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Virtus.Pro dominate the first Major of the season


They now top the Circuit Points chart at 2250 points, and take home $500,000 (along with Solo getting that Mercedez).

One could say that Virtus.Pro taking home a Major was a long time in the making – after only taking home two Summit titles last year, and falling short to Evil Geniuses at the Boston Major, being second to OG at the Kiev Major, and dropping to eventual champions Team Liquid at the International, Virtus.Pro has finally gotten over the hump and takes home their first Major title.

The team has been together since the end of TI6, and since Kiev has taken TI1 winner Ivan “ArtStyle” Antonov as their coach. In the wake of the last patch, they’ve shown the two things they’re known for the most: deep hero pools, an agressive laning stage, and impeccable team fight execution. Here at the ESL One Hamburg Major, they seemed nigh-unstoppable.

After topping their group (which did include Team Liquid, who they took down 2:1 in an exciting series), they faced the The International runners-up, Newbee, who they also defeated 2:1. Perhaps this in itself cemented their capability to be the best team in the world – proving themselves after taking out The International grand finalists.

In the Grand Finals they faced off surprisingly against Team Secret, who has been rising through the ranks and have quite the stranglehold on EU qualifiers, here eager to prove themselves after eliminating Team Liquid in the semi-finals. The Grand Finals was a shorter-than-usual best-of-three affair.

In the first game, Team Secret drafted themselves a magic-heavy lineup with Timbersaw, Pugna, Lina and Mirana supplemented by a Spirit Breaker, while Virtus.Pro picked a fast tempo lineup with their signature opening support duo – Illya “Lil” Ilyuk’s Enchantress and Alexei “Solo” Berezin’s Ogre Magi. VP went on to choose Pavel “9Pasha” Kvastunov the Brewmaster, a hero he has been favoring as of late and has shown impressive team fight control in, while they took Sniper and Vengeful Spirit as their remaining cores. The game was firmly in VP’s hands since the mid-game, with Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko’s Sniper snowballing out of control and closing the game with an impressive 16/1/11 KDA.

The second game saw Team Secret ban out Lil’s Enchantress, where Virtus.Pro decided to pick him Chen instead, and Solo got Bane, a hero he’s shown masterful play with in this tournament. Secret’s opening picks were their support duo of Spirit Breaker for Clement “Puppey” Ivanov and Rubick for Jazied “YapzOr” Jadarat – one of his best heroes. The early game gave a slight lead to VP thanks to successful ganks by the Chen, despite Adrian “Fata-” Trinks’ Magnus having empower. Yiek “MidOne” Nai Zheng’s signature Ember Spirit was also forced to take the offlane, debilitating his gold gain. Despite team-wiping twice in mid-game clashes due to over-aggression (perhaps due to their line-up’s timing being much earlier than Secret’s), Virtus.Pro always looked eager to fight – No[o]ne’s Viper and Roman “Ramzes666” Kushnarev’s Vengeful Spirit did top the kill-chart, but 9Pasha’s Sand King turned around so many fights with impeccable Epicenter-Burrowstrike combos. A little past 40 minutes, Team Secret called “GG” out of the game.

Along with Virtus.Pro taking home a large chunk of Pro Circuit Points, and half a million dollars, Solo also took home a Mercedez Benz E-class sedan as the MVP of the tournament – showing that while cores do tend to take the limelight with highlight plays and topping kill charts, impactful support play, insightful warding – and most of all, good leadership and masterful drafting – are things that are critical to winning a tournament.

Author: KaLeRei

KaLeRei usually can’t shut up about video games, so she writes about them instead. Single-player RPGs or empire-builders/strategy games are her usual cup of tea, but she’s also been an avid follower of the Dota 2 and CS:GO professional scenes for a while. She has a fascination for old pros trying to prove they’ve still got what it takes, and cats.

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