No matches

Gambit Esports’ captain Artsiom “fng” Barshack sat down with right after he returned from ESL One Katowice 2019, where he and his team finished second after a hard 0-3 defeat to Team Secret.

Nonetheless, Gambit proved to be a really tough contender for the second part of the season. The CIS squad finished second in their group and had an impressive playoffs run where only Secret managed to best them. In his interview with the Russian outlet, Fng says that his goal was to make it top three in Katowice, so finishing as runners up is already a very good result for Gambit. “I knew from the beginning that it will be difficult to play against Secret, but I also thought that Fnatic, NiP and OG could take a win from us,” he said.

Asked about what went wrong in their matches with Team Secret, Fng had a few things to point out. “The Grand Finals result was expected,“ he bluntly said and explained pretty much everything step by step: “There were a lot of problems. Starting with the laning stage, the timings for towers push, the way we pressured them and how they reacted and how they made their rotations on the map, and of course the drafts.”

The drafts:

photo credits: ESL One

“In the group stage we decided to take Ursa and Nyx if they pick Lifestealer. But then, they had the option to counter pick us too. They knew that Nyx will be in a support position so they picked heroes that were good against our strategy. Puppey likes to trap you like that sometimes. In the playoffs, Secret began to roll even harder. They started to play heroes that are good on this patch – Viper in particular. We also knew that Viper is potentially a cool hero this patch. It was obvious from the MDL matches, but because we didn’t have the time to practice with the hero and understand whether it suits us or not, we chose to ignore it. After the first series with Secret in the playoffs we realized that Viper is a real problem.

So, we had to come up with something else for the grand finals. In the end we realized that there is no point in picking the same heroes and play the same things they already saw from us through the entire event. We dropped everything that we played in the tournament, we abandoned every draft we previously played and we prepared three completely new ones. Funny thing: we played 15 different heroes in the grand finals. But, as I said it before, Secret is a very strong team and you need to be strong in all aspects to defeat them. Starting from drafts, to lanings, to team fights, solutions for mid-game strategies, the late game and so on.”

Juggernaut and Hand of Midas build

In the second game of the grand finals, Gambit had Nikita “Daxak” Kuzmin on Juggernaut and he went straight for a Hand of Midas into Manta Style and skipped the more common Battle Fury build. Asked about that particular build decision Fng explained:

“Midas on Juggernaut is one of the best items right now because Battle Fury itself has become weaker: it costs 4000 gold and you still need to farm after buying it. After buying a Midas, you can buy a Yasha for example, and then the hero turns out to be a tempo controller, not a greedy core who needs to sit and farm. Therefore, we like Midas on Juggernaut very much.”

photo credits: ESL One

The StarLadder ImbaTV Minor

Gambit Esports will travel next week to the SLI Minor to fight for the last ticket to the Major. The challenge it’s not something new for them as in January this year they had a rather similar path when they played in the Bucharest Minor for a ticket to the Chongqing Major. Back then it was EHOME who stole the last slot by defeating Gambit in the tournament grand finals. This time there will be two Chinese teams fighting for the DreamLeague Seasons 11 Major slot and once again OG, a team which Fng seems to have figure out in all details. However, when asked about who does he thinks it’s biggest threat for his team in Kiev, Fng said that he hasn’t looked yet at who is playing in the Minor. “We just arrived from ESL yesterday and this is our first day off in a long time” he explained.

Nonetheless, Fng expects that there will be a Chinese team showing up strong at the Minor. “I think Vici Gaming are a potential threat and potentially OG […] It’s always very difficult to evaluate the Chinese teams, but I would say that us, VG and OG should be in the top four at the Minor.”

Plans for the rest of the season

“Obviously, qualifying for TI is the main goal for any team, not just for us. Right now everyone on the team wants to play in all the tournaments and we want to win them all,” Fng said, but also touched on the potential burnout if they continue to play everywhere. “Two-three years ago I wasn’t worried because I was younger and I wanted to go everywhere and play in every tournament, but now there is this fear of burnout. When you gain a little bit more experience you really start to think about the need for more rest, you need to devote more time to some other things like your health or the fact that you need to be home more often.  The burnout problem is there, but you are consciously taking this risk.”

Fng and Gambit Esports will start their StarLadder ImbaTV Minor run on the 7th of March at the Cybersport Arena from Kiev, Ukraine. The other seven teams looking to get their hands on the trophy are: OG, Royal Never Give Up, Vici Gaming, Flying Penguins, Team Odd, Boom ID and Old but Gold. The tournament is one of the few Minors of this season held in front of a live audience and for those interested to support their favorite team from the arena, the tickets for the SLI Minor can be purchased via

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