Steven R. November 21, 2018
Despite entering the The Kuala Lumpur Major with some uncertainty, Virtus.pro’s Dota 2 team erased all doubt en route to another major championship.
The Russian squad reasserted itself as one of the best in the world by taking the title at the first major tournament of the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season, defeating Team Secret in the event’s grand finals. It’s a massive victory given the strength of the competition, but its potential long-term ramifications for the team make that much bigger.
Captain Alexei "Solo" Berezin’s crew utterly dominated the Dota Pro Circuit standings last season, taking first place in four major tournaments thanks in large part to a quick pace and aggressive style. Their relatively disappointing fifth-place performance at The International 2018, however, called into question whether VP’s roster had slipped from its elite status. This first tournament of the season stood as an opportunity for redemption.
The team made the most of that chance with a largely dominant performance, easily taking the top spot in its initial group before making its way to the upper bracket finals at the expense of Fnatic and Ninjas In Pyjamas. It was sent to the lower bracket by Team Secret, but bested Evil Geniuses in order to earn a rematch in the grand finals. There, VP exacted sweet revenge on Secret in a tight 3-2 series victory.
In addition to the $350,000 prize for finishing first, the win earns VP a whopping 4,950 qualifying points in the Dota Pro Circuit. This could mean that Virtus.pro has a spot in The International all but secured nine months before the tournament begins.
VP is scheduled to compete in the CIS qualifiers for the Chongqing Major on November 25.