Team Russia are your WESG 2017 world champions

Dota 2 Hitanshu “Anomalina” Budhwani

Image courtesy of WESG

During their dominant run in the Dota Pro Circuit this season Virtus.pro, representing their country Russia, add another feather to the cap as victors in the World Cup of Dota 2 tournaments today at WESG 2017.

In what has sealed their title as the most fearsome team this season, the Russian squad Virtus.pro (with their Ukrainian mid player Vladimir "No[o]ne" Minenko replaced with Igor "iLTW" Filatov from Team Effect) managed to power through the Brazilian squad paiN Gaming in their full lineup, to claim the $800,000 first place prize (greater than any Major or Minor in the Pro Circuit) and also the pride of claiming the title of the strongest Dota 2 region in the world for their country.

In an unusual best-of-three Grand Finals rather than the customary best-of-five series, the Russians faced some unexpected hurdles brought forth by the Brazilians, who strived hard from start to finish but finally bowed out with smiles on their face at having the opportunity of facing the Pro Circuit leaderboards that no other South American team has managed to achieve so far.

Grand Finals

Game 1

Virtus.pro started off with a heavy sustain and push lineup with an Omniknight and Lycan pick that paiN Gaming tried to counter with an Ancient Apparition, held together by meta picks Gyrocopter and Death Prophet made in the first phase itself. It did not help, however, as Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev managed to run through their entire team with Shapeshift and take out the AA first every time, ending the game with zero deaths. The offlane Nature's Prophet played by Otavio "Tavo" Gabriel made an unusual Aghanim's Scepter purchase to clear out the enemy creepwaves at the tap of a button and fend off the Russians' eventual high ground siege, but eventually got caught out. William "hFn" Medeiros tried to hold on one last time with a Rapier pickup on his Gyrocopter, the sole hero that his team relied on to carry them to victory, but dropped it as he died in a matter of seconds during their last defense and eventual GG call.

Game 2

With this game, the Brazilians proved that they were not here to give in easily and stormed through Virtus.pro with a networth advantage right at the start. With a stellar performance on his Beastmaster worthy of the title of match MVP, Tavo made some excellent decisions, splitting his time between farming and split pushing with near-perfect execution. Towards the 30 minute mark, it seems they were on the verge of a 322 as they lost both their cores in a teamfight, but quickly recovered not long after, wiping out the entire Russian team a second time and forcing a game 3 out of this best-of-three series.

Game 3

Not hindered by a surprising loss at the hands of the little known Brazillian squad, Team Russia boldly repeated their core picks from game 2 with Death Prophet, Doom and Troll Warlord, and surged through to a comfortable victory. After both teams won their respective safe lanes and drew in the middle lane, the Russians slowly started to gain a considerable advantage, picking off both cores and supports from paiN Gaming while only letting their supports tank their ganks when they could. Their changeup in the support pick Naga Siren proved useful, as they pushed towards the high ground 30 minutes into the game, with a Troll Warlord armed with a Double Damage rune and Cheese, that quickly turned around Tavo's initiation with the Batrider into a deadly Song of the Siren followed by three-man Meteor Hammer combo that ended the game as quickly as the fight started.

Third place decider

After losing to the grand finalists yesterday in the semi-finals, the representatives of Greece Team Hellas (ex-Mousesports players) with Tasos "Focus-" Michailidis standing in as their position 1 player, faced up against the last hope of China, Rock.Y in a best-of-three third place decider that made the difference between a $150,000 and $70,000 reward that neither team was willing to pass on easily. However, the more experienced team in the Valve organized events of the past years came out on top as the clear winners in a quick 2-0 victory over the Chinese team.

Game 1

The Greeks made quick work of the Sven pickup of the enemy team, a forgotten hero in today's meta, with a deadly Chaos Knight and Death Prophet, both of which won their lanes and propelled their early game advantage flawlessly into a comfortable 23 minute victory, leaving no chance for Rock.Y's cores to come online or have any significant impact.

Game 2

This game was not as straightforward as the first one, as the Chinese squad gained a small networth advantage in the early game that was partly due to the Greeks' decision to go for an aggressive trilane with their Terrorblade, Witch Doctor and Elder Titan against the enemy's safe lane Luna, Ancient Apparition and Sand King. Their loss in this lane allowed their opponent's advantage to steadily climb, which they gave away twice, once at the 25-minute mark and again at the 34-minute mark. With their hopes pinned on their Luna played by Chunpo "Gintoki-Wave" Li, Rock.Y inched forward but kept getting shut down by Harris "SkyLark" Zafeiriou's Legion Commander, who ended the game with a decent 136 duel damage

Thus ended the long-awaited, global scale Dota 2 tournament that took the "World Cup" formula and applied it to the field of eSports, allowing players to represent their country rather than their respective organisations. The result was the Russians ending the tournament with smiles on their faces while wearing comical and colorful onesies, indicating that even when they take things a little casually, they breeze through the competition with ease.


Is Virtus.pro the team most likely to win The International 8?

Yes, they're also the only team consistently beating Team Liquid
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No, its too early to say and the competition is very close at the top
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Hitanshu “Anomalina” Budhwani


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