With a few weeks left for The International 2018 to begin, I am starting my series of introductory articles for all the teams that are participating in the tournament. In this article, I will be covering the next big hope for the CIS region in Dota, Team Virtus.pro.
Virtus.pro is a Russian organization, well known for their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 rosters. They also compete in other games like Starcraft 2 and Heroes of the Storm.
Virtus.pro has a total of 3 Dota 2 rosters viz ASUS Polar, Virtus.pro ladies, and the main team Virtus.pro. In this article, I’ll be focusing on the main squad of Virtus.pro of course. Let’s have a look at their players and stats.
Position 1: Roman ‘RAMZES666’ Kushnarev
Position 2: Vladimir ‘No[o]ne’ Minenko
Position 3: Pavel ‘9pasha’ Khvastunov
Position 4: Vladimir ‘RodjER’ Nikogosyan
Position 5: Alexei ‘Solo’ Berezin
Coach: Ivan ‘Artstyle’ Antonov
Virtus.pro General Stats:
Total Matches Played – 302
Win rate – 62%
Average placement – 1st – 5th
Pro Circuit tournaments won (2017-2018) – 5 (1 Minor, 4 Majors)
VP’s road to TI 8 after TI 7:
After their disappointing 5th-6th placement at TI7, Virtus.pro’s had a really rough start in the new season. They lost to Team Empire in the Semi Finals of the PGL Open Bucharest 2017 CIS qualifiers which was one of the first few Minors of the new season. They started to take off later on, when they won ESL One Hamburg Major with a baffling 2-0 victory against Team Secret who were one of the favorites for that tournament. Solo was named the MVP of the tournament and received a Mercedes Benz as the prize.
Everything started to look good for VP at this point but after a few Minors that happened later on, VP started to have some major issues. VP’s captain, Solo had a dispute with their position 4 player – Lil, and he didn’t want to continue playing with him. Coach Artstyle had to fill-in for Solo. As expected, they were consistently underperforming by getting 4th place in 3 DPC Minor events in a row. Surprisingly, they managed to win Dota Summit 8 tournament by beating Fnatic in a convincing 3-1 Victory. This was the last DPC tournament of 2017.
VP didn’t participate in Captain’s Draft 4.0 which was the first minor of 2018. The main roster finally got together for ESL One Genting but they performed poorly, losing to EG in the first round of the main playoffs. They placed 5th-6th.
RodjER’s entry into Virtus.pro:
The next big event was the ESL One Katowice Major and just before this, RodjER who was playing for Na’Vi at that point, and VP’s Lil swapped teams as it was clear that VP could not move on with the issues they were facing. Many fans thought that this was a very questionable decision by VP as they presumed that RodjER wouldn’t be able to fill in Lil’s shoes. Boy were they wrong.
After RodjER joined VP, the team took off in an incredible fashion. VP dominated ESL One Katowice Major, only losing once, to Vici Gaming in the group stage. They faced off against Vici Gaming once again in the grand finals and beat them with a convincing 3-1 Victory. RodjER also won the MVP award and received a Mercedes for himself.
Just a few weeks after ESL One Katowice, VP went on to win The Bucharest Major. They only lost 2 games in the entire tournament. VP was on fire and they seemed undefeatable at this point.
VP’s form declined a little bit after a few new patches. They got 3rd place at Dota 2 Asia Championships Major, losing to LGD.
VP comes back to form:
Things were looking grim for VP and they decided to take a break. They did not participate in the MDL Changsha Major. This seemed to be exactly what VP needed, as they came back extremely strong and won the ESL One Birmingham Major with a convincing 3-0 victory against OpTic Gaming. VP didn’t drop a single game and took the entire tournament by storm.
The next tournament was the China Supermajor which was the last Major of the season. VP looked extremely strong and they dominated the group stage of the tournament, only dropping 1 match. In the upper bracket, they lost to PSG.LGD but got their revenge against them later on in the lower bracket with a 2-1 victory. They faced off against Team Liquid in the Grand Finals and narrowly lost with 3-2 in favor of Liquid. This concluded the DPC tournaments for the season and the wait for TI 8 begins.
VP is in form right now and they look incredibly strong. They had the highest amount of DPC points in this season at 12372, with Team Liquid at second with 9495 points. They are definitely one of the favorites for TI8.