Gambit Esports faced off against Kru Esports in a VCT Champions Semi-Final match that will live long in the memory of many Valorant fans.
The second semi-final of the VCT Champions saw high-flying Kru Esports take on the ever-resilient Gambit Esports. Kru were the talk of the town, especially after the quarter-final win over Fnatic. On the other hand, Gambit Esports won the Berlin Masters in September, and had not dropped a map ahead of this semi-final. Fans expected a clash, but five sets of overtime was beyond anyone’s expectations.
Map 1: Gambit Unlock Kru On Breeze
Things got interesting in this series right off the bat with Gambit picking Breeze. This was a map that we hadn’t seen Kru play in a very long time. Add on the fact that keznitDeus was playing as Cypher, a champion that he has never used in an official match, and we had the potential for some interesting storylines.
Kru got off to a good start with three very dominant opening rounds of defence on Breeze. Gambit traded back with a few of their own. But Kru just seemed to be in complete control of things on the defensive point of view, as they went into halftime with an 8 – 4 lead.
Though keznit may have had the bulk of the highlights in the first half, it was Nagzet who surprised many with his performance as he had been relatively quiet in a few of Kru’s matches in the tournament thus far.
Gambit, as one might expect, were not as fazed by this deficit as you might have thought, as they won the second pistol round with relative ease. Despite an almost improbable 1v5 clutch from the side of keznit. From that point on the Russian team put on a defensive clinic; showing us all why they were the favourites going into this match.
From being down 8 -4, Gambit managed to win nine rounds in a row to complete yet another comeback. Taking Breeze 13 – 8 and giving themselves a 1 – 0 lead in the series.
Map 2: Mazino Goes Nuts on Ascent
Moving on to Ascent for map 2, we saw yet another interesting team composition. This time coming from Gambit Esports. In a surprising turn of events, Gambit opted not to select a duelist champion, and instead went with two supports in Sage and Skye. It was an odd move for sure, but Kru did not seem to troubled by this.
Kru got off to another good start as they won the opening two rounds. Gambit answered back with a round win of their own. For a while after both teams started to trade pairs of rounds, with Kru managing to hold onto a slim lead at 7 -5 going into halftime. But given how they had performed on their defense on Breeze, there was hope that Kru might be able to get themselves back into the match.
Gambit were eager to not let that happen as they opened the second half with two rounds to tie the series up at 7 – 7. But unlike on map 1, Kru were not having any of it. And thanks to a few masterful moments from Mazino and his trusty Odin, Kru managed to shut out their EU opponents; winning Ascent 13 – 7 and tying the series up at 1 – 1. Things were once again poised to get interesting. But no one could have predicted what was about to unfold.
Map 3: The Chronicles of Gambit Continued On Bind
The tension was palpable from both sides as we headed to Bind for the third and final map of the series. No one really knew what to expect as neither team had really played Bind much thus far at Champions. However, Kru did currently hold a 10 match winning streak on this map.
Given how they had performed in map 2, it seemed like Kru might have a chance at yet another upset in this tournament. And that certainly seemed to be the case as they opened the first half with four very commanding round wins in a row on defense.
Gambit responded with a round of their own, but Kru continued to repel them as they reinforced their already commanding 7 – 1 lead. Though Gambit were able to get three more rounds, they were ultimately unable to do much to stop Kru from taking an 8 – 4 lead into halftime.
Gambit looked out of sorts going into halftime. Though they had made several second-half comebacks in the past, this one seemed almost out of reach. Especially after Kru managed to win the opening two rounds of the half to extend their lead to 10 – 4. Things were looking dire for Gambit.
But seemingly out of nowhere, Gambit kicked things into high gear. And thanks to the efforts of nAts and especially Chronicle, Gambit pulled off a miracle as they proceeded to win five rounds in a row; closing the gap on Kru’s lead at 10 – 9.
Though the Kru players were noticeably rattled by this sudden surge of pressure from Gambit, they did manage to split a couple more rounds; arriving at match point with a 12 – 10 lead. But again, Gambit finally looked like the team that everyone expected to see at this tournament. And after an insane ace from Chronicle, Gambit managed to finally catch up to Kru; forcing the map into overtime.
Gambit Triumph In Overtime
Gambit had really turned a corner in the second half of Bind. Neither Kru, nor everyone watching the match, could quite believe what was going on. Gambit had managed to overcome a 10 – 4 deficit to tie the game 12 – 12 to take the map into overtime.
Overtime got going with a very hectic, and very close first round. One that came down to a tense 1v1 between keznit and D3ffo which saw Gambit take the lead for the first time on this map. Kru were not ready to throw in the towel however, as they answered back with a strong offence of their own; sending the game into Second-Overtime.
The LATAM team followed this up with a resolute win on their defense, but this time it was Gambit who managed to hold their nerves as they forced the map into Third-Overtime. Neither one of these teams was giving the other an inch, as they traded rounds once more to bring up a Fourth set of overtime rounds.
Many were starting to wonder if we would ever see a winner in this match. Both teams seemed to be doing a good job of keeping their composure. But, as the map headed into a Fifth-Overtime set, the time had finally come for the match to end. It was a hard fought battle between both teams, but in the end it was Gambit Esports who managed to clutch up to win Bind 18 – 16 to take the series 2 – 1.
This was without a doubt one of, if not the best, game of Valorant to have ever been played so far. Especially on Bind. Both teams came in full of confidence and it showed throughout the series. It felt more like a Grand Final than a Semi-Final matchup. And honestly many are probably wishing that this had been the Grand Final matchup.
Though Kru had established pretty commanding leads across all three maps with their constant aggression, it seemed they ultimately were unable to sustain this pressure. But they were outstanding on their defenses and presented Gambit with a whole host of problems throughout the match.
However, in the end Gambit Esports remind us all why they were a strong favorite to win VCT Champions. Though they struggled to deal with Kru’s aggression in various stages of the match, they showed that when the chips were down they were more than capable of grinding out a win.
Chronicle was outstanding all match long and provided many key moments which ultimately tipped the series in his teams’ favor. A performance which has marked him as a potential MVP candidate for Valorant Champions. And we cannot wait to see if he produces more moments of brilliance in the final.
With this monumental win Gambit Esports will be moving on to face Acend in the VCT Champions Grand Final. Which will be taking place on December 12, at 6:30 pm CET/10:30 am EST.
But it is with heavy heart that we all must say goodbye to Kru Esports at Champions. They went further in this tournament than anyone ever expected them to, but they have well and truly earned respect and admiration from everyone in the Valorant community. We cannot wait to see this team in action again!