After running the gauntlet through both the play-in stage and the lower bracket of their group stage, Gambit Esports won the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship in Katowice today.
Gambit faced off against Virtus Pro in the best-of-five grand finals in what was a showcase of two blistering hot CIS-region teams. Gambit were in trouble early after narrowly losing their opening map pick on Vertigo 16-14. But the former Youngsters would not be denied.
After VP stole Gambit’s first pick by a slim margin, Gambit came right back and dominated VP on their first map pick of Dust 2 by a 16-6 score. The typically quiet Gambit lurker Timofey “interz” Yakushin had an absolute showcase with a 25-9 KD along with a handful of clutches and opening picks.
With the series tied 1-1, Gambit had another map pick in Train and didn’t squander their advantage. They routed VP even more decisively with a 16-4 score and denied VP any second-half round for the second straight map. It was the veteran and former major winner Abay “Hobbit” Khassenov that stepped up for Gambit with 25 kills and several massive clutches.
Eyeing the finish line and still hot from Train, Hobbit came out swinging on Overpass, lighting up for 19 kills on the T-side in just the first half. Gambit held off a late VP comeback in the second half to claim a third straight map, the series 3-1, and the title.
This is the biggest win for this form of the Gambit roster since they were promoted from the academy squad back in October, ditching the Youngsters title. It’s the biggest win for the organization since their unlikely major victory over Immortals at PGL Krakow 2017. They claimed the $400,000 prize and propelled to the top of the BLAST Premier Global Leaderboard.
They will compete in both the Pinnacle Cup and ESL Pro League Season 13 over the next week.