The International 2019 will be stuck into the Gambit Esports members’ minds for a long time, unfortunately not for good reasons.
Gambit made their return to the Dota 2 world at the beginning of 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season when they signed the CIS stack Ferzee, who delivered the big upset in the first Major of the season CIS qualifiers. Back then, they joined Virtus.pro to Kuala Lumpur Major and began a journey that would get them extremely close to fulfilling any professional Dota 2 player dream: play on The International stage. Along the road they brought in an experienced captain and support player, Artsiom “fng” Barshack, to help them power through the season. The rest of the roster stayed untouched for the whole season, both Andrey “Afoninje” Afonin and coach Anatoly “Boo!k” Ivanov staying on the team from the very beginning to the Ferzee stack end of TI9 regional qualifiers.
Fast forward to the last Major on the DPC schedule, Gambit were in need of a top eight finish at EPICENTER, a tournament held on their home turf in Moscow, Russia. However, they had to fight against Alliance who also needed a top 8 finish and the Europeans prevailed on that day in the CSKA Arena, leaving Gambit with no other choice to fulfil their season goal than to go through the CIS regional qualifiers for TI9.
This year, the regional qualifiers for TI offered only one ticket for each region, a change that put a whole new kind of pressure for the teams that didn’t make it in the top 12 DPC rankings. Gambit were regarded as the main favorites to claim the CIS qualifier slot. The first day in the qualifiers went good for them, finishing with 3 victories and one loss. On the second day, though they entered the battle with a conflict sparked between their members and on the very first game, Afoninje let the emotions get the best of him and raged quit after getting caught and killed during a split push maneuver. From there on, the day went from bad to worse for the team, as they couldn’t win a single game and got eliminated in the qualifiers group stage.
Gambit Esport were fast to release a statement back then and ensured their fans that Afoninje will be “subject of disciplinary actions.” A month later, the organization announced his release from the roster along with the team coach. No other comments were made.
Most likely, the Gambit Esports line-up for the new season will be announced sometime after The International 2019.