Prelude for a Champion: A TI Primer – Virtus.Pro

VP seeking affirmation of its ascension to top of Dota 2 world at TI

 

With this year’s iteration of The International fast approaching, it seems appropriate to offer fans both new and old a breakdown of who it is they’re going to be watching in Seattle. This series of posts will each be dedicated to one of the 18 teams that will be participating in The International 2017, with the aim of giving readers a brief overview of the teams, their position coming into TI, and what their expectations might be. Please note that these posts will not contain a comprehensive history of the teams, nor will they go into minute detail for each of the players. There are more thorough breakdowns for teams and players available out there, a la SirActionSlacks’ “TI Down Low” series. These posts aim to provide something more akin to an “in a nutshell” level of information. Today, we move on to our next directly invited team and one of the two representatives from the CIS region – Virtus Pro.

As one of the 6 teams directly invited to The International 2017, Virtus Pro holds a place as one of the strongest and most talented teams in the world. It is a position that the CIS squad has earned with an impressive blend of strong drafting, excellent team play, and raw skill. Adding to the team’s impressive rise to prominence is the fact that the CIS squad is spearheaded by a pair of young core players. While team captain and drafter Solo is an older veteran of the scene, VP’s Carry and Midlaner, RAMZES666 and No[o]ne, are each just 18 years old and already playing at the highest level of competition. In a little under a year, Virtus Pro has strung together a slew of impressive victories both within their own home region and against top international opponents. VP enters TI7 as a team with soaring confidence and exceptional talent, and their eyes will be looking towards nothing short of a championship come August.

VP has aspirations of glory and greatness at TI, and these dreams are not simply wishful thinking. VP has a realistic chance to bring the Aegis of Champions back to the CIS region for the first time since 2011, when Na’Vi won the inaugural International Dota 2 Championship. The legacy of that legendary Na’Vi squad is one that has hung over the CIS region for nearly 6 years. No other CIS team has ever really come close to following up that legacy, not even later iterations of Na’Vi itself. Virtus Pro now stand in a position to lay claim to the mantle once held by that old Na’Vi squad, and should VP perform well in Seattle they will cement their position not just as the strongest team in their region, but perhaps the best team in the world. TI7 represents an opportunity for VP to take a major step forward, but it is most certainly not the first step, as the team has already been hard at work building a legacy and reputation of its own.

In a little under a year, Virtus Pro has managed to rack up an impressive number of wins and positive results. Within their own region, the squad has been downright dominant, claiming victories in 4 regional qualifiers in late 2016, in addition to winning the BTS Europe #4 tournament. This regional domination was a trend that continued into 2017, as VP won the CIS regional qualifier for the Kiev Major, along with the Euro-centric Mr. Cat Invitational and the Russian esports Cup. Though Virtus Pro have not shown the same level of dominance against international opponents, they have still scored major wins and strong performances within the last year. The CIS squad won back to back iterations of The Summit (Summit 6 & 7), as well as a Top 4 finish at ESL One Genting in January and a Top 6 finish at Epicenter 2017 last June. Add on top of these achievements VP’s participation in the previous 2 Majors, which included a 2nd place result at Kiev, and the team presents a resume of recent accomplishments that’s hard to match.

All signs seem to be pointing in favor of Virtus Pro heading into TI7., as the team is performing at an impressively high level and with crucial consistency. Any hopes of flying under the radar have long since fallen by the wayside, with media such as Valve’s “True Sight” having combined with VP’s successful playstyle to nearly drag the team into the public eye. The team is playing well, feeling confident, and amassing no small amount of popularity within the Dota 2 scene. The eyes of the Dota 2 world will be looking right at Virtus Pro as TI7 begins, and whether they rise or fall, Virtus Pro will have quite the audience as they look to make a statement in Seattle.

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