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Who are Gaimin Gladiators, the Berlin Major-qualified team that made their APAC debut in March?

An Indonesian team is the latest SEA roster to break into the global scene.

Image: Ubisoft/Joao F.

A second-place finish from Gaimin Gladiators means that they will travel to the Six Berlin Major next week. They will be the only new team at the event and are the newest from APAC. 

For those not familiar with them, here’s a rundown on the team’s history, the organization, and what to expect from them at the Berlin Major.

Team history

The Team Insen roster first qualified for Season 2 of the Operation League MY/SG/PH/ID national tournament at the beginning of 2021 with two of the team’s current members -- Reinaldo "Tolji" Gilbert and Richard "Rixx" Nixon. 

In their debut Operation League season in Mar. 2021, the team won 11 out of 11 maps to be crowned the sub-regional champions. They also won a spot in the November Operation League SEA Championship finals, which gave them a direct path to the APAC South relegations. 

In the intervening months, Team Insen added Aldi "Hovenherst" Firmansyah to the roster, won the Season 3 title, signed Farhan "Hermosa" Adinepa, and then joined the Renatus organization in August.

This slow improvement was exactly what was needed; though Invictus Gaming beat them in Season 4 of their sub-regional league, they still managed to finish fourth in the SEA Championship and win a relegation spot. 

By the time relegations came around in January, the team had left their organization and was playing under the moniker “The Last Dance”, before picking up Razaan "Ape" Adiprakasa. The relegations itself saw them lose just one out of seven maps to replace ORDER in the APAC South League as they beat all expectations and tier-two favourites Team Bliss.

After rejoining Renatus for Stage 1, the team then moved to Gaimin Gladiators for Stage 2 and signed Jose "Jo" Iman to complete the current roster. Jo had considerable experience on the Invictus Gaming lineup and previously played at the Six Mexico and Sweden Majors.

So far in 2022

In total, this means that this roster won their first national qualifier, then won their sub-regional league on their first attempt, quickly qualified for the relegations, and then made it into APAC South very smoothly. 

This was somewhat of a fairy tale story, but almost all of these wins were against fellow tier-two rosters. Once they started competing against the big guys during Stage 1, the real challenges began.

With eight points, Renatus managed to put up a fight in Stage 1 but were three points short of an APAC Playoff position in sixth place. Most notably, this included a 7-5 victory over Elevate in their very first professional game. Elevate eventually finished second in the entire league, while Renatus followed this up with a four-game losing streak. 

Adding Jo for Stage 2 was a game changer for the team. While their ratings didn’t shoot up, they started getting more plants down, had a more effective entry duo, and secured a frankly absurd number of clutches; 11 compared to five in Stage 1 and compared to six for the second-most clutch team in the league. 

Across the entire Stage 2, GG only lost two games -- against iG in overtime and Elevate in regulation. They then managed to win a one-round winners-takes-all against the Knights on the final play day with a 1v2 clutch to qualify for the Berlin Major. 

Current roles

That means that this is the current Gaimin Gladiators lineup that will compete in August’s Major:

Richard "Rixx" Nixon
Reinaldo "Tolji" Gilbert
Aldi "Hovenherst" Firmansyah
Razaan "Ape" Adiprakasa
Jose "Jo" Iman
Farhan "Hermosa" Adinepa (substitute)
Ilham "Sunan" Surya (coach)

Rixx is the team’s hard support, Ape plays on Finka and is supported by Hovenherst, and both Jo and Tolji act as flex players. On the defence, meanwhile, they swap round roles depending on the map, but Jo is the standout player with a 1.30 SiegeGG Rating compared to the next best at 1.02.

The team’s best map is Skyscraper, which is consistently banned out against them after they won it both times they played there. Similarly, the team beat Knights on Chalet to clinch the Berlin Major spot after their opponents banned the map in their six other Stage 2 games. 

On the other hand, Villa has been an absolute instant-ban for the team as they haven’t played it once in their entire professional history, banning it in each game. 

The organization

For fans outside of APAC, Gaimin Gladiators may be best known for their former North American Challenger League roster. This roster included the ex-beastcoast player, Charlie "Rooty" Tran, the ex-Mirage player, Alexandre "QrTz" Moranta, and the well-known tier-two prospect, Matthew "Jolten" Valoroso. 

The organization itself is the esports arm of a cryptocurrency-based company which aims to convince users to allow them to mine for crypto on their PCs in the background while they play video games in exchange for their own coin.

The company is Canadian-based and picked up its first esports team in Counter-Strike in 2019. They now have teams in numerous other games, including DOTA, Rocket League, and Warcraft and first entered Siege after buying out the Oceanus Gaming organization, which previously had a history in NACL.

Chances at the Berlin Major?

Now Gaimin Gladiators are set to go to the Berlin Major and face a new tier of opposition.

Considering only one player has any kind of experience at this level, and they are likely the lowest seeded team in the tournament, their odds are slim. Nevertheless, lack of experience hasn’t really slowed the team down so far, and APAC has seen both DWG and Elevate become the top APAC finishers at their debut events in the last year alone.

Their plans to go to Berlin a week early for international practice have been scuppered due to visa issues, but we should still see the team at the Major, according to Jo.