The CIS region (or Commonwealth of Independent States) has famously struggled in CS:GO, generously featuring only one team with any real chance of winning international tournaments. This has all changed with the emergence of Gambit Gaming and Flipsid3 Tactics as top contenders at events alongside Natus Vincere. Na’Vi are no longer the only source of pride for the CIS region.
In 2016, Natus Vincere was a top tier team, consistently placing 1st or 2nd in most of the tournaments they attended. Once again, with a revamped roster Na’Vi are poised as the dark horses to win the 2017 ELEAGUE Major in Fox Theatre over the likes of heavyweights Astralis and Virtus.Pro.
All things considered, the ELEAGUE Major is potentially the biggest tournament in the eSports’ history and whichever team wins will be cemented in CS:GO history. The rise of the CIS region has shone the spotlight on the independent states to take home the prize.
Gambit Gaming has overhauled their roster with superb pickups, acquiring Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko and Abay “HObbit” Khasenov, who is loaned out from Tengri. Before adding Zeus, Gambit relied on a pug style with little to no structure. Now Gambit is a structured team that has assembled an impressive resume, defeating North, GODSENT and FaZe Clan at the ELEAGUE Major.
Many have been surprised by the performance of Gambit Gaming this past year. With the addition of legendary in-game leader Zeus from Na’Vi, Gambit has been on a tear since winning DreamHack Winter 2016. Alongside Na’Vi in the ELEAGUE Major is Gambit from the CIS region, similarly looking to show their dominance in the CS:GO scene.
Flipsid3 Tactics, a legend team for the ELEAGUE major, showed great promise but ultimately fell short in the group stages. Flipsid3 have propelled themselves to a borderline tier one “European” CS:GO team, with similarly impressive showings in alongside the other CIS teams, winning DreamHack Leipzig versus the newly formed German roster, BIG.
Roster changes have been a regular occurrence for CIS teams as they try out new talent and Flipsid3 are certainly no exception to that rule. The squad added Denis “electronic” Sharipov for some much needed firepower, injected some youth talent into the roster to support the team’s veterans.
CIS teams boast some of the scene’s most experienced players in the likes of Yegor “markeloff” Markelov, Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev and Zeus, developing an interesting dynamic as veterans who have built a system guiding young guns to victory.
Each of these players hail from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakstan and Slovakia who have now formed dominant CS:GO teams; these three teams have placed consistently at international tournaments and have started to upset top tier rivals. There’s no guarantee that these teams will win tournaments, but they are not to be taken lightly – 2017 will mark the rise of the CIS region.