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Na’Vi Crush Gambit to win DreamHack Masters Spring

Zakaria Almughrabi

DreamHack Masters Spring has come to a close. The all-CIS Grand Finals between Gambit Esports and Natus Vincere has ended in a dominant upset. Na’Vi swept Gambit 3-0 to earn their first DreamHack Masters trophy. This victory also marks Na’Vi’s first win against their regional rivals this year.

NaVi win DreamHack Masters Spring

Na'Vi have earned the DreamHack Masters Spring trophy after demolishing Gambit in the Grand FInals 3-0. (Image Credit DreamHack)

An Early Clash

Na’Vi and Gambit first met at DreamHack Masters Spring in the Group A Finals. In that match, Gambit earned a 2-1 victory after dropping map one. Young star Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov had a great showing, going 56-34 with a 1.26 rating. Overall, Gambit had three players earn a rating of 1.00 or higher. Only Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev hit that mark for Na’Vi. It was clear that the rest of the squad would need to step up for Na’Vi to have a chance at the championship.

From there, Gambit were able to easily beat G2 Esports in the Semifinals to book yet another Grand Finals appearance. Meanwhile, Na’Vi went the full three maps against FURIA Esports before matching up against Heroic. After the Danish squad took map one, it seemed like yet another Grand Final between Gambit and Heroic was on the cards. Instead, s1mple was able to pull out another hard carry performance.

S1mple earned a massive 87-54 K-D with 102 ADR over three maps which included 30 bombs on Nuke and Inferno. Having one of, if not the best player in the world on your team can give these kinds of wins. However, Na’Vi could be much more dominant if s1mple’s teammates could match him.

The Rematch

The Grand Finals were set for a rematch between Gambit and Na’Vi. These two teams had already played three times so far in 2021 with Gambit taking every match. While Na’Vi’s current form had promise, Gambit were still the expected favorites in a potentially close match. Instead, Na’Vi pulled out all the stops.

Map one was Gambit’s Overpass pick. The pistol went to Na’Vi which they used to take an early lead. Gambit were struggling to get on the board from the T side as they got shut down on repeat. The home team finally clawed back some rounds at the end of the half, but they were still at a 5-10 deficit. Na’Vi on the other hand had no problems getting things going. Their offense began with yet another pistol round win. S1mple was leading the way yet again, but this time he had reliable backup. Four Na’Vi players ended map one with a rating of 1.24 or higher. Their powerful play across the board resulted in a 16-7 map win.

Na’Vi followed up that sucker punch with their favorite Dust2 pick. Gamit would narrowly win their first pistol round of the match on CT side, but it was the only winning they did for a while. Na’Vi forced up and tore through Gambit’s defense to swing the economy in their favor. Round after round, s1mple and Denis “electronic” Sharipov crushed Gambit wherever they went. The duo was nearly unstoppable, racking up a total of 40 kills and 258.2 ADR in the first half alone. A 12-3 lead at the break was the result.

Gambit did manage to make the score line respectable. They earned their biggest win streak of the match to this point after a second consecutive pistol round win. Nine of the first 11 rounds of the second half went in their favor, bringing the score to a close 12-14. However, Na’Vi wouldn’t let them complete their miracle comeback. Two rounds later, Na’Vi put themselves on tournament point with a 16-12 victory.

The signs of life that Gambit showed on Dust2 gave hope that they had finally showed up. If they wanted to keep their chances at DreamHack Masters Spring alive, winning on their Train pick was a necessity. Yet another pistol round win started them off strong. Na’Vi’s initial buy rounds were successful, bringing the score back to even. A mid-half economy war ensued with Gambit eventually coming out the winners. Gambit took five of the last six rounds to earn a 9-6 lead, their biggest of the match.

After winning their CT pistol round as well, Gambit had a great chance to push ahead towards a map victory. Instead, Na’Vi once again pulled the rug out from under them with a fast A site explosion. Na’Vi’s coordinated A site executions were too much for Gambit to handle. The score quickly pulled back to even as Gambit struggled to find an answer. Their biggest hope was Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov who was putting up big numbers and clutch plays.

Despite Hobbit’s best efforts, Gambit kept falling further and further behind. Na’Vi was running on all cylinders as they won five of the final six rounds to secure the 16-12 win and the DreamHack Masters Spring trophy.

This victory marks Na’Vi’s first trophy since January. With the recent rise of more CIS squads into the top ranks of Counter-Strike, it was easy to forget how truly dominant Na’Vi could be when more than just s1mple shows up to the sever. Na’Vi had their fair share of issues and bad results in the past few months. However, if this squad keeps their level of play consistent, they could have their best year ever.

As for Gambit, they shouldn’t beat themselves up too much over the loss. While they have fallen just short at two consecutive S Tier events, it cannot be underestimated how good this team is to have made all of these Grand Finals in a row. A couple of their star players had a bad day at the worst time which can happen. They should keep their heads up and keep moving forward.

Both Na’Vi and Gambit will appear next at the EPIC CIS League Spring starting on May 12 with precious RMR points on the line.