Gambit Esports took down Immortals to win the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive PGL Kraków Major Championship title on Sunday in Kraków, Poland.
It was Gambit's first major victory and could be the beginning of better things to come. Gambit Esports only dropped two maps throughout the entire tournament and won the grand finals with only two players boasting a positive kill/death ratio. Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko, after three tries with different teams, secured his first major victory.
It was a battle of different identities. Immortals rode a balanced offense with a rolodex of options for top fraggers, while Gambit Esports played behind its best fraggers, Rusterm "mou" Telepov and Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev. The biggest difference between the two teams was strategy. Gambit Esports prioritized positioning to put the key players and guns at an advantage, and Immortals' individual skill allowed the Brazilians to rush out for firefights or take unique buys like constant double AWP setups.
Something had to give, and the grand finals provided the best stage to see it all unfold.
The first two maps came down to the individual skill and positioning of the AWP'ers. Immortals destroyed Gambit Esports on Cobblestone behind the hawk eye of Henrique "HEN1" Teles' 12 sniper kills. On Train, mou's 16 AWP kills on Train propelled Gambit Esports. Both players found success in different ways; Immortals took an aggressive stance in a blowout, while Gambit Esports took up punishing defensive positions for multiple clutch round victories.
The decisive map, Inferno, was the perfect location for these two styles of Counter-Strike teams. It's a map that rewards both executes and aggressive play.
Gambit Esports took the reins first and won nine out of the first 10 rounds. Gambit punished gambles by Imortals with force-buys and rushes on the banana of the map behind the scopes of AdreN and Abay "HObbit" Khasenov.
The stellar defensive positioning of AdreN and mou on the AWP propelled Gambit Esports to a dominating 11-4 first half on the CT-side.
But Immortals rolled the first four rounds on its CT-side after a crucial and necessary pistol win to bring the score to a manageable 11-8 margin. Behind the play of Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe and Lucas "steel" Lopes, Immortals' retakes on the Gambit Esports' banana executes proved to be too strong.
Gambit Esports needed a hero round by HObbit and a risky force-buy in another round to finally break the economy and momentum of Immortals and push to a comfortable 14-9 advantage. HObbit's heroics would again play a part. With the score 14-10, and Immortals on the verge of economic collapse, HObbit clutched it out against two opponents and provided the killing blow to the final map. After that, it was an academic final round with a fast banana execute and plant to finish the tournament.