February 4, 2020
Gambit Esports has benched it Dota 2 wunderkind mid laner Danil “gpk” Skutin due to the player’s refusal to attend the team’s boot camp.
While Gambit will be missing out on gpk’s talents during the ESL One Major Los Angeles qualifiers, the organization has turned to the journeyman Rostislav “fn” Lozovoi as its stand-in.
Despite Gambit’s mediocre results throughout the 2019-20 Dota Pro Circuit season, gpk has remained a consistent threat to any team he faces. The budding superstar was recruited from Vega Squadron after his phenomenal run during The International 2019 qualifiers.
Unfortunately for Gambit, his string of impressive performances hasn’t escaped the eyes of others. Virtus Pro has reportedly swooped in and poached the youngster and Natus Vincere’s Bakyt “Zayac” Emilzhanov for themselves. While Zayac’s transfer has been recently confirmed, gpk’s future remains in flux.
The CIS region has been largely disappointing this season. Four separate teams—Team Spirit, Gambit, VP, and Na’Vi—have made it to the two previous Majors. But none of them have managed to win a series during the main event, culminating in bottom-half finishes for every organization.
While this is likely good news for VP’s future, their predatory actions have incensed the community and the CIS scene. Na’Vi’s CEO, Yevhen Zolotarov, released a video discussing Zayac’s situation and how VP helped him circumvent gray areas in his contract.
Though VP was successful with Zayac’s transfer, it seems that gpk’s hurdles will be more difficult to navigate. Gambit specifically mentions that the young mid laner is contractually obligated to the team until 2021.
VP has since called for Zaur “Cooman” Shakhmurzaev as a stand-in on the team. This likely implies that Cooman is a temporary stop-gap for the qualifiers while the org continues to pursue gpk and tries to persuade Gambit to release the player.
VP’s desperate measures can be chalked up to the pressure of their previous dynasty. The organization was the king of the region for three years, winning multiple Majors and proving themselves to be the top dog in CIS. After multiple disappointing results at TIs, however, the organization saw it fit to let some of their players go and retool by grabbing inexperienced pubstars in Egor “epileptick1d” Grigorenko and Vitalie “Save-” Melnic
In the process, this means that epileptick1d and Save- will likely fall to the wayside despite having little time to prove themselves. VP will “disclose [the organization’s] future with them shortly.”
Gambit’s new-look squad, along with VP and Na’Vi, will debut at the Major’s closed CIS qualifiers on Feb. 9.