Gambit nAts spoke on the decision to put Sheydos on Kay-O for Icebox, and flexing off Sentinel on Breeze to let Chronicle step up on Chamber.
In the opening match of the EMEA Challengers Group Stages, the 2021 VCT Champion runner-ups, Gambit, returned to their dominant form against Team Liquid. The 2-0 series win was convincing and not only because they managed to limit Liquid's playmakers. It showed Gambit's world class versatility and how it's not reliant on one player to work. And a key part of Gambit's victory was Chronicle.
Gambit's Chronicle proving himself
After Gambit narrowly lost out on a Champions trophy by one map, Timofey "Chronicle" Khromov had been considered by most to have arrived on a world scale. He ascended the player rankings in 2021, and after an incredibly strong performance against Liquid to begin groups, the discussion of him as the world's best has already begun.
Chronicle's performance vs Team Liquid at EMEA Challengers: Stage 1 Group Stages vs Team Liquid
Agents Played: Viper, Chamber
- ACS: 309
- K/D: 2.09
- ADR: 186
- KAST%: 79%
Entering the Team Liquid series, many theorized main Sentinel player Ayaz "nAts" Akhmetshin would be playing the Chamber. Instead, Chronicle selected the French agent, and showed innovative play that we've yet to see, scoring him 28-kills on Breeze.
Furthermore, Chronicle on Chamber allows nAts to stick on Viper for maps like Breeze. It's not only a comfort pick for Gambit, but a luxury, opening the doors for coach Andrey "Engh" Sholokhov compositions.
"So about Breeze, actually, we just left me on Viper because I have a lot of experience on that agent, on this map. And because of that we just think that maybe Chronicle can maybe play that agent. He's playing very good on that sentinel. And I like how he's playing on that agent, to be honest"
The composition difference
On the Team Liquid side, unlike Gambit, coach Connor "Sliggy" Blomfield is more limited in terms of agent pool. The compositions today were head scratchers from Liquid. Sliggy ran star Duelist Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom on Skye for Breeze and opted not to use the Jett on either map.
Gambit took advantage of the compositional differences, using the lack of mobility to take up aggressive spaces. Bogdan "Sheydos" Naumov, who played his first VCT map ever on Kay-O, got good value out of suppression blade and made taking map control extremely difficult for Liquid
"I was playing Viper and other agents. He was playing other agents as well and we decided that that pick is going to be the most comfortable for all of us," said nAts on the decision to put Sheydos on Kay-O. "So, we decided to pick it and play. T-side was pretty good. I don't know what happened on CT side but T-side was very, very good"
Gambit's future outlook
Gambit made a statement against Liquid. On paper, Liquid looks to be the second best team in the group, and Gambit made quick work of them, not letting it get to a decider map three.
Looking ahead for Gambit, it will be interesting to see whether or not we see nAts on the Chamber moving forward. Teams preparing for Gambit will have to consider all the different possibilities now and that's a terrifying thought.
As for nAts, with his trademark grin, is just happy to get a win
"First game of the new year, first win, so very good. I hope it's going to be the same in the other four games and we qualify in first place. We'll see. I'm very happy right now."