Gambit endure another test at VCT Champions, overcoming slow start against Vikings to reach playoffs

The reigning Masters Berlin champions struggled but didn't stumble.

Image via Riot Games.

Gambit secured their spot in the VCT Champions playoffs with a three-map series win against Team Vikings, punctuated with an impressive comeback win in overtime on Icebox. The reigning champions of Masters Berlin had shaky starts against both Team Secret and Vikings, but they can now relax and re-focus before the quarterfinals start on Wednesday.

Just like in their series against Team Secret, Gambit got off to a slow start on their pick of Split, letting Vikings get out to a 4-0 lead. But an impressive clutch from Chronicle as Killjoy jumpstarted the momentum for Gambit, who won six straight rounds on attack with dominant map control. Gambit turned a 0-4 start into a 7-5 lead at halftime.

Chronicle delivered in the clutch again for his team in the second-half pistol, allowing Gambit to further increase their lead to 9-6 before the first full-buy round. Gambit’s aggressive A defense forced Vikings toward B and into a stack of utility in heaven, allowing the Gambit lead to grow even more. Sheydos shut down a potential Sacy ace in the last round to punctuate a 13-6 victory, and the reigning Berlin champions won 13 of the last 15 rounds to close out their map pick.

For the second straight map, Vikings jumped out to an early lead on their attack side, this time up to 5-0 before Gambit finally produced a round in response. But Vikings did not let Gambit shift the momentum like they did on Split, with a Sacy 4K followed immediately by a saadhak ace to grow their lead to 7-1, eventually taking an 8-4 lead into halftime.

Vikings narrowly claimed another pistol round to start the second half, reaching 10 rounds before nAts delivered a 4K with a picked-up Bulldog on a thrifty round. Unfortunately for Gambit, their heavy investment round was lost to a thrifty from Vikings. A broke Gambit didn’t have the guns or abilities to hold off the Vikings retakes, with the Brazilian side stunning the Berlin champions 13-5 on Bind to send the series to decisive Icebox.

Viking claimed the opening pistol round for the third straight map on Icebox, taking a 3-0 lead before the first buy round. In that round, Gambit got onto the A site with no contest, but lost the trade war as sacy came through with the clutch kill and defuse. He almost cost Gambit a crucial buy round on another A take, if not for a nAts flank that secured Gambit their first round of the half. They switched over to B next round, but Gambit again fell to the Vikings retake. Sacy popped off on the first half of Icebox, with an insane 20 kills over just 12 rounds, as Vikings led 9-3 at the half.

Gambit squeaked out the second-half pistol via a close defuse, but they took two steps back by losing the anti-eco round to an aggressive Vikings force buy. Gambit’s broken economy allowed Vikings to reach series point at 12-5. But with their backs against the wall, Gambit mustered the resolve to rattle off seven straight rounds to force overtime with some stellar retakes of their own.

In overtime, Gambit made their way into the A site before Chronicle clicked three straight heads to give Gambit their first lead of the map at 13-12. After switching sides, a lurking Sheydos dismissed the idea of more overtimes to secure the comeback victory on Icebox for Gambit 14-12.

Gambit will join Fnatic in the playoffs of VCT Champions as one of the top seeds and will be joined by either Sentinels or Liquid later today. Vikings haven’t been eliminated yet and will face either Team Secret or Crazy Raccoon in the Group C decider.

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