Gpk — the wonderboy from Russia
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Evil Geniuses is one of the most exciting teams in the current OMEGA League draw. The American organization, which came to play in the European division for 3/5 consists of Russian-speaking players. In the CIS, EG is jokingly considered a ‘home’ team, while the tendency of CIS players to move to European teams this summer began with Artem “fng” Barshak, who is now successfully playing for Alliance and is likely to sign a contract with them. Of course, all this is due to the current pandemic situation: Abed “Abed” Yusop, being at homeland, could not come to the other end of the world to play with his squad, and Danil “gpk” Skutin was available for loan: Gambit Esports has been experiencing certain difficulties with their own Dota roster since spring 2020. Fng, who joined Alliance on loan before the beginning of the summer, and the current NAVI player Immersion, also having played for the “Reds”, and gpk himself managed to join FlyToMoon in May and July, participating in several small tournaments.
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Danil has an interesting history of relations with Gambit: having joined the team in August 2019, gpk ended up on the club's bench after refusing to come to the bootcamp, presumably due to disagreements about the transfer because Virtus.pro was chasing him.
Danil is only 19 years old, but he is considered one of the strongest mid laners of the CIS scene, and this is quite fair. He plays very well, but why are we only talking about gpk’s game? It's better to see for yourself.
Unlike Alliance’s midlaner Limmp, gpk prefers carry micro-heroes like Ember Spirit, Templar Assassin, and Shadow Fiend but also does not mind playing as mages like Storm and Void Spirits, Lina, and Queen of Pain.
Gpk holds the record for the most hero damage (203,863) in a single professional game since the switch to Source 2 in 2015. He achieved this feat while playing for Gambit Esports as Zeus in a game against Team Spirit during the DreamLeague Season 13 CIS Qualifiers. Game id: 5136479563.
Danil has yet to reveal himself to the whole world, win many major tournaments, and prove the expectations placed on his shoulders. But who is he?
Danil is from Artyomovski, Russia — a town of 30 thousand people. “I left [for St. Petersburg] because, like in any province, a young man [in Artemovski] has absolutely nothing to do,” Danil says. His mother is an ordinary accountant at a bakery factory, his father works as an administrator at the only plant in the city. Parents stayed at home, while Danil himself now lives with NAVI’s Ilias in the same apartment.
Gpk's esports career began at school. In the fifth grade, Danil became bored with spending time outdoors, and he decided to sit tightly at the computer. For about a year, he left the house very little and trained hard, hitting 6000-6500 MMR. Then, he and his friends went to a LAN in Yekaterinburg. “I forgot the password for my account, played on a fake, fed on the middle lane, and just sat there shocked,” Danil laughs. Of course, they lost then. Then gpk played in online tournaments, won at one of the LANs, and their main rival kicked their player and called Danil to join. Thus began the history of Marlerino esports, gpk’s first team.
He was 15 when he went to his first bootcamp. “I came home and told my mother that I would leave in a month. She, of course, got worried, and questions rained down: where I was going and what I was going to do. I explained everything, she contacted the CEO of Marlerino eSports, they talked and everything fell into place”. His parents came to the bootcamp, checked on the house, and calmly left Danil to his work. Gpk won several local tournaments with Marlerino afterward.
Nickname? It's simple, CS has NBK-. I watched him play CS and loved it. I copied his avatars and came up with the nickname gpk-. Community geniuses have already deciphered my nickname, "Garbage Pale Kid"
Then, in March 2019, Vega Squadron entered into an agreement with Marlerino eSports, signing their roster to perform. With Vega, Skutin won the Qi Invitational Europe and made it to the Closed Qualifiers for The International 2019 within the CIS Region. The team finished third in Quals and did not make it to TI9. But then, gpk left the roster. According to Vega Squadron CEO Alexei Kondakov, the boy “wanted to play with more experienced and established players,” and the organization “had no way to keep him.”
Gambit Esports arrived in time and signed a promising talented guy. Danil's life has changed dramatically. He moved to St. Petersburg, and all his social networks were inundated with messages that he was the best. “I was very pleased, I even, in a sense, felt like a rockstar. As a result, it was negative for me, but now I have learned to keep my ego quiet". In Gambit, it was like this: a big success at ESL One Hamburg (2nd place, overall a great performance), a failure at the Chendu Major (13-16th), several Minors, and… half a year of nothing after the aforementioned disagreements.
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Danil thought about trying his hand at CS. “But I would still choose Dota 2,” says gpk. “If theoretically, my career could be equally successful in any discipline, I don’t know what would I choose. In CS, I love the praccs and the overall approach. You can hone your reflexes to automatism if you wish. There is no such thing in Dota because, in our game, there are much fewer situations that depend on mouse speed, movement, and reflexes”.
Gambit’s Dota didn't work out at all. The roster was falling apart, substitutions and stand-ins did not help, gpk was sitting on the bench and then left completely as a substitute to FlyToMoon, where he played in a couple of tournaments. Artem “fng” Barshak left, Alexander “Immersion” Hmelevskoy ran back and forth. And so, gpk was given an excellent chance.
“BuLba called me [to Evil Geniuses]. The first time he talked to me in China at the afterparty, he said that he watched my replays and all that." Danil, unlike fng, is still under contract with Gambit, but EG has agreed to use him on loan for OMEGA League. So far, everything is going well; the team won the group stage and is confidently going to the playoffs.
Here are gpk's latest stats at OMEGA League as Evil Geniuses' player:
“During matches, we sometimes communicate with Ramses in Russian. For example, we do some game moment together, so we can discuss it in Russian”. And he doesn't need to learn English, because Arteezy understands them too. “I like that you do your best in EG. The mentality is different, and you sit at 100% trying to win every game. This is something new and pleasant for me.” Nevertheless, Danil does not want to move to the club on a permanent basis: “I like EG, but I would like to stay in the CIS for this season”.
Gpk is undoubtedly a very strong midlaner and one of the main CIS Dota hopes. It is not known when Valve will resume LAN tournaments, when COVID will finally leave, when the long-awaited TI will take place, and so on — but for now, Danil is very well suited to Evil Geniuses.
Will gpk repeat Ramses’ path? Or will he still remain in his native lands and sign a contract with NAVI, for example? Time will tell.