambit, who had no response to their opponents’ pace and power. One round was all that the young CIS side could muster as NAVI ran out comfortable winners in this one-sided affair.

Gambit came out on Mirage all guns blazing and raced to a 7-0 lead on the offence. NAVI then finally managed to hold back their opponents to earn some much-needed breathing room, but the respite was only temporary as Gambit quickly took control once again to end the half up 12-3, with nafany leading the charge with some impressive numbers (19-11 KD-D, 123 ADR and 9-2 opening duel record).

NAVI showed some signs of life in the second half and put some rounds together after losing the pistol, but by then it was simply too late. Gambit tightened up and immediately took the upper hand, shutting out NAVI for a swift end to the game.

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