The Gatekeepers in CS:GO by Region
In CS:GO we’ve got a few different teams that I’d consider to be gatekeepers. These are teams that borderline a set ranking, in my eyes, and are essentially used as the “bouncers” when it comes to letting any other teams into the contending region. The term gatekeepers is used primarily in sports as shown below:
In boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts, a gatekeeper is a skillful and well-regarded fighter, but one who does not have the popularity or brilliance of a title contender. They are considered to be a cut above most journeymen.
Whilst being a “gatekeeper” side isn’t exactly a bad thing, it does however make you wonder what these sides could do to make that next step, what they need to do to push themselves beyond being “just a gatekeeper”.
Gambit [Hobbit, interz, Ax1Le, sh1ro, nafany]
First on the list is Gambit, formerly known as Gambit Youngsters. This side is an intriguing one to the eye, as they’ve got Hobbit at the helm — a major winner. Since his time on the original Gambit roster he’s had stints with HellRaisers & Winstrike but has also made a change in his playstyle — he is now an IGL. Previously known for his high fragging ability and aggressive style, he’s decided to take more control in this Gambit line-up and is instead sharing his wealth of experience and knowledge to the younger players in the CIS region.
In the last 6 months Gambit have gone from being a team that have been ranked within the top 50 (#48 in May 2020), to now holding the line between the top 20 and 30 (20th). Across those last 6 months however they’ve played a grand total of 68 maps, boasting a win-loss record of 55–13. This is incredible. This is however where we dig further onto this record — when this is changed to facing top 20 opposition, they have a record of 5–4. Their record against teams ranked between 21st and 30th however is 20–7. This is a huge difference, and one of the big reasons why I have them as a gatekeeper side right now. Given a few more months with more experience and playtime, I do think this side will make that jump, but right now they are the best gatekeepers. It’ll be interesting to see their progression in the near future, depending on how many opportunities they get to face top 20 opposition as well.
Mythic [adreN, fl0m, DAVEY, Polen, Keiti]
This one may seem a bit of an odd pick, but I think they honestly fit the definition perfectly. They’re right on the border when it comes to North America’s rankings and are a good test on if a team in North America is ready to take that next step into the big leagues.
A wondrous team full of personalities, former players, and a coach — Mythic are a perfect test for an upcoming side in North America. The effort is still visible on the Mythic players behalves, and this is why I have them pegged as gatekeepers. I don’t imagine there’s a world where we see this team push further than where they are right now, but with the openings in North America appearing more and more lately, I could be proven wrong!
Compared to Gambit, the Mythic core are unlikely to improve astronomically with more playtime, experience, or anything like that — as they already have it. They are the quintessential gatekeeper of North American Counter-Strike.
Team Endpoint (MiGHTYMAX, Surreal, robiin, CRUC1AL, flameZ)
Perhaps more of a gatekeeper for the top 30 mark, rather than the top 20 as Gambit are sat. Team Endpoint have been in and out of the top 30 numerous times in the last few months, and rightly so. A team with experienced players in these parts of the rankings, they’ve been performing well and have perhaps cemented their spot at the 30th position following their qualification for ESL Pro League Season 13.
They’ve managed to beat sides in and around the 21st-40th ranking on HLTV over the last 3 months. This is fantastic, I am however wondering what the limit for this side is — do they hover around here for a while? do they go further than this? do they regress following the success? This is a big question for the UK-based organisation.
I think the aim for the side in the next 6 months would be to stabilise this position that they’re in and try to hold their ground, finding a consistent performance level — rather than the occasional inconsistency we see from them. They’ve had great results against tier 1 opposition, taking maps off Heroic, battling tooth and nail against the likes of G2, North, and Virtus.Pro — but my main concern is that sometimes they have maps where they look completely flat. Their inconsistency as things stand is my main reasoning for putting them in this gatekeeper area. The difference between them and Gambit right now is the consistency. Gambit have the 55–13 record in the last 6 months — Endpoint sit at 45–43 when using their current 5 man roster.
Having sides we can identify as gatekeepers in regions is a good way of understanding how well a side can perform when pushing into the higher level of play. I think these sides listed above are perfect for doing this, as they’ve proven themselves around that top 30 mark in the world, and are consistently looking to break even further into it.
If a team is wanting to push into the top 20, they need to be able to beat Gambit.
If a team is wanting to push into the top 30, they need to be able to beat Team Endpoint.
If a team is wanting to battle with the big teams in North America, Mythic awaits them as the stepping stone.
Maybe 3–6 months from now we see Endpoint take the spot of Gambit, and Gambit finally break through into the top 20 comfortably. Alternatively there is a timeline where Gambit’s young guns are sold to the bigger teams in the CIS region and they’re forced to rebuild.
Only time will tell.