Virtus.pro wins ESL One Los Angeles with dramatic win over OG

Steven Rondina • April 20, 02:08

Virtus.pro is back on top of the Dota 2 scene, at least for the time being.

The CIS region’s top team posted a huge victory in the ESL One Los Angeles European and CIS league. The team defeated OG in a back-and-forth grand finals series, taking a 3-2 victory.

Virtus.pro took first blood in the finals. Two kills on Syed “SumaiL” Hassan’s Terrorblade in the first three minutes gave VP an early lead and started a snowball that OG just never managed to stop. Almost every engagement broke in VP’s favor, and while OG managed to score a wipe 25 minutes into the game, the changes from the 7.26 update made their presence felt as OG only made a small dent in the net worth lead. VP pulled itself together and took the game one win.

SumaiL was done messing around in game two, however. After a rough outing as Terrorblade, he switched over to a hero he has plenty of history with in Ember Spirit. He drew first blood and enjoyed very strong farm, with Phase Boots, Bottle, Drum of Endurance, and Desolator all accrued by 19 minutes. 

SumaiL scored kill after kill for OG. He had a 10-1 scoreline by the end of the game, allowing OG to even the series.

Game three saw OG throw VP a curveball in the form of SumaiL returning to the mid lane with a Morphling pick. The star player has been bouncing back and forth between playing carry and mid throughout the event, swapping roles with OG substitute Neta “33” Shapira. The move didn’t immediately pay off for OG as SumaiL ceded a fair bit of farm to Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko. However, the momentum swung hard in the mid game as SumaiL killed him three times over a three-minute stretch.

That killing spree accelerated SumaiL’s farm in a profound way, allowing him to finish a Manta Style and buy an Ethereal Blade in just five minutes. VP had no way to answer that damage output, putting OG on match point.

No[o]ne was undoubtedly frustrated by how game three went for him, but he paid SumaiL back with interest in game four. Though the early game was competitive, No[o]ne completely dominated the game in game four, hitting 717 GPM and going 22-0. That was more than enough for VP to even the series and force a deciding game five.

After four largely one-sided games, the final showdown was the most competitive game by far. Both teams drafted gimmicky setups, with OG going heavy on impactful ultimates with long cooldowns. VP went with a team focused on tankiness and healing.

OG preyed upon Virtus.pro carry, and former teammate, Igor “iLTW” Filatov in the top lane as he played Bristleback, killing him three times in the first six minutes of the game. No[o]ne’s playmaking with Storm Spirit kept things close however, which resulted in the lead swinging back and forth. 

When OG could properly execute all their spells, they were able to take clean team fight wins but when one thing went wrong, it was a domino effect. As the game dragged on, iLTW recovered and built up his farm. Bristleback’s tankiness alone would have made him tough to kill with OG’s lack of burst damage, but having a Dazzle and Oracle flanking him made him almost invincible.

OG was able to drag things out with strong defense from the high ground, but Virtus.pro eventually got to the point where they could fight inside of OG’s base even while surrounded by enemy towers, forcing the GG call.

Virtus.pro proves a lot in ESL One Los Angeles

Virtus.pro winning Dota 2 tournaments isn’t necessarily novel, given how the organization has won five majors over the last three years, but this was still a big moment for the organization.

VP has had a tumultuous 2019-2020 season. The organization released three players after its disastrous performance at The International 2019, which was followed by a slew of other shakeups. The organization has still been able to qualify for majors, but hasn’t looked close to where it was a year prior.

Though Virtus.pro isn’t cemented as an elite Dota 2 team with this win, it’s a much-needed proof of concept with the current roster:

  1. Igor “iLTW” Filatov
  2. Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko
  3. Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok
  4. Bakyt “Zayac” Emilzhanov
  5. Alexey “Solo” Berezin

During ESL One Los Angeles, VP picked up wins over numerous top squads outside of OG. Though they still have need to follow this up with a series of strong placements in order to really come close to returning VP to its glory days, this squad might be up to the task.

The team is set to remain incredibly active over the coming months, and will compete in both the WePlay! Pushka League and the Epic Prime League. If Virtus.pro can keep up this form in both of those, it might be time to start looking at VP in the same way as Team Secret or Vici Gaming.

OG’s loss is disappointing, but comes with big asterisk

OG losing to an unproven Virtus.pro roster likely comes as a surprise to many, but fans of the two-time TI championships shouldn’t be fretting over this loss. 

OG was forced to compete with a number of different substitutes due to travel restrictions, with Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng and Topias Miikka “Topson” Taavitsainen being replaced by 33 and Sebastian “Ceb” Debs:

  1. Neta “33” Shapira
  2. Syed “SumaiL” Hassan
  3. Sébastien “Ceb” Debs
  4. Martin “Saksa” Sazdov
  5. Johan “N0tail” Sundstein

Though one might dismiss Ceb’s addition due to his long tenure with the team, there was still a fair bit of role swapping done by the team. Once OG is completely reunited and operating at full strength, there are likely few teams that will be able to compete with them.

Will that happen anytime soon? That’s unknown, as MidOne is currently at home in Malaysia and Topson’s status is something of a mystery.

Either way, OG is set to compete once again in the WePlay! Pushka League. They will likely continue to use this current roster, starting with their showdown against Alliance on April 28.

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