The core foundation of any successful team is always made up of consistent fragging power. Flicks and one taps are great for fans visual experience, but elite sides are built out of methodical peaks, looking for micro-advantages in duels and finding one or two kills consistently. The players who take up this mentally taxing and vitally important role are the fragging core. Usually made up of 2-3 players, the fragging core for any side is its bedrock. For Gambit, its core consists of three Kazakhstani’s – Rustem “mou” Tlepov, Abay “HObbit” Khasenov and Dauren “AdreN” Kystauba`yev.
The three players represent the full spectrum of professional experience. AdreN was a star in 1.6, famously leading the all Kazakhstani side k23 to a second place finish at WCG 2005. Mou also played 1.6, but not to the same level of fame and later in about 2009. Hobbit is the rookie with almost no experience on a big LAN stage prior to joining Gambit. Each player has a different take on the game through their different degrees of time playing the game, but each have a similar role and work together in tandem.
The old hand of AdreN forms one-half of the two-man entry rifle squad on T-side and plays a very dynamic, rotation focussed CT-side. Not one for outlandish aggression, AdreN prefers to actively look for duels through superior positioning. Consistently placing himself in positions to throw utility for teammates and trade kills, AdreN is known for being able to win clutch scenarios regardless of the circumstances. His cool and experienced head makes him a rock in high-pressure scenario’s on a big LAN stage and plays a key role in many of captain Zeus’s strategies, executes and rotations.
The youngest player of the squad, and the one with the highest unexplored skill ceiling is Hobbit. Hobbit will often find himself being the most aggressive force on T-sides, charging out of smokes in front of AdreN and looking to bust open the site. He regularly buys the Mac-10 on T-sides to scout out enemy stacks and be the bait for his team in anti-eco’s. He doesn’t play as much of an active role in gaining map control for his team, preferring to set up their peaks so he is alive for the actual execute onto the site. On the other half of the map, he is the site anchor who uses a variety of set-ups with his site partner to catch opponents off-guard.
Mou is the primary AWPer for Gambit and the last member of its fragging core. Mou has decent enough rifling abilities that the expensive purchase of the AWP is not always needed, helping Gambit’s economy in tough CT situations. His AWP style revolves around aggressively looking for map control entry kills and then setting up behind either AdreN or Hobbit to clean up the site. Mou’s shot selection isn’t always the best, but this is countered by his insane ability to flick at short and medium ranges. Mou can be the x-factor for the squad: capable of pushing Gambit over the line, but struggles to bring this out series-to-series.
With their array of skills and comfort in other roles, this three-man core can adjust to the needs of Zeus in any situation. Dosia largely set-up this fragging core, either baiting, throwing flashes or playing spots that the others don’t.
While individually the entire team can boast their role in the collective system, Zeus has to be the one credited for the formidability of his fragging core. He might not have the personnel of his previous side Natus Vincere, yet he does maintain many of Na`Vi’s historic tendencies in his leadership of Gambit. The slowed down methodical T-side map constriction, fast decisive rotations and effective trading. Although the strategies can initially fall apart to unexpected pushes or rushes, over the course of the game, Zeus is very good at making adjustments to counteract them.
They are one of the most entertaining team’s to watch from a strategical perspective – especially on a map like the new Inferno – and are the dark horses for an elite team in the future. With the potential growth in net skill via the development of Hobbit individually, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to predict a continued pattern of top eights and top fours at events for Gambit in the future. This growth would also contribute to the overall strength of one of the best fragging cores in the game.