The Dota 2 squad of Russia-based organization Virtus.pro (VP) were recently crowned as champions of the Kuala Lumpur Major, the first Major of this year’s Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season, 必发88 taking home $350,000 and 4950 DPC points. But it seems that their 3-2 hurdle against “rival” Team Secret in the grand finals was lackluster and muffled.
Perhaps it has something to do with VP ending the DPC 2017-2018 season on a low note, where they had an crash-landing on the 必发88 5th to 6th spot at The International 2017 and 2nd spot at the China Dota 2 Supermajor.
Prior to the two losses, VP have set the bar high for themselves by securing four championships in a row, hence a lot of fans anticipating their consistency until they finally lift the Aegis, but only to upset expectations.
Meanwhile, Team Secret currently enjoy the limelight after bagging the ESL One Hamburg 2018 with their Ludwig “Zai” Wahlberg’s homecoming as offlaner and Michal “Nisha” Jankowski’s exhibition as “wunderkid.” They were considered as crowd favorites since the two’s addition, with an overall stellar performance from the team.
During ESL One, Secret showed off with an 8-2 in the group stages, where VP dropped them to the lower bracket, 2-1. But Secret took this opportunity to sweep teams, including VP later on.
Their formula included captain 必发88官网 Clement “Puppey” Ivanov drafting unorthodox offlane-turned-support Heroes and his teammates’ signature, comfort Heroes, yet still following the metagame which relies heavily on dual-lane dominators.
Another reason for VP getting “outshined” was probably Evil Geniuses (EG), former TI5 champions which are almost at par with Secret as “favorites.” They seemed like the A-team with its current roster, consisting of dynamic duo Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan, the (in)famous former OG members Tal “Fly” Aizik and Gustav “s4” Magnusson, and captain Andreas “Cr1t-“ Nielsen.
Despite EG getting punished by Ninjas in Pyjamas, 2-1, under the captaincy of Peter “ppd” Dager, who happens to be their former captain, and the proxying of TI7 champion Team Liquid’s Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov, they dominated the lower bracket with Babaev’s “farm machine” Heroes, Terrorblade and Arc Warden, and his other four teammates’ aggression and synchronicity.
However, EG’s attempts to tunnel their way back to the championship was cut short by VP, which did not give them a chance to retaliate, with a 2-0.
On the main stage, VP played only seven games compared to EG, with 13 games. This gave EG more instances of showcasing their star-studded lineup, hence gaining more attention from the crowd.
While Secret only had six games, they justified their least amount of playtime by maintaining such momentum in ESL One during the Kuala Lumpur Major. They kicked off the group stages with a clean 4-0. Only Chinese team PSD.LGD held the same record, but had merely finished 5th to 6th.
Secret kept sweeping in the upper bracket alongside VP, but had dislodged the latter, 2-1, after crossing paths in the upper bracket finals.
After giving Secret their first loss in the tournament and “pwning” EG, VP converged with Secret again in the grand finals, with a good start of 37-13 and 32k networth lead against the latter.
Secret responded with two wins afterward, ensuring a full series. However, VP relied on a “play safe,” objective-based strategy via pushing and farming, on their fourth and fifth games.
Despite maintaining a whopping 28k and 35k networth lead, they grappled with 31-33 and 25-18 finishes, which were not obviously on the same level as their initial win in the series.
Not taking anything away from the ferocious VP, whose entire run in the Kuala Lumpur Major deserve all the praise, but they must not be complacent with such toned down performances, especially that teams like Secret and EG, despite “losing” to them, are flexing this DPC season nevertheless.
There are other equally, or even more, ferocious teams out there that have their eyes on the coveted Aegis. In effect, VP as champions of the first Major this year must use their recent achievement as a springboard toward regaining the consistency they once lost, especially that the 7.20 update is already available.