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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Gambit defeat Evil Geniuses in BLAST Premier Spring Final opening match

Gambit won their first BLAST Premier Spring Final series against Evil Geniuses, doubling down on their recent victory against the American-European squad in the IEM Summer playoffs. This time around the CIS squad had to sweat for their win even more than last time, as they banned Overpass, one of their stronger maps, but nonetheless managed to take EG’s pick of Inferno in a double-overtime affair before securing the series 16-11 on Dust2.

“It doesn’t matter which map we play against any team, we just talk to our coach and analyst and decide which map will be better,” Vladislav “⁠nafany⁠” Gorshkov said after the series. “Sometimes it’s because we feel very strong on some map, but I can’t say what it was this time.”

Abay “⁠Hobbit⁠” Khasenov and company have now moved on to the upper-bracket semi-finals, where they will face the winner of the second fixture in the first match day pitting Complexity vs. NIP, whereas Evil Geniuses are waiting for the loser in an elimination match in the first round of the lower bracket.

sh1ro topped the scoreboard with a 1.41 rating

The first map of the series, Inferno, started with a strong pistol defense by Gambit, but a B play on the forcebuy proved worthwhile for Evil Geniuses, who flipped the early rounds in their favor. The American-European squad were able to keep up the pressure on the attack, with nafany and company fighting to keep up as they brought it back to a tight 7-8 at the half. The second half started the same way, with Gambit tying things up, but a 1vs3 clutch by Michał “⁠MICHU⁠” Müller kept his team ahead, although the CIS squad struck right back in what ended up a frought second half. The map then headed into overtime, where Gambit were only able to get an edge over their rivals after 12 extra rounds to take the map 22-20.

Evil Geniuses came out determined to tie things up on Dust2, starting on the CT side, as Peter “⁠stanislaw⁠” Jarguz’s men, with Owen “⁠oBo⁠” Schlatter and Tsvetelin “⁠CeRq⁠” Dimitrov leading the way, went on a six round streak before Gambit successfully took a site. The CIS squad then made a solid case for themselves, securing six rounds of their own before the switchto keep things close. The second half was a completely different story, as the nafany-led squad took the reins on the defense dropping just two rounds on the way to a 16-11 victory.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Intel Grand Slam race heats up as Gambit secure second title

Gambit have become a genuine contender to win Intel Grand Slam Season 3 after a flawless performance in the playoffs of IEM Summer, where they brushed aside Evil Geniuses, G2, and OG without losing a map in order to be crowned champions.

With their second ESL Pro Tour trophy from the last four events held by ESL and DreamHack, Gambit have equalled the tally of Natus Vincere and Astralis and need just two more titles to grab the grand prize.

Hobbit is looking to add an Intel Grand Slam win to his resume

Abay “⁠Hobbit⁠” Khasenov and co. are in a more favorable position than their rivals, though, as they have six events left to complete their Grand Slam, in comparison to four for Natus Vincere and just two for Astralis. Both CIS sides have already won a Masters Championship event (IEM Katowice, IEM Cologne), which allows them to complete the “short” Intel Grand Slam with four titles. The $1,000,000 prize can also be won without a Master Championship, but it requires winning six “regular” Pro Tour events.

Astralis needs to win the upcoming Masters Champions event, IEM Cologne, as well as the first event after the tournament break, ESL Pro League S14, in order to complete their Intel Grand Slam before the IEM Beijing victory will be removed from contention – as only the last 10 tournaments played are taken into account.

Heroic is the fourth team in the running, having won ESL Pro League Season 13, while mousesports‘ addition to the list is only technical, as the international squad would have to bring back one of Finn “⁠karrigan⁠” Andersen, Chris “⁠chrisJ⁠” de Jong, or Özgür “⁠woxic⁠” Eker and win the next three ESL Pro Tour events in a row in order to build on their ESL Pro League S10 success and win the Grand Slam.

The Intel Grand Slam Season 3 running currently looks as follows:

Russia Gambit – 2 wins (1 Masters), 6 remaining chances
Russia Natus Vincere – 2 wins (1 Masters), 4 remaining chances
Denmark Astralis – 2 wins (0 Masters), 2 remaining chances
Denmark Heroic – 1 win (0 Masters), 7 remaining chances
Europe mousesports * – 1 win (0 Masters), 3 remaining chances

* mousesports no longer have the 3-man core from the EPL S10 win

Intel Grand Slam Season 3 was put on hold in May of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic fragmented the CS:GO circuit into regionalized tournaments, but restarted at the end of the year with IEM Global Challenge being the first online event to be considered for the competition.

Below, you can find all of the events that are a part of the current season, including those whose results already expired and those set to take place before the end of the year:

IEM Chicago 2019United States Liquid
ESL One New York 2019United States Evil Geniuses
DreamHack Masters Malmö 2019Sweden fnatic
IEM Beijing 2019Denmark Astralis
ESL Pro League S10 FinalsEurope mousesports
IEM Katowice 2020 * – Russia Natus Vincere
IEM Global Challenge 2020Denmark Astralis
IEM Katowice 2021 * – Russia Gambit
ESL Pro League S13Denmark Heroic
DreamHack Masters Spring 2021Russia Natus Vincere
IEM Summer 2021Russia Gambit
IEM Cologne 2021 – July 6-18
ESL Pro League Season 14 – August 16 – September 12
IEM Fall – September 28 – October 10
IEM Winter – Dec 2 – 12

* Represents a Masters Championship Event

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Gambit sweep OG to win IEM Summer

Gambit have added another trophy to their cabinet with an IEM Summer grand final victory over OG in three maps, Mirage (16-14), Dust2 (16-11) and Overpass, (16-7), while ending the European combine’s dream run in the tournament as Casper “⁠ruggah⁠” Due’s men had previously tallied victories over NIP, Virtus.pro, Evil Geniuses and Vitality without a loss.

This victory marks Gambit’s second Intel Grand Slam Season 3 point and third big title this year following IEM Katowice and their first RMR event of 2021, EPIC League CIS, and is their fifth grand final appearance when including ESL Pro League Season 13 and DreamHack Masters Spring, without taking into account several smaller accolades.

Sergey “⁠Ax1Le⁠” Rykhtorov carried his great form into the grand final, posting the highest ratings on all three of the maps played and averaging a 1.49 rating in the series. The 19-year-old finished the tournament as the third highest player with an average rating of 1.33 across the 15 maps Gambit played.

Ax1Le topped the grand final’s scoreboard with a 1.49 rating

The final IEM Summer series kicked off on Mirage, the first of Gambit’s two picks, and from the start it was a close affair as an early lead by OG on the CT side was turned around by the CIS squad in a tight 8-7 half. Aleksi “⁠Aleksib⁠” Virolainen and company started their offensive getting back ahead, with Mateusz “⁠mantuu⁠” Wilczewski and Valdemar “⁠valde⁠” Bjørn Vangså leading the way, but in the end it was Gambit who were able to win back-to-back rounds, building up an economy and reaching match point, 15-12, before closing the map out in the last round of regulation.

OG came out in full force on Dust2 after barely falling short in the opening map, and took control of proceedings early on with an 8-2 lead, but Gambit hit hard late in the half and brought it as close as could be with a five-round streak to throw the map wide open at the switch. The Russian squad then put up a wall on the defense as OG struggled to break through time and time again, allowing just three rounds on the way to a 16-11 victory and getting one map away from victory after the first two.

The third map in the series, Overpass, started off as did the two previous ones, a close affair between the two sides, this time with Gambit on the offense and OG as CTs. Although it was valde and company who were able to get an early lead, their economy depleted after losing several rounds in a row and it was Gambit, with a brilliant Abay “⁠Hobbit⁠” Khasenov, who took the half 9-6. OG took a very necessary T-side pistol round, but crumbled against the forcebuy after which the emboldened CIS squad sprinted towards the finish line to secure the IEM Summer trophy, 16-7.

Europe

Russia

The final IEM Summer standings are:

1. Russia Gambit – $100,000
2. Europe OG – $42,000
3-4. Europe G2 – $20,000
3-4. France Vitality – $20,000
5-6. North America Evil Geniuses – $10,000
5-6. CIS Virtus.pro – $10,000
7-8. Sweden NIP – $6,000
7-8. Europe Complexity – $6,000
9-12. Russia Spirit – $5,000
9-12. Denmark Heroic – $5,000
9-12. Denmark Astralis – $5,000
9-12. Europe FunPlus Phoenix – $5,000
13-16. Sweden fnatic – $4,000
13-16. Europe Imperial – $4,000
13-16. North America Extra Salt – $4,000
13-16. Germany Sprout – $4,000

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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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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.”

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Gambit squeeze past Complexity to clinch IEM Summer playoff spot

Gambit secured on Saturday a spot in the IEM Summer playoffs with a 2-1 victory against Complexity in Group A’s lower bracket final. The CIS team came out strongly in the series, taking Mirage in dominant fashion, but then faded in their own map pick of Overpass and required all 30 rounds to run out victorious in a tit-for-tat Vertigo affair against a stubborn Complexity side.

It was far from plain sailing for the current world No.1, and Vladislav “⁠nafany⁠” Gorshkov admitted after the match that exhaustion is starting to become a problem as events come thick and fast. “This is the fourth tournament in a row so it’s a bit tough, I guess,” he said, adding that he expected Complexity to pose such a threat to his team. “Everyone right now is prepared for us because we are number one.”

Complexity made a bright start to the series with a flawless pistol on Mirage, but their energy and poise waned as the half wore on. Gambit took control of proceedings after buying up and went on an 8-1 run, but a late slip-up – losing a round against pistols on the B site – gave their opponents a much-needed moment’s peace and slightly shifted the momentum before the break.

But Complexity‘s comeback hopes were buried soon after the side switch. One round was all that they could muster as Terrorists as Gambit‘s defence proved simply too strong for them to break.

Gambit move on to the single-elimination playoffs

Overpass began with Complexity keeping Gambit‘s players at bay with a water-tight defence, with Benjamin “⁠blameF⁠” Bremer and Valentin “⁠poizon⁠” Vasilev opening up rounds for the team on multiple occasions. Down 1-8, Gambit finally put some rounds together on the back of a successful eco, but Complexity held on and went into the break on double-digit territory.

Sergey “⁠Ax1Le⁠” Rykhtorov kept Gambit in the game with a 1v2 clutch in the pistol round, but there was no respite for the CIS side. Complexity hit back immediately and took the reins of the game, locking down the map shortly afterwards with a clutch from blameF, who defended the bomb with a well-placed Molotov.

The odds seemed to be stacked against Complexity heading into Vertigo, given Gambit‘s near-flawless record on the map (92% winrate in the last three months in 12 games), but blameF‘s troops refused to let up. They bounced back from a 0-4 start and enjoyed a spell of dominance, but the half was still won by Gambit following a late resurgence from the CIS side.

Complexity took control shortly after the break and regained the lead at 13-12, but just like in the first half, it did not last long. Gambit tightened up and hit series map point thanks to an Ax1Le clutch, though they only put the game away in the final round of regulation, with nothing but Desert Eagles, as Complexity tried their hardest to force overtime, but without success.

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Gambit eliminate Astralis from IEM Summer; OG defeat Virtus.pro to secure playoffs

Astralis was playing catchup throughout the series against Gambit as the two teams crossed paths in an early elimination match, with the Russian side reigning supreme (16-8 Inferno, 16-7 Overpass) and marching on in the tournament. To earn a place in the playoffs, Gambit will have to overcome one more team – Complexity.

Posting a 1.81 rating for the series, Sergey “⁠Ax1Le⁠” Rykhtorov was a thorn in Astralis‘ side, with a solid performance from Emil “⁠Magisk⁠” Reif proving insuficiend to keep his team afloat. Astralis‘ 9-12th finish in IEM Summer follows a 6th place from Flashpoint 3, with the Peter “⁠dupreeh⁠” Rasmussen and co. hoping for a better showing at the final event of the season, IEM Cologne.

Ax1Le was in the zone against Astralis, aceing the Danes on Inferno

In the match played on the B stream, OG brushed aside Virtus.pro (16-10 Mirage, 16-11 Overpass), building on their strong opening win over NIP and securing at least a place in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, Dzhami “⁠Jame⁠” Ali‘s squad has been relegated to the lower bracket where they will have to overcome Spirit and the winner of NIPHeroic to reach playoffs.

Gambit looked unstoppable early on Inferno as Ax1Le‘s sharp aim propelled them to a 5-0 CT lead. Lucas “⁠Bubzkji⁠” Andersen and Andreas “⁠Xyp9x⁠” Højsleth pulled off a 2v4 on B to get Astralis back into it, with Magisk coming online to make it a competitive half in the end. The Danes claimed the pistol and followup after the switch, only for Gambit to shut the door on the comeback with seven unanswered rounds (16-8).

The Russian team’s Terrorist side was equally dangerous on Overpass. With Ax1Le topping the scoreboard again, they dominated Astralis across the board, taking 10 rounds in the first half. Lukas “⁠gla1ve⁠” Rossander‘s team got a couple of rounds to start their offense, but Gambit closed out the series in no time as Timofey “⁠interz⁠” Yakushin clutched out a 1v1 on A in the final round.

The momentum swung back and forth in the first half of Mirage as both OG and Virtus.pro went on five-round streaks, but Aleksi “⁠Aleksib⁠” Virolainen‘s team switched to the offense slightly behind, 8-7. That deficit was quickly nullified as Aleksib‘s men puz up a near-flawless T-side, winning their map pick 16-10.

On Overpass, Virtus.pro‘s pick, OG were barely contested in the first half as the European side got the upper hand after winning the second-round force and didn’t let go. Nikolaj “⁠niko⁠” Kristensen picked up a couple of key multikills early on and the rest of the team chipped in, building to an 11-4 lead. Down 13-4 shortly, Jame‘s team didn’t falter and brought the game back to 13-11 with a strong streak, but OG managed to break their bank and bring it over the line, 16-11.

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Gambit stop Akuma’s miracle run to lock EPIC League CIS grand final spot

Gambit have secured a place in the EPIC League CIS grand final following a stunning 2-0 win over Akuma, stopping the underdogs’ hot streak at the Regional Major Ranking event after the surprise of the tournament took down the region’s No. 2 and No. 3 teams, Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro, in the first two rounds of the upper bracket.

Vladislav “⁠nafany⁠” Gorshkov‘s squad now await their opponent in the title decider, scheduled for Sunday at 19:00