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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Gambit dismantle G2 to set up IEM Summer grand final against OG

Gambit have advanced to the IEM Summer grand final following a swift 2-0 win over G2 in the semi-finals, setting up the first-ever encounter against OG in the best-of-five title decider of the $250,000 event. The Nemanja “⁠nexa⁠” Isaković-led side have been eliminated in joint-third place as they could not live up to high expectations following a convincing display in the group stage, suffering their fourth consecutive loss to the CIS-based squad since February.

The favorites got their first official taste of Ancient in the semi-final series and showcased a high level on the newest map with a terrifying performance on the CT side. Gambit clearly put in the work to be ready to play the map in case G2 decided to pick it, which Abay “⁠Hobbit⁠” Khasenov confirmed in the post-match interview.

“Big respect and thanks to our analyst and coach, they expected [G2 to pick Ancient],” the Kazakhstani star said, adding that the team did their homework when it came to analyzing how G2 played the map in their group stage affair against FunPlus Phoenix. “I would say it was 60% of anti-strat and 40% of our game.”

Gambit’s grand final streak continues

Gambit got off to a flying start in the series after opting for Vertigo, their most successful map as of late, securing a comfortable victory on the opener on the back of a near-flawless Terrorist side. G2 looked out of their depth against the slow-paced style of the CIS squad, putting together only two solitary rounds in the first half as they couldn’t keep up with Gambit‘s mid-round calls.

The French-Balkan team kept their spirits high and slowly chipped away at the massive deficit after the second pistol round went their way, but they were ultimately too far behind and their opponents clinched the last few rounds necessary to pick up the series lead.

G2 hoped to catch Gambit unprepared on Ancient, which Vladislav “⁠nafany⁠” Gorshkov‘s squad had had yet to play in official matches, but it was just the opposite that ended up being the case. The world’s No. 1 team looked more than capable in their debut on the newest addition to the map pool and left their adversaries in the dust after yet another dominant display, this time starting on the defense. G2 didn’t give themselves much space to work with after claiming just two rounds in the first half once again, and after some early struggles in the second Gambit went on to clinch a convincing win to make their way to the grand final.

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Russia

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

OG overcome Vitality to reach IEM Summer grand final

OG defeated Vitality 2-1 in the semi-finals of IEM Summer 2021, reaching their first grand final since Flashpoint 2 in December of last year. The team’s AWPer Mateusz “⁠mantuu⁠” Wilczewski recorded another great game (1.22 rating) to ensure the victory against Dan “⁠apEX⁠” Madesclaire‘s team, giving OG a chance to secure their first trophy from a top-tier event.

OG are looking to complete the dream run

The semi-final series provided three enthralling maps, with both teams taking their opponents’ picks and the winner being decided on Overpass where Shahar “⁠flameZ⁠” Shushan stepped up to the task.

“Regardless of which team we face, G2 or Gambit, it is going to be a super tough game,” Valdemar “⁠valde⁠” Bjørn Vangså said about the grand final in the post-match interview. “No matter which of the two teams we play, I think it is about being happy that we made it to the grand final and trying to play a game with as little pressure as possible.”

On the side of Vitality, another impressive match from Kévin “⁠misutaaa⁠” Rabier (1.14 rating) wasn’t enough for the Frenchmen to take the victory, seeing them finish 3rd-4th — still their best placing since moving away from the six-man roster and benching Nabil “⁠Nivera⁠” Benrlitom.

Utilizing a pack-roll approach, Vitality recovered from a lost pistol on Dust2 to get back to 4-4 on the Terrorist side. OG then denied them entry picks and rotated well to regain control of the half, ending 9-6 ahead. Jayson “⁠Kyojin⁠” Nguyen Van‘s triple in the pistol set up his side to go on a 5-1 run, with the two teams shortly tied at 11-11 and 12-12. Despite OG‘s four-round streak, Vitality held on to force overtime, but mantuu‘s impeccable form was the difference-maker for the international team to bring it over the line.

On Mirage, Vitality grabbed a 5-1 lead to start things on the defensive side, but the advantage didn’t hold long. Aleksi “⁠Aleksib⁠” Virolainen was leading his team by example as they bridged the gap, 6-6, with the half ending with a minimal advantage for Vitality. Mathieu “⁠ZywOo⁠” Herbaut jumped into B and found a double opener on the pistol to push his team forward (11-7), with misutaaa coming up big with two 1v3s to close out the map comfortably for the Frenchmen, 16-9.

Control of the first half on Overpass was seized by OG early, as Aleksib‘s team pushed and pulled Vitality to get up 7-3. misutaaa showed up with another clutch, this time a 1v2 on an eco, to stop the rot and help his team earn seven rounds by halftime. The two teams were inseparable as the sides were swapped, but a successful mixed buy from OG in round 22 turned the tides of the game and helped them secure a 16-10 victory.

Europe

France

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Gambit through to IEM Summer semi-finals over Evil Geniuses

Gambit have secured a spot in the IEM Summer semi-finals with a convincing 2-0 victory over Evil Geniuses on Dust2 (16-10) and Overpass (16-11), not needing the Mirage decider. Both Sergey “⁠Ax1Le⁠” Rykhtorov and Dmitry “⁠sh1ro⁠” Sokolov were the big heroes for Gambit, as they posted 1.50 and 1.43 ratings, respectively, with impressive performances on both maps.

Up next for Abay “⁠Hobbit⁠” Khasenov and company will be a match against the red-hot G2, a team that has shown great form all tournament long with a 3-0 record including a 2-0 victory over Vitality in the Group A upper bracket final match that put them straight into Saturday’s semi-finals. Meanwhile, Evil Geniuses will have four days to plan their revenge, as they will take on none other than Gambit in their BLAST Premier Spring Final opening match.

Ax1Le put on a big performance in the quarter-final bout

“They surprised us,” Hobbit said in the post-match interview regarding EG’s Overpass pick, known to be one of Gambit’s stronger maps. “We prepared Inferno, we thought it was going to be Inferno, but they just picked Overpass and that was a mistake by them.”

Despite the veto, Gambit made it clear early on that they weren’t going to be surprised on the server, and took an early lead on the defending side of Dust2, although several good plays in close situations by Tsvetelin “⁠CeRq⁠” Dimitrov put Evil Geniuses right back in the game. The majority North American squad then took Gambit for a ride, taking the lead early on in the second half, but it was finally the CIS squad who were able to secure their pick 16-10.

The Russian squad didn’t let up on Overpass, starting on their preferred CT side and running away with an early lead as they had done on their own map pick earlier, winning eight of the first ten rounds played after a brilliant quad-kill in the pistol round by Ax1Le. A 10-5 lead in the first half was then converted into a victory as Gambit put a stop to Evil Geniuses’ comeback attempt by winning a late eco round which put them on match point, after which the deal was sealed, 16-11.

“I have confidence in this team, we’re having a lot of fun and feeling motivated,” Peter “⁠stanislaw⁠” Jarguz said regarding his team’s 5-6th placing at IEM Summer. “This is a good first showing and hopefully for the next tournament we’ll just improve. Let’s build that consistency again because we’ve just been placing last for God knows how long and hopefully this is a good start towards a brighter future for us.”

Russia

North America

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

m1cks joins Nordavind as head coach

The 22-year-old will shoulder more responsibility as he takes a step up from his previous role on Cloud9.

Nordavind have announced that they have added Joshua “⁠m1cks⁠” Micks to their roster, with the former Cloud9 assistant coach and analyst set to take on head coach duties for the European lineup in place of Dennis “⁠Rytter⁠” Rytter.

The opportunity will mark m1cks‘ first time occupying a head coach role for a team after previously being an analyst for the likes of Bravado, eUnited, and Rogue, and offer the 22-year-old the chance to prove himself after spending the first quarter of 2021 working under Chris “⁠Elmapuddy⁠” Tebbit with the Cloud9 ‘Colossus’.

m1cks will head up coaching duties for Nordavind

In an interview with HLTV.org, m1cks had discussed his intention to become a head coach, but pointed towards a lack of North American teams looking to fill that role. He also spoke about issues he had working with a European team while living in North America, something that he hopes to resolve going forward with Nordavind.

“I’m excited to join Nordavind and to be stepping into the head coach role for the first time,” m1cks said in a statement to HLTV.org. “I look forward to continuing my progress as a coach and hope to bring this team to new heights it hasn’t yet seen.

“I’ll hopefully be spending more time in Europe in the coming months to work closely with the team and organization from EU, in order to make the most of the opportunity I’ve been given.”

Nordavind are now:

DenmarkDaniel “⁠mertz⁠” Mertz
DenmarkJesper “⁠TENZKI⁠” Plougmann
EstoniaKevin “⁠HS⁠” Tarn
EstoniaAnton “⁠supra⁠” Tšernobai
GermanySabit “⁠mirbit⁠” Coktasar

United StatesJoshua “⁠m1cks⁠” Micks (coach)

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Vitality brush aside Virtus.pro en route to IEM Summer semis

Vitality have passed the IEM Summer quarter-finals with flying colors after securing a commanding win against Virtus.pro on two maps (Inferno 16-10, Vertigo 16-5). The semi-finals will witness a rematch from the first round of the Flashpoint 3 lower bracket between the French side and OG, in which Vitality confirmed their edge over the European squad with their third consecutive 2-0 victory in the matchup.

The quarter-final series saw Kévin “⁠misutaaa⁠” Rabier in impressive form as he and Mathieu “⁠ZywOo⁠” Herbaut led the way to the comfortable victory. The 18-year-old has averaged a 1.33 rating over seven maps played during IEM Summer so far, showcasing an unprecedented level of performance following five months full of tournaments in which he was rated below 1.00.

misutaaa has continued to showcase an unprecedented level

“I think it’s him having more confidence,” Dan “⁠apEX⁠” Madesclaire said on the topic of misutaaa‘s improvement in an interview conducted shortly after the match. “For more than three months misutaaa has been really sick in practice, but unfortunately he wasn’t showing up during matches. […] We tried to change a few things to make him even more comfortable, and I think it’s working pretty well.”

The first quarter-final series was expected to go to all three maps after a predictable veto produced Inferno and Vertigo as the first two, but it all changed when Virtus.pro faltered on their opening pick. The young French trio of ZywOo, misutaaa, and the still-fresh addition Jayson “⁠Kyojin⁠” Nguyen Van combined to put together a strong defense for Vitality on Inferno, and after a relatively comfortable closing the CIS-based team’s chances looked doomed as they were heading into their least successful map.

With just one win to their name in the last eight matches on Vertigo, there seemed to be little hope for Virtus.pro on Vitality‘s pick, and the Frenchmen went on to confirm their position of the favorites with a dominant display. Dzhami “⁠Jame⁠” Ali & co. struggled after they chose to begin the second map on the Terrorist side, clinching just three rounds on the offense as Vitality rallied to a 16-5, 2-0 victory.

France

CIS

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

GuardiaN to stand in for Trident, seized returns

Trident have reinstated seized in the active lineup following the in-game leader’s brief spell on the bench and brought in former Natus Vincere and FaZe star Ladislav “⁠GuardiaN⁠” Kovács on a stand-in basis, the Russian organization has announced. Meanwhile, Mikhail “⁠tricky⁠” Krutov has been benched from the team.

The legendary sniper has returned from a long dry spell to help out the Russian side. The Slovakian has spent most of the time on the sidelines following his benching in Natus Vincere at the beginning of 2020, and since he stood in for Dignitas at Flashpoint 1 he has only played two official matches in HLTV.org’s records in 13 months.

GuardiaN has been out of action for over a year

Last September, GuardiaN announced that he was ready to return to the highest level, but despite assurances that he was hungrier than ever the veteran remained teamless, even after he was officially released from his contract with the Ukrainian organization in February.

Although it’s unclear for how long he will stay, GuardiaN now reunites in Trident with seized, with whom he played under the NAVI banner for almost four years in 2013-2017. The new lineup is set to debut in the European Development Championship 4’s Group C, also featuring Copenhagen Flames, SKADE, and Budapest Five. seized & co. are set to face the Danish side in the opening round, on Wednesday at 13:00