This is part of “Into the Invitational“, a series about the teams competing at the ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational. In this series, we’ll look at each team’s DPC season, their TI9 campaign, and any subsequent roster changes to see how they match up before they clash on December 20-22 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

2018-2019 season

Gambit Esports started the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) with a lineup of familiar names in the CIS Dota scene, namely Nikita “Daxak” Kuzmin, Andrey “Afoninje” Afonin, Vasily “AfterLife” Shiskin, Alexander “Immersion” Hmelevskoy, and Artiom “fng” Barshack.

The team had a handful of second-place finishes at The Bucharest Minor, ESL One Katowice 2019, and StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 1, which hinted at a promising future, however, Gambit bombed out of the CIS Qualifier for The International 2019, only managing a fifth-place finish, which prompted a huge change of direction for the team in the ensuing roster shuffle.


For the 2019-2020 DPC only team captain, fng, remained on Gambit’s active roster, with Afoninje and Immersion departing, while Daxak and AfterLife were moved to the bench.

In their stead, Gambit signed a core of talented yet relatively unknown players in Kiyalbek “dream`” Tayirov, Danil “gpk” Skutin, and Danial “XSvamp1Re” Alibaev — with veteran CIS offlaner Maxim “Shachlo” Abramovskikh rounding out the lineup.

Gambit Esports roster for the ONE Esports Dota 2 Invitational:

  • (1) Kiyalbek “dream`” Tayirov
  • (2) Danil “gpk” Skutin
  • (3) Maxim “Shachlo” Abramovskikh
  • (4) Danial “XSvamp1Re” Alibaev
  • (5) Artiom “fng” Barshack

The new Gambit roster got off to a great start, as the team dominated the CIS Qualifier for the MDL Chengdu Major, losing only two games in the process and qualifying over more favored teams in and Natus Vincere.

The team then followed that up with an impressive showing at ESL One Hamburg 2019, finishing in second place behind a surging TNC Predator. That included victories over more favored teams in Vici Gaming and Alliance, as well as forcing the grand finals against TNC to a game five despite being swept in their previous matchup.

If this new Gambit squad can prove themselves on the big stage against the best teams in the world at the ONE Esports Dota 2 Singapore World Pro Invitational, look out for them to be one of the favorites to qualify for TI10 from the CIS region.

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