Virtus.pro are 3 time champs as they take ESL One Birmingham Major by storm
Photo courtesy of ESL
Virtus.pro prove to be completely unstoppable with an undefeated journey through ESL One Birmingham Major to clinch another Major title and ultimately become the TI8 favorite contenders.
ESL One Birmingham Major brought to an end the hopes of OpTic Gaming and Fnatic to receive a TI8 invite, sent some of the tournament giants home early, saw paiN Gaming reaching for the stars in a fantastic run and gave Virtus.pro their third ESL One championship title and their third Mercedes Benz.
The last day of the event started out with the Third Place Decider series between paiN Gaming and Fnatic. Although neither team had anything to gain other than prestige from the DPC points awarded, the series was just as exciting and dramatic as if everything was on the line. Pushing things to a third game, both teams showed just how much they have improved over the course of the season and are looking to be top contenders in their respective regional qualifiers. William "hFn " Medeiros's spectacular performance in the first match was flawless as the Brazilian team took the first game and advantage. Abed "Abed" Yosup's Dragon Knight and Jacky "EternalEnvy" Mao's Leshrac destroyed the South Americans in the second game to tie up the series. In the end, it all came down to an exciting match that favored paiN Gaming in the late game and handed them their victory. The team walked away with the $100,000 prize and 225 DPC points to boost their esteem and confidence.
OpTic Gaming's run through the group stage and the brackets were nothing short of impressive. The North American team has made significant strides through the course of the Pro Circuit Dota 2 2017-2018 season and were aiming for a second DPC championship title along with the highly coveted TI8 invite that would accompany such a feat.
The rising NA team had an uphill battle to fight for such an accomplishment, facing off against Virtus.pro — two-time and defending champion of ESL One Majors. As was expected, VP went through to the Grand Finals without dropping a single match. Their results and dazzling playstyle have put the CIS team on a level above all others.
The first game of the best-of-five series, OpTic Gaming had a really (understated) rocky start as Virtus.pro destroyed them in 29 minutes. By 27 minutes in the CIS team had a 20k gold lead and were ahead by 26:7 in kills. There was nothing at all that the North American team was able to do after the mid-game as VP snowballed too quickly after taking little advantages and turning them into big ones.
The second match was much closer and ended up being the lost game of the entire tournament, taking just under one hour to close out. A masterful draft and new game plan for OpTic gave them a great laning phase and early game. Their team movements were fantastic and they were prioritizing objectives to continue to build their advantage. Looking infinitely better, the game could have gone in their favor as many expected, however, a well calculate and controlled high ground seize about 32 minutes in by Virtus.pro would even things out again and after another almost 30 minutes of back and forth swings and turns, filled with tension, VP closed things out at 59 minutes with a 15k gold lead.
The last match of the series started heavily in VP's favor with a 5:0 lead in less than five minutes. In less than 20 minutes, Virtus.pro closed out the game in the same aggressive style and perfect execution that has been a cornerstone of their success.