Up-And-Coming Squad Looks To Break Out At This Weekend's Big Dota 2 Tournament

Gambit Esports, a Russian esports organization based in the UK, has never been known for its prowess in Valve’s strategy game Dota 2, but this weekend that might change as the newcomers continue continues marching toward the finals at ESL One Katowice 2019 in Poland.

Led by relative veteran Artsiom “fng” Barshack from Belarus, the squad of early twenty-somethings managed to climb into the top two during the group stage and, even more impressively, defeated both OG and Fnatic. The Gambit Esports roster, which only began forming last fall, is now set to take on Team Secret in the upper bracket finals. Team Secret happens to be the only other team at Katowice that Gambit has struggled against thus far. Dota 2, like a lot of other games, is usually dominated by the same household names year in and year out, so it’s always exciting to see fresh faces make a bid to jump to the next level.

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If Gambit Esports is able to pull it out, it would mark the organization’s biggest Dota 2 win since it formed. To do that, though, they may even have to go through Team Secret twice because of the tournament’s lower bracket. Since Team Secret is one of Dota 2’s best teams when they’re in form and they just came off a first-place finish at last month’s The Chongqing Major, Gambit Esports’ path ahead won’t be easy.

Gambit Esports will take on Team Secret at 9:50 a.m. ET on Saturday. The event’s grand finals, meanwhile, are scheduled to begin on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. You can watch all of the remaining matches streaming on Twitch.

Elsewhere, fans of the fighting game community are in for a treat with both the Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament at Frostbite and also the multi-game event Winter Brawl both going on this weekend. Frostbite’s full schedule is available here with the North America vs. Japan crew battles at 10:00 p.m. Saturday night, followed on Sunday by top eight at 5:00 p.m. The main stage will be streamed over on Unrivaled Tournaments’ Twitch channel.

At Winter Brawl, the action starts on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. with Soul Calibur VI. The top eight for that game gets underway on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. The complete schedule and list of streams for all of the other games, including Tekken 7 and Dragon Ball FighterZ, is available here.

Lastly, of course, you can catch the second week of OWL matches resume over on the Overwatch Twitch channel tonight at 7:00 p.m. when Atlanta Reign takes on Toronto Defiant. The full schedule of the rest of the matches is here, though honestly, after the Philadelphia Fusion’s humiliating 2-1 loss to Florida Mayhem last night, I’m trying not to think about it.

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Ethan Gach

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com