Steven R. July 9, 2019
Gambit Esports’ flop in the qualifiers to The International 2019 was even worse than fans originally thought.
During a group stage showdown with Winstrike Team, Gambit core player Andrey "Afoninje" Afonin called an abrupt end to the game, giving the victory to Winstrike. The GG call was immediately labeled as a rage quit by the casters covering the game and judging from a social media post from Gambit, those suspicions were correct.
“Even though this game would most likely result in a loss and our desire to keep our mental component intact for following games, the behavior of our player was unsportsmanlike and unacceptable,” Gambit said in a statement on Twitter. “Afoninje will be subject to disciplinary actions. On behalf of Gambit Esports, we would like to issue an apology to our fans and community in general.”
Gambit was a big step behind Winstrike during their 32-minute game. Despite a solid start, Gambit began stumbling after losing a series of skirmishes that saw them fall behind in both kills and gold farmed. Afoninje was solo farming top lane as Morphling when Winstrike rotated onto him for a gank attempt, which he avoided for some time before ultimately going down. Immediately after, he called GG to hand Winstrike the win.
Though Gambit was trailing, there have been considerably worse circumstances from which teams have fought back to win games. That fact, coupled with the high-stakes nature of the game, had many wondering if Afoninje had just performed one of the most high-profile ragequits in Dota 2 history.
Unfortunately for Gambit, that wasn’t the worst thing that happened to the team today. Following the loss to Winstrike, the team dropped two more games. That resulted in a 3-4 group stage record which eliminated them from the qualifiers.
It’s a devastating blow for Gambit. The team came just a hair shy of earning a direct invitation to TI9 through the Dota Pro Circuit, falling just outside of the top 12 ranked teams. They entered the CIS qualifiers as the clear favorites, but competition was fierce. While falling short of the event was a real possibility, few could have foreseen things going like this.
No details were given on what sort of discipline Afoninje might face, but this is no doubt frustrating for both the organization and his teammates.
The CIS qualifiers will continue on with Vega Squadron, Natus Vincere, Team Empire, and Winstrike Team competing in double-elimination playoffs to decide who is heading to TI9.