The WePlay! Pushka League is set to host a showdown between the CIS region’s two biggest names as Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere are set to face off in the group stage. This is an old and storied rivalry that has played out across multiple games, but is particularly bitter right now in Dota 2 given the roster poaching that has occurred between the two teams.
One side is coming into the game as hot as they’ve ever been, while the other is on shaky footing.
The transition to online leagues has impacted Dota 2 teams in a variety of ways, but Virtus.pro seems to be benefiting greatly. Virtus.pro has long been an elite Dota 2 team, but the organization released the majority of its roster following a disappointing performance at The International 2019.
The team underwent numerous changes in the months that followed, with the roster currently standing as follows:
While this isn’t technically an official roster for Virtus.pro as iLTW is technically a stand-in on loan from Team Spirit, the new team has looked electric over the last few weeks. The side posted an undefeated run through the ESL One Los Angeles European and CIS league, with a map record of 21-5. Strong starts in the Epic Prime League and WePlay! Pushka League combined to see Virtus.pro rack up a 15-match winning streak between the three leagues. This streak was broken on Wednesday with a loss to HellRaisers.
This new VP lineup still has big shoes to fill. The previous version of the team won five majors, and it’ll take a whole lot more than a few online league performances to stand on even footing with that. The Virtus.pro organization still clearly has an eye for talent and this lineup seems to have the right combination of skills and chemistry to do something special.
Natus Vincere looked poised to take over the CIS region for about two weeks. The team performed very well in the qualifiers for the ESL One Los Angeles Major, going 6-2 in the group stage and running through the playoffs without much trouble.
Since then, the team has been a mess, despite fielding the same roster as before:
Na’Vi was eliminated from the ESL One Los Angeles league with a devastating losing streak, dropping five straight series where they won only one map. This handed them a last-place finish from the event.
It’s unclear whether Na’Vi was among the many teams impacted by playing in an online setting, but they’ve rebounded brilliantly so far in the WePlay! Pushka League. After an opening loss to HellRaisers, Na’Vi took wins over B8, FlyToMoon, and Team Spirit.
HellRaisers holding wins over both Virtus.pro and Na’Vi is a bit of a head scratcher, but it probably isn’t something to read into too deeply. Despite coming in fresh off a loss, Virtus.pro is the clear betting favorite in this match and justifiably so.
As of this writing, Winners.bet’s line is a whopping 1.17 vs. 4.42 in favor of Virtus.pro. Unless lines shift radically following the loss to HellRaisers, that’s a prohibitive line.
The best shot for a worthwhile return would likely be picking Na’Vi to win a single game during the series. While Virtus.pro is very likely to win the series, taking Na’Vi to win a specific map during the series nets up to a 3.25 return.