Gambit Gaming announced on Tuesday that Abay ‘Hobbit’ Khassenov was available for immediate transfer from their CSGO line up, but threw conventional wisdom to the wind by also suggesting they could continue in the game. Prior to this point, it had been assumed that the team would disband following their poor performance at the FACEIT London Major, releasing all five players and their coach.
As it turns out, the statement released on Twitter referred not only to this move, but addressed some of the speculation that has come from names in the CSGO scene, in particular places where they had reported the end of Gambit CSGO. “As for additions to our line-up, we recommend waiting for official announcements and not trusting the rumours”, is the official line and, with only Hobbit being listed to this point, that certainly seems possible.
Of course, the other possibility is that the team is set to disband, but the org wants to keep that quiet to maximise the value of their assets. If you were interested in bidding for Hobbit, and knew that Gambit had no intention of continuing on in CSGO, then you might be tempted to lowball them, safe in the knowledge they have no use for the player themselves. In this situation, with the premise being that they want to continue in CSGO, that is not the case, and Hobbit should hold his value more.
Most valuable asset
There is no doubt that Hobbit is a talent, but he has struggled to match his level of last year in recent months, largely due to a malaise in the heart of the team that stems from a lack of real leadership. The addition of Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy from FlipSide was supposed to help with that, but their performance at the Major was as unimpressive as, well, the PCs at the Major, and the team crashed out in disappointing fashion.
In terms of the players Gambit currently have signed, Hobbit is by far the most valuable on the market, with only Dauren 'AdreN' Kystaubayev rated on a similar level by many. The latter is 28 years old, though, meaning his skills are not likely to improve and he may be looking at life after CSGO, while at 24 Hobbit should be close to his career-best form, and have at least a couple of years left at that level.
There are a number of possible destinations for the player, with Virtus.pro, Mousesports and a FaZe all rumoured to be looking at changes post-London, and the former pair would both make a lot of sense, provided Hobbit can communicate effectively in English. In terms of Gambit, this still could be the end of the road for them in CSGO, and if that is the case it would be a sad conclusion to a story that reached an incredible peak in Krakow last year.