They were once the number one team in the world, Gambit are trying to reclaim that spot here at IEM Katowice and we take a look at their chances. We also look forward to their tournament journey and see if the odds are in their favour or not.

2021 was a breakout year for this Gambit Esports roster, and as such they chose to stick with the same lineup for the 2022 season. They kicked off the year with Funspark ULTI 2021, winning the event undefeated after a 2-0 win over Entropiq in the finals. Gambit are looking to go back-to-back after earning the trophy at IEM Katowice 2021, but the test of LAN competition looms overhead, threatening to knock them off course.

Although they won it all last year, the Gambit players missed one thing in particular: the crowd. Abai "HObbit" Hasenov spoke with us about his goal to play in front of the Spodek audience:

H0bbit: It's a big pleasure and I'm really proud to come here and to defend our trophy, since the last time we won online. It's a big dream to play Katowice at the Spodek Arena - it was always my dream to play in such a big arena in front of a big crowd and especially in Poland. As I know and as I have seen before, the Poland crowd and the fans are really awesome - the best one in my opinion. The last year was the best for our organization and the best for me. In 2017 I had some good results, but in 2021 we got better results overall.

After day one, however, it's clear that Gambit's journey will be tougher than it first appeared. LAN would prove to be a hurdle too high, and the squad would lose a 2-1 series to an in-form Ninjas in Pyjamas. Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov had a surprisingly poor performance on the Gambit side, finishing the series with a 0.74 rating. For the Ninjas, it was rookie Love "phzy" Smidebrant to step up on the final map, taking control of the server and finishing with an impressive 1.59 rating.

In order to avoid disaster at Katowice, Gambit will need to defeat the Copenhagen Flames tomorrow. The Flames looked great throughout the play-ins, defeating both Fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas without dropping a map, but the formidable Virtus.Pro proved too much for them in the first round of the group stage. Copenhagen have been among the best at this tournament so far, however, and Gambit will need to play at their best to prevent their untimely elimination — a far cry from their Katowice 2021 run.