After a tournament full of upsets, the unlikely but deserved winners of the Winter DreamHack were the CIS players from the British eSports organization Gambit Gaming.
Fans had the chance to witness plenty of twists and turns in Jönköping, with favourites Dignitas and Cloud 9 having to pack their bags immediately after the group stage.
Gambit were the team who eliminated Cloud 9 in a second-place decider in Group B, where OpTic Gaming and Renegades had been seeded. Before the crucial match, Gambit had beaten OpTic 16-10 on the map that proved to be their strongest in the tournament – Cobblestone – before losing to Renegades 16-8 on Cache.
Having eliminated Cloud9 with a 2-1 scoreline, Gambit found themselves in the semifinals where they were once again deemed underdogs, this time against the Swedes from GODSENT. The match started with Gambit’s map pick Cobblestone, and they had few problems scoring their third win in the tournament on it. The CIS team crumbled on Train, however, as GODSENT built an insurmountable lead as Terrorists and Gambit had nothing in response. It was the Overpass game which hinted that Gambit were champion material though after the team pulled off an incredible 11-round winning streak as Counter Terrorists to close the game at 16-13 after being 13-5 down.
In the final, Gambit had a chance to avenge their loss in the group stage against Renegades and they did it in style, winning 2-0. The match started with a game on Nuke, selected by Renegades. This didn’t help them much as Gambit took an almost insurmountable 12-3 lead as Terrorists, making it easy to close down the first game as Counter Terrorists, with them eventually winning 16-12. There was little doubt as to who would win the second game on Cobblestone – a map that proved to be the winning ace for Gambit throughout the tournament. Starting as CT, Gambit took a 10-5 lead and despite some resilient efforts from Renegades in the second part of the game, the CIS team won with a score of 16-10.
Here’s how the players performed throughout the tournament:
Mihail “Dosia” Stolyarov
Dosia has been with the team since its inception at the beginning of the year. He is a veteran rifler on the scene and put in a decent performance in all of the matches he played at DreamHack. His aim was as good as any of his team-mates and his contribution included some great stealth individual plays that helped his team secure some rounds. Knifing Yaman “yam” Ergenekon in the final will enter the stuff of legend.
Rustem “mou” Tlepov
The Gambit AWPer’s path to fame has been steady. After making a name for himself on the local Kazakh scene, mou’s performances earned him a place on the HellRaisers lineup before he signed for Gambit at the beginning of the year. He was undoubtedly one of the best AWPers at DreamHack, with a merciless aim as well as some successful peak plays when he found himself contained by enemy opposition. One good example of this was against GODSENT on Train.
Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev
AdreN is another player who has been with the team from the beginning of the year, having been playing Counter Strike since 2003 for various CIS teams. AdreN showed strong performances during the pistol rounds and these were crucial in allowing Gambit to secure an early advantage, most notably in the game on Dust II vs Cloud9.
Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko
A strong team needs a strong captain and Zeus was nothing short of that. The player with the most experience on the team, his arrival in October has certainly given them a boost. Zeus is the tactical mastermind of the team, as well as the in-game shots caller, and Zeus’ team can solidly play both as Counter Terrorists and Terrorists. The team also performed quite a few successful fakes and flanks throughout the tournament. Zeus also had some good individual displays and finished with the second best stats several times, particularly in the match against OpTic.
Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov
HObbit’s loan spell at Gambit started in October, but it would come as no surprise if he secures a permanent deal. A relatively young player, he is already deemed by experts as someone who has the potential to be compared with the very top of the CS:GO global scene and his performances in DreamHack is a step in this direction. HObbit deserved the MVP of the tournament by consistently staying on top of the stats charts, conducting flashy plays and being able to take down several opponents in one round.
Coming into the tournament Gambit were not deemed as favourites, having only won three Major tournaments this year against far weaker opposition. However, through a combination of team play, good decision making, individual efforts, resilience, strategic variety and fantastic performances on the Cobblestone map, the Winter DreamHack title deservedly ended up in their hands.