This week’s rankings are proof that in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, hard work and consistent play can pay off in a big way.
Both Gambit Esports and Virtus.pro have rightfully taken spots among CSGO’s top five teams, and that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Even though Gambit rolled through VP in last weekend’s IEM Katowice 2021 grand finals, both teams have earned their places among CSGO’s top rosters.
What’s almost more impressive about this rise is that it has gone unnoticed by much of CSGO’s fan base. Since December 2020, Gambit and Virtus.pro have won almost everything they’ve participated in, but they’ve also seen little international attention until now. Even Katowice’s grand final showed that, with the ultimate showdown coming in at the least watched grand final of a big CSGO competition in the last four years. Now, they’ve been rewarded with the second and fifth-place spots in this week’s CSGO rankings.
WIN.gg’s ranking algorithm wasn’t surprised about either team’s performance over the course of IEM Katowice 2021. Both had consistently risen up the list, shooting past teams like Team Liquid, G2, and even Vitality starting in early December 2020. But all of the math in the world couldn’t have predicted how either team would keep up the pace against top-tier opposition.
But it turns out that when you’re a CIS CSGO team, keeping up the pace is the literal recipe for success.
Take Gambit as an example, even though similar things could be said about Virtus.pro’s own success. The region’s teams historically play a slow style, only executing with seconds left on the clock. But Gambit took a different approach, especially against its regional rivals. There were few slow rounds from Gambit on display at Katowice, and it was clear their opponents expected a more predictable CIS style than what they got.
And while Gambit took care of its side of the bracket, VP was happy to school Astralis on the other.
Some of that credit needs to be given to Gambit’s head coach, Konstantin “groove” Pikiner. His willingness to craft game plans that maximize his player’s strengths has been essential in the team’s success. That’s not easy, especially when to do so means ignoring play styles pioneered by some of CSGO’s most famous minds, names such as Sergey “starix” Ischuk, Danylo “zeus” Teslenko, and Arseniy “ceh9” Trynozhenko. But it wasn’t all groove’s tactics.
Having players like Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov doesn’t hurt either.
The same can be said of Virtus.pro, who has also enjoyed a burst of success in CSGO’s smaller tournaments that has translated well in the roster’s return to international competition. There’s always more to talk about in CSGO, such as OG’s dismissal of Nathan “NBK” Schmidt or Astralis’ concerning shift in play. But this week, it’s best to give Virtus.pro and Gambit their time in the spotlight. Both teams deserve it.