Virtus.pro – The Major Kings are back
Virtus.pro, the CIS squad is on a 5-win streak at the EU & CIS regionals of ESL One Los Angeles 2020 online tournament. On top of that, Virtus.pro just took out the two-time International champions, team OG.
The arrival of a seasoned prodigy, Zayac, has really changed how Virtus.pro draft in recent games. Specifically, Virtus.pro’s drafts are more controversial and often aren’t cheese picks that most teams play around. For instance, in the game versus OG, Zayac played Techies as a counter to OG’s aggressive playstyle.
Due to the fear of bombs planted all across the map, team OG were reluctant on ignorantly chasing their foes. The space created dragged the game into late game timing, enabling Virtus.pro’s carry to come online.
Regardless, Virtus.pro’s strength didn’t come overnight. Even after the post-International 2019 roster shuffle, Virtus.pro had a rough time qualifying for any major. They had 8 new players joining and leaving the team after just weeks. Eventually, VP found the perfect roster, featuring Resolut1on, Zayac and just days before ESL One online tournament, iLTW. Along with the duo veteran players, Solo and Noone, VP is a force to be reckoned with.
A Failing Legacy
Once regarded as the strongest team in CIS region, Virtus.pro were the sole representative for CIS region competing in the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season. During the 2018-2019 season alone, Virtus.pro placed top 3 finish in four majors. Thus, they collected enough DPC points to claim the second place in DPC rankings.
Despite the vast achievements, Virtus.pro repeatedly fail in the grandest of tournaments, the Internationals. Unfortunately for many teams heading into the Internationals as the favorites, it meant higher stakes for the team. Anything lower than placing top 3 would be considered a failure. Thus, the Internationals often tell tales of teams that crumble due to the pressure of losing and Virtus.pro is one of them.
But for VP’s case, they knew something was wrong with the team way before the Internationals. They attempted to deal with the flaws as the International 2019 creep closer but it just wasn’t enough. Thus, they ended their TI9 run with a miserable 12th place.
Poaching Incident and a Grudge
Over the years, Virtus.pro have their haters, one of them happens to be their former teammate, Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk. Right after VP were eliminated from TI9, Lil tweeted a long article about it. The summary is about his satisfaction in enjoying the failures of Virtus.pro who wronged him and kicked his unjustifiably.
Thankfully, Peter “ppd” Dager told him off in a reply by telling him “You posting every time VP struggles is pathetic and predictable”. Till this date, Lil continues his offensive rant publicly whenever he finds something worth complaining about. So, the next time we can expect a “sincere” tweet from Lil, it would be when VP gets upset again in TI10.
Besides personal grudges, Virtus.pro made more enemies recently with their legal poaching of players. Coming back on Zayac, he used to be a player in Natus Vincere, another CIS powerhouse. Despite having a contract, Virtus.pro managed to abuse a loophole in Navi’s contract to get him off the team without any obligations. This led to a callout by Navi’s CEO who pointed out that the contract has “grey areas” which can be interpreted differently.
Thus, Virtus.pro indirectly disrupted a well-formed team. At that time, Navi has only begun winning games in the Leipzig major. Fortunately, Navi still looks pretty good after losing one of their best players but Virtus.pro really gained a valuable addition to their roster.
What’s next for VP?
With their top seed finish, Virtus.pro secured their spot to advance into the playoffs of Los Angeles 2020. It would only be a matter of time before they face their biggest threat yet, Team Secret. Hopefully, the bears don’t opt for any further roster change as the International 2020 is just 4 months away.
It seems when No[o]ne asked for Online tournaments, he was well aware how strong VPs current iteration is. At the pace they are going, we can expect great things from the squad in the following months.