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Gambit Esports’ VALORANT roster to compete as independent team ‘M3 Champions’ in VCT 2022

As Russian esports organizations have been made unable to compete in the VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 circuit due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, all-Russian esports organization Gambit Esports, the only all-Russian team in the VCT Challengers EMEA, has announced that it would let its roster compete under the name M3 Champions. Other teams that are affected by the conflict are Natus Vincere and Guild Esports.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, previously forced Riot Games to postpone the VCT EMEA tour. Earlier, Riot announced on Twitter on February 25 that:

“After careful consideration, we have decided to postpone VCT EMEA Week 3 games. Our community’s welfare is integral to us and at this time, our number one priority is to support the players, casters, staff and fans affected by the escalating crisis in Ukraine.

“We will provide an update on the new schedule as soon as we can. In the meantime, please keep an eye on our social channels for further updates.”

Gambit Esports is the current World Vice-Champions and winner of VCT Masters Stage 3: Berlin. The roster comprises Igor “Redgar” Vlasov, Bogdan “sheydos” Naumov, Timofey “Chronicle” Khromov, Nikita “d3ffo” Sudakov, and Ayaz “nAts” Akhmetshin. Redgar is expected to continue leading the team through the remainder of Stage 1 Challengers.

Gambit Esports on this decision

The organization announced the decision on social media yesterday.

“This continues to be a very difficult time for everyone, not least for all of us with family and friends living in Ukraine,” Gambit Esports wrote. “During this time, esports cаn continue to serve fаns from а vаriety of countries аnd cultures – аnd we sincerely hope tournаments continue to tаke plаce аnd plаyers focus on competition аnd sportsmаnship.

“We’ve therefore taken the division to empower our players, Redgar, Chronicle, d3ffo, Sheydos, and nAts, to take part in the upcoming VCT competition as an independent team. We wish them and all other players luck in the competition and thank the fans for their continued support of the roster.

VCT seemed to have accepted the roster’s decision and given the green light for the team to continue competing under a different name after it severed ties with its Russian background, saying:

“Gambit has made the decision to allow individual players to continue in the VCT competition as an independent team.

“Starting Wednesday March 16, the players will compete under the ”M3 Champions” name and all of their postponed matches will be scheduled for the upcoming days.”

Gambit Esports has yet to reveal any detail surrounding whether the roster will rejoin the organization in the future. M3 Cahmpions’ game against NAVI, then, is expected to be held on March 16 after the previous schedule of March 5 was deleted. After facing NAVI, the team will play against BIG on Mаrch 17 аnd LDN on Mаrch 18.

Virtus.pro says cancel culture leads to ESL Pro League ban

Russian CS:GO team Virtus.pro is also affected by the Ukraine crisis. The ESL has announced that Russian teams would be prohibited from competing in ESL Pro League. Virtus.pro responded to the ban by blaming the “cancel culture”.

“ESL refuses to communicate with the club management, preferring to speak directly to the players,” Virtus.pro said. “We are facing a prime example of the ‘cancel culture’.

“However, in this case, there are no ultimatums that are supposed to push us towards certain actions. That’s why we won’t respond to this aggression with aggression of our own by forbidding our players from playing in this tournament.”