Gambit Esports claim the IEM Katowice 2021 trophy after an action-filled series against their CIS opposition Virtus.pro. The team who was known as ‘Gambit Youngsters’ up until a few months back has now made a name for themselves internationally, on the back of their star player Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov. They came all the way from the play-ins stage and eliminated teams like G2, Team Spirit, and Na’Vi to reach the grand finals. The CIS derby against the much favored VP was an exciting affair, where Gambit walked away with $400,000 USD and the IEM Katowice trophy, but most importantly they proved themselves as top-tier contenders and a team to watch out for in the upcoming tournaments.
IEM Katowice 2021: Gambit defeats VP in the finals
The best of 5 grand finals began on Gambit's pick Vertigo. Abay ‘Hobbit‘ Khasenov’s crew started strong right out of the gate, but Virtus.pro did not let that shake them. VP ended the first half with a '9-6' lead after some masterful plays by Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis, who has been the breakout star for VP this tournament.
In the second half, Gambit started to claw back into the game and even managed to take the lead, but failed to keep this advantage till the end of the map. VP did the reversal for the second time on the map and won by a ‘16-14’ scoreline.
After a close match on Vertigo, Gambit kept it tight on Dust 2 with Timofey “interz” Yakushin finding valuable round wins for the side towards the end of the first half to provide Gambit a comfortable ‘9-6’ lead. This was followed by a flawless second half, where Gambit playing T-side won the remaining 7 rounds in a row to close the map ‘16-6’.
With the series equalized at ‘1-1’, the third map was played on Gambit’s map pick Train where Gambit ran over VP in the first half, taking an ‘11-4’ lead after a highlight reel T-sided performance from Hobbit. In a dominant fashion, Gambit once again denied VP any rounds in the second half, securing their second map pick ‘16-4’ with yet another flawless second half.
The last map of the series took place on VP’s pick Overpass. YEKINDAR and his crew were not going to give up so easily, but despite the determination, Gambit dominated the first half and secured an ‘11-4’ lead. Virtus.pro took one final leap on a comeback attempt but they were outclassed by their CIS rivals and denied any chance of taking the series down to the last map.
This was the first time in the history of CS:GO that 2 teams from the CIS region were facing off against each other in the grand finals of a tier-one tournament. Gambit are looking in great shape as they walk away with $400,000 and etch their names on the prestigious IEM Katowice 2021 trophy.