While most professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams took time to relax over the game’s winter player break, Gambit continued to showcase dominant performances as it played through the holidays.
The top half of this week’s CSGO rankings haven’t changed all that much since the conclusion of the IEM Global Challenge last December, but Gambit’s continued presence on the list in the number four spot is something that fans shouldn’t ignore. At the top of the list, Astralis has predictably held onto the number one spot thanks in part to its win at IEM’s Global Challenge. But while Astralis has benefited from a combination of getting hot at the right times and the subpar performances of opponents, Gambit has looked simply unstoppable.
Astralis picked up where it left off this week as it continued stomping teams that underestimate its historically good roster. The Danes crushed Evil Geniuses during its opening matchup in the BLAST Global Finals, posting 16-8 and 16-6 map wins after dropping the first map 16-14 to the North American organization. Even if Astralis somehow drops the ball at BLAST, it’s unlikely that fans will see much movement from the Danish team unless it undergoes a complete meltdown. Much to the dismay of its critics, the roster looks like its old self with its core five players back in sync after a strange 2020.
Behind Astralis, Vitality and Natus Vincere hold the second and third place spots to start 2021. Both finished 2020 on course to challenge Astralis for first place, but now it looks like only one team has the potential to do so. While Na’Vi struggled during its losing matchup against Team Liquid at BLAST, Vitality breezed through its own matchup 2-0 against a short-staffed Complexity. Unfortunately for fans, Na’Vi continues to be frustratingly inconsistent, especially given the amount of firepower it has placed around star player Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.
But there are more interesting things happening just out of the top three. While teams such as Heroic, Virtus.pro, and BIG skid during CSGO’s winter break, Gambit was hard at work and managed to settle in at number four, and deservedly so. Since November 26, the team has shown consistent performances on its way to a 14-2 map record. And while it has a young roster, it also has experience on its side in CSGO Major winner Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov. Since returning to Gambit’s lineup last October, Hobbit has rebounded from an early 2020 slump, entering the new year with a standout 1.20 average rating.
Granted, many of the team’s wins have been against tier-two opponents but Gambit has managed an incredible 90% win rate over the past three months. With the numbers its roster is putting on the scoreboard, Gambit has nowhere to go but up. Fans will be able to get a close look at Gambit in just a few weeks time as it is scheduled to play against top teams such as Team Liquid, FNATIC, mousesports, and others during the play-in stage of IEM Katowice 2021, which starts on February 16.