A resurgent Virtus.pro (VP) defeated two-time The International (TI) champions OG in a hard-fought 3-2 Grand Finals series to become the champions of the ESL One Los Angeles EU-CIS online regional league and take home the grand prize of US$60,000.
After OG took a commanding 2-1 series lead, VP’s star midlaner, Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko, put his team on his back to win games four and five to secure the championship and earn himself the EU-CIS league’s MVP honors.
Here’s a recap of VP’s march to the championship on the back of No[o]ne in games four and five:
OG looked to close out the series in game four with a strong midgame composition, with Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan on Storm Spirit, stand-in mid laner Neta “33” Shapira on Abaddon, stand-in offlaner Sébastien “Ceb” Debs on an offlane Enchantress, Martin “Saksa” Sazdov on Earthshaker, and Johan “N0tail” Sundstein on Skywrath Mage.
Meanwhile, VP looked to take it late with a highly-mobile and hard-hitting carry duo of Ember Spirit for stand-in carry player Igor “iLTW” Filatov and Templar Assassin for No[o]ne. Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok was put on Batrider, Bakyt “Zayac” Emilzhanov had Earth Spirit, and Alexei “Solo” Berezin was on Grimstroke to form the supporting cast.
OG looked dominant early, winning the first five-on-five engagement of the game and securing the first Aegis of the Immortal for SumaiL to gear up for a strong midgame push. However, VP struck back once No[o]ne finished building up his core items and took the lead after winning a drawn-out fight at the middle lane at the 17-minute mark. In that critical engagement, VP was able to burst down SumaiL twice through his Aegis, force him to use buyback, then take him down again to take control of the game.
With VP in control of the map, No[o]ne got the second Aegis of the game for himself at the 25-minute mark and used it to dominate OG in the ensuing fights.
Despite the two-time TI champs’ best efforts to fight back, No[o]ne’s Templar Assassin bulldozed through their lineup in fight after fight to force the series to a deciding game five after a 31-minute beatdown. No[o]ne finished the game with a perfect 22/0/12 KDA, punctuating a godlike performance with a Rampage in the last clash to force the GG call from OG.
In game five, OG opted for a four-protect-one strategy while having huge team fight ultimates, with SumaiL on Ember Spirit, 33 on Beastmaster, Ceb on a core Enigma, Saksa on Tusk, and N0tail on Silencer.
VP went with a strong midgame tri-core of Bristleback for iLTW, Storm Spirit for No[o]ne, Pangolier for Resolut1on, while having two strong healer supports in Dazzle and Oracle for Zayac and Solo, respectively.
The early game was much closer this time, as both teams looked to snowball in the midgame by winning the early clashes. OG was able to secure the first Aegis for SumaiL at the 14-minute mark to threaten VP’s base early, but No[o]ne was able to control both SumaiL and Ceb in the ensuing team fight to repel OG’s assault.
The lead swung back and forth from there as OG was winning the fights where they were able to land their team fight-winning ultimates, notably Ceb’s Black Hole. However, No[o]ne’s Storm Spirit would win the other clashes for VP by repeatedly dodging the Black Hole and controlling the rest of OG’s lineup.
The game wore on long enough that VP’s tri-core became too tanky, on top of the healing they were getting from their supports, that even a huge three-man Black Hole in a huge clash starting at the 38-minute mark was not enough to outright win a fight for OG.
Knowing that their lineup was strong enough to just steamroll through OG’s team fight ultimates, VP pressed their advantage and won another fight at the 42-minute mark inside OG’s base. They would eventually seal the deal in a decisive clash at the 47-minute mark, where No[o]ne dodged Ceb’s Black Hole yet again to break the back of OG and force them to call GG just before the game breached 50 minutes.
No[o]ne notched a game-high 15 kills against four deaths to lead VP to the championship, though his counterpart in SumaiL also had 15 kills of his own in an admirable losing effort.