Reigning CS:GO Major Champions Gambit Esports Lose Their Captain

Published: Aug 9, 2017 - Last Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Esports fans were hit with shocking news today. The world’s top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team is parting ways with its captain and coach.

Team captain Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko will be leaving Gambit Esports mere weeks after leading the team to major championship glory. Gambit coach Mikhaylo “Kane” Blagin is also departing. The pair will join Natus Vincere, Teslenko’s former team for several years prior to joining Gambit.

Gambit’s success wasn’t enough

Teslenko joined Gambit Esports in October 2016 and immediately whipped the team into shape, pulling the squad up the world rankings and into contendership. That run came to a head at July’s PGL Major Krakow. Gambit overcame the best CS:GO teams to take the title, but the achievement wasn’t enough to stave off internal issues.

In an interview with HLTV, Teslenko revealed his teammates had decided to axe Blagin without consulting him. Feeling his authority had been irretrievably undermined, Teslenko chose to move on without knowing what his future held.

It turned out that his future was rooted in his past.

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Natus Vincere had kicked Teslenko to the curb prior to his joining Gambit. In spite of nearly seven years with the team, the team decided Teslenko no longer had the talent required to justify his spot on the roster. Natus Vincere has been largely ineffective since despite one of the most talented rosters in CS:GO. The leadership void left by Teslenko couldn’t be filled, and now the organization is trying to right past wrongs.

What this means for Na`Vi and Gambit

The move’s implications are difficult to overstate. Teslenko had led Gambit to becoming a major force on the international stage. The team will now have move on without Teslenko while avoiding the rudderless fate that awaited Natus Vincere.

For Na`Vi, the move could portend a return to glory. Having once gone as far as the finals of a CS:GO major, the squad has fallen on hard times. Teslenko’s return to the captain’s chair will allow Denis “seized” Kostin to step back from a leadership role he publicly bemoaned.

With bright talents such as Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Egor “flamie” Vasilyev, Natus Vincere stand primed to shake up the odds at the next big event. Meanwhile, Gambit will head into the DreamHack Masters Malmo with an uncertain future.

Jared Wynne

Since: July 24, 2017

Jared Wynne has spent more than a decade working in the esports industry as a writer and consultant. His work on esports has been featured by a variety of publications and he has helped to build multiple media operations in the space.

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