Ahead of the event, the team revealed a new look for their Dota 2 team inspired by China, which is serving as the host country for TI9. Virtus.pro is looking to connect with the crowd in Shanghai and engage with their local fans in a whole new way.
The Russian organization swapped its signature polar bear out for a panda and switched its orange color scheme for red, a lucky color in China. The jersey also features the nickname given to them by Chinese Dota 2 fans that translates into “powerful strike,” which also features their “VP” tag. Giving special nicknames to foreign teams is a common practice for esports fans in China.
“I hope that our players will show some great Dota play at the tournament as well. China is a strategic market for us, and we’ve tried to pay respect and attention to local traditions,” Virtus.pro general manager Roman Dvoryankin said.
This rebranding has been received much, much better than their last attempt.
Back in 2018, the team changed its colors to green and purple as part of a new deal with Russian telecom company MegaFon. The new look was revealed ahead of The International 2018 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s FACEIT Major: London. The jerseys were poorly received by fans, who criticized the new look and its random distribution of the colors on the collars, sleeves, and shoulders.
Russian design studio Quberten handled both rebrandings.
The Virtus.pro TI9 edition jersey is available for purchase online and at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. It is unclear how long this redesign will last, as the green and purple jersey was killed after several weeks.
Virtus.pro’s look is on point at The International 2019 but their play isn’t quite at that level.
While VP has been one of the top teams throughout the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season, they looked shaky during the TI9 group stage. They managed to sneak into the main event’s upper bracket with a fourth-place finish and will face off with PSG.LGD.