Two Dota 2 pro players, Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko and Pavel “9pasha” Khvastunov of the CIS team Virtus Pro (VP), were seen playing the hot new battle royale game, Apex Legends, during the draft of one of their matches in the MDL Macau 2019 tournament.
While their teammates were busy with the picks and bans for their match against the Chinese team EHOME, the two were spotted playing Apex Legends by the tournament’s casters, who promptly poked fun at it.
this is now an apex legends tournament
????️ @GranDGranT @DraskylDotaTwo & @TrentPax pic.twitter.com/4tHofxrWAX
— Beyond the Summit (@BeyondTheSummit) February 21, 2019
It also prompted VP General Manager Roman Dvoryankin to joke about how the team’s first two players for Apex Legends have been revealed.
Our first two members of @PlayApex roster have been revealed! https://t.co/fBqj5VOzYF
— Roman Dvoryankin (@dvoryrom) February 21, 2019
VP would go on to win their match in about 30 minutes, a testament to their skill as they have been one of the most dominant teams in Dota 2 for a while now.
However, they ended up finishing the tournament’s group stage with a 2-5 record and were seeded into the lower bracket of the main event. As of the time of writing, VP have already dispatched of the Chinese team Invictus Gaming in round 1 of the lower bracket and is set to face off against another Chinese squad in Vici Gaming for round 2.
Some have criticized VP of either being too disrespectful of their opponents or not being focused enough for playing a different game in the middle of an official match.
9pasha would later go on Twitter to defend his actions, recounting how he played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive before the grand finals of the Bucharest Major last year — wherein they swept their opponents, 3-0.
In any case, the incident speaks to the popularity of Apex Legends, which was released out of the blue on February 4. Since then, the game has taken not only the battle royale genre — even being touted as the one to rival the monolithic Fortnite: Battle Royale — but all of the gaming community, by storm.
As for VP, it still remains to be seen whether their enthusiasm for Apex Legends would ultimately cost them in the Dota 2 tournament they are currently competing in.