Gambit Esports emerged as world champion following a dominant performance in the Valorant Champions Tour 2021: Stage 3 Masters at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin recently.
After getting past in the preliminaries in Group C, the Russian squad went charging in the playoffs where it defeated Vision Strikers in the quarterfinals, G2 Esports in the semifinals and Team Envy in the grand finals to claim the world title and the prize money of $225,000.
Pre-tournament favorite Sentinels, on the other hand, bombed out in the quarterfinals following a 0-2 loss to Team Envy.
Composed of Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov, Nikita “d3ffo” Sudakov, Bogdan “Sheydos” Naumov, Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin, and Igor “Redgar” Vlasov, Gambit was simply impressive, especially in their best-of-five showdown with Team Envy in the grand finals.
“It feels amazing because we did not expect to make it far but we did so it is a wonderful feeling,” Gambit team captain, Redgar, said following the match.
“I do not know how to say; it was really an amazing feeling. We did not feel any pressure. We just played our game.”
Gambit coach Andrey “Engh” Sholokhov said their great communication led to a strong performance.
“It is all about communication. It was the key in our team. A lot of people are watching for nAts because he is really an amazing player,” Engh said.
“The keys to our victory was team plays, teamwork and how we do our job. Everybody in our team played their game and we did what was needed. That’s the reason why we had this kind of amazing performance.”
The first map was played on Bind where Gambit drafted Skye, Viper, Astra, Jett, and Sova while Envy played the same lineup. Envy got off to a good start by winning the pistol round and Round 2, but Gambit bit back in Rounds 3 and 4.
Envy won the next four rounds which proved bad news for Gambit’s economy until a Revolver 2v1 clutch from nAts finally gave Gambit a breather that allowed them to win the next round.
A defuse from Austin “crashies” Roberts in Round 11, however, snapped Gambit’s brief momentum.
Gambit stormed back, winning the next five rounds to take the lead, 9-7, which allowed it to turn the tide in the economy. Everything seemed lost for Envy when Gambit went 12-10 only to see the North American team win a couple more to force overtime.
The teams went back and forth going 13-13 in the tiebreaker rounds, but Gambit emerged the winner in Round 28 after Sheydos, nAts, and Redgar, holding a Vandal, Phantom, and Judge respectively outplayed an overmatch Victor “Victor” Wong.
The second map took place in Haven with Gambit playing Sova, Skye, Killjoy, Jett, and Astra while Envy went with Skye, Cypher, Brimstone, Jett, and Reyna. Like the first match, Envy started strong by winning the first couple of rounds going 4-2 until Gambit tied it at 4-4.
Envy played with all they got the following rounds going 8-4 until Gambit pulled off a crucial 3v1 clutch in the pistol round the moment the teams switched sides. The momentum then momentarily shifted from there as Gambit tied the game, 8-8.
Envy scored three more rounds but Gambit’s aims and plays proved savvier as it forced a 3v2 spike plant defuse scenario to close Game 2 with a 13-11 scoreline and set up a sweep to heading to Game 3 in Split.
Envy poured everything it had and did not make it easy for Gambit, but Bind proved to be the latter’s best map in the series as they took control at every turn en route to winning the tournament with a 13-9 score.
“We thought that we would probably lose Haven because it is not our map. In my head I thought it would be a close series, 3-1 or 3-2 for us or them,” Redgar said.
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