posted by Smyke,
Gambit Esports is part of the two longest games at the Minor. The first one was in the Upper Bracket against EHOME. The game against xiao8's boys latest 72 minutes and 25 seconds. Also, the match against the other Chinese favourites, Keen Gaming, took more than 70 minutes to find a victorious team.
While Artem 'fng' Barshack and his squad lost the longest game against EHOME they redeemed themselves against Keen Gaming. They beat the Chinese team with 2-0 in the Lower Bracket Finals to play EHOME a second time.
An easy start for the Chinese
Gambit is obviously the biggest surprise of the tournament. A few weeks before the Minor started the CIS quad brought in the new captain fng and Immersion on position four - it was the right call!
The Russian team destroyed the hopes of several favourites in the Romanian capital: they beat Keen Gaming twice and kicked OG in the Lower Bracket.
However, EHOME was the only team that beat the CIS squad. In game one they demonstrated again that they're prepared for fng's ideas. They had the advantage for most of the time by a perfect coordination in team fights. Gambit had to find a new strategy to stop the Chinese team from winning the Minor.
EHOME fights for the Mega Creep comeback
Razor, Anti-Mage, Nature's Prophet, Tiny and Lich - Gambit really went for a strong, aggressive lineup that could destroy the Chinese team in short time. Gambit had an early advantage by ganking them in the right situation. However, EHOME had a good vision throughout the early stage and focused on their Legion to find Gambit's heroes off guard. Only team fights would be a problem in the next stages of the game.
EHOME didn't have a chance against the lineup of Gambit in these fights. The Russian squad utilized them perfectly to push the towers - and even attempted to destroy more barracks on high ground.
Although this team fight was perfectly initiated, EHOME barely defended the barracks on the top lane. Gambit realized that they only can fight high ground after grabbing the Aegis - otherwise Anti-Mage could get stopped with a simple duel by Legion.
A few minutes later Gambit was on the edge to win the game. fng and Co. pushed high ground, destroyed all barracks and were about to do the same to the Ancient.
The Chinese squad didn't give up and succeeded in defending the Ancient barely. Gambit wanted to finish it and pushed the base another time, but this time EHOME was even better prepared:
The Chinese team focused on the biggest threat in Gambit's lineup: killing Anti-Mage was the only opportunity to stop the CIS squad from winning the game. Although Gambit still had a huge advantage, they had to be more careful from that point on - this was not an inevitable victory yet.
In the next fight, EHOME stuck to the plan: everybody concentrated on Nikita 'daxak' Kuzmin, but this time EHOME couldn't kill the carry on time and lost the game. This was the first game throughout the whole tournament that the Chinese favourites lost.
Gambit with the risky Meepo plays
Although Gambit didn't pick Anti-Mage in the third game, everything was focused on daxak again. The Russian carry played Meepo in this game, a hero that is easy to kill, if properly countered.
However, he can be a pain in the ass, if you don't stop him from gaining a level every minute. Bringing in heroes like Luna, Shadowfiend, Jakiro and Tidehunter was the right decision.
This team fight demonstrated perfectly why Meepo had a tough game against EHOME's lineup: although he had the Aegis, he couldn't really utilize his damage during the fight - they killed him too fast. The gap between the two teams grew and EHOME gained the confidence to hunt Gambit's players one by one.
fng had to change his strategy, if he still wanted to win this game with his squad. A strong Chrono by Faceless Void was the perfect initiation to win an important team fight.
However, EHOME didn't lose control in the following minutes. They picked several heroes and surprised Gambit completely. This game winning team fight came out of nothing.
Completely outdrafted thanks to Underlord
The draft went to the favour of EHOME: picking Underlord countered Gambit perfectly. The panel was sure that EHOME won't lose this game - Henrik 'AdmiralBulldog' Ahnberg described it perfectly:
Missing pressure on the lanes was the biggest problem Troels 'syndereN' Nielsen detected for Gambit. The CIS squad couldn't really fight and EHOME abused this. Eight minutes in the game the Chinese squad had a 5k gold lead and killed already six heroes without losing a single one.
The Chinese squad's wards were on point and they invaded the jungle whenever they saw a chance to kill Terrorblade without protection. In situations like this they gave a glimmer of hope to Gambit: overconfident pushes by EHOME were the only way for Gambit to close the gap.
However, EHOME didn't make many mistakes in the following minutes and Gambit had problems to stay on the same level. The game ended after 28:35 minutes and EHOME won the series with 3-1. The Chinese squad is not only the winner of The Bucharest Minor, but also won the last ticket for The Chongqing Major.
This means four Chinese teams will fight in front of the home crowd to win the second Major of the season.
Is China back? Will a Chinese team win the Major?
Photo credit: PGL