After over a month of intense Dota 2 competition from the best teams Europe and the CIS have to offer, Epic League has finally crowned Virtus.pro as its tournament champions.
Right before the start of Epic League, CIS esports organization Virtus.pro decided to make one of the biggest roster changes in the pro Dota 2 scene by announcing that its new Dota 2 roster consists of the previous VP.Prodigy members.
After watching VP’s reinvigorated roster, we now understand why the organization decided to part ways with its former stars Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko and Alexei “Solo” Brezin.
During the group stage of Epic League, the team showed tremendous improvements in their strategy and in-game execution by taking the top spot with a 7-2 series record and wins over Team Secret, Team Nigma, and OG.
With an upper bracket berth in the playoffs, VP proceeded to drop Team Secret and Vikin.gg to the lower bracket by winning both matches in 2-0 sweeps. VP would then face two-time back-to-back TI champions OG in the grand finals.
OG dominated the lower bracket of the tournament after eliminating Natus Vincere, and Team Liquid. The reigning TI champions looked poised to upset the undefeated VP squad after they swept Vikin.gg in the lower bracket finals in a convincing 3-0 sweep.
At the start of the series, VP defeated OG’s powerhouse Morphling and Earth Spirit combo with Egor “epileptick1d” Grigorenko’s Sven as the team’s primary damage dealer, while Danil “gpk” Skutin and Dmitry “DM” Dorokhin provided team fight control with Kunkka and Mars.
VP had two incredible counter-initiation options against OG with their Torrent Storm and Arena of Blood ultimates. When OG decided to jump on an enemy hero, VP was always ready to overpower anything that came their way and took the early 1-0 lead in the grand final.
OG then answered back by winning the next two games of the series with their non-stop aggressive playstyle that had VP reeling. OG would get to tournament point after finishing the third game of the series at the 18-minute mark.
After losing twice in a row to OG’s Morphling and Earth Spirit combo, VP finally decided to ban Morphling and gave their opponents the Sven pick to start the fourth game. But it was VP’s new team captain Vitaly “Save-” Melnik who would be the real difference-maker for his team with his insane Rubick counter initiation plays. After pulling a team fight win in the latter stages of Game 2 with an insane stolen Black Hole, Save- did it again in the fourth game, and this time, it helped his team get the win and even the series 2-2.
The final match of the series came down to epileptick1d’s Phantom Assassin going up against Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng’s Slark, with both teams picking crowd control heroes and magic damage heroes for early game team fights.
VP clearly had the better team fight composition lineup with OG not having an answer for Illias “illias” Ganeev’s Tombstone ability, and no physical damage dealer except for MidOne. This gave VP the edge in team fights and allowed the CIS team to take the gold and experience lead.
Sensing that the match was close to being over, VP decided to go for the Divine Rapier pickup on epileptik1d’s Phantom Assassin, which caught OG by surprise. This gave VP the edge in team fights, which led to them taking map control. This also gave VP the Aegis of the Immortal advantage, which they used to force OG to kill their Phantom Assassin twice. And with OG falling behind in gold, experience, and damage output, VP finished the series by destroying the Dire Ancient.
With Virtus.pro’s incredible first-place finish at Epic League, they claim the lion’s share of the US$500,000 prize pool and take home US$200,000. Meanwhile, OG’s second-place finish earned them US$100,000.
The conclusion of Epic League also means that all teams are now going to gear up for the upcoming DPC restart in January 2021. Expect to see more roster moves from teams all over the world in the coming days.
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