At long, long last, Virtus Pro has a major Dota 2 tournament victory to hang their hat on. After a year of struggling to find that one, big, first-place finish, VP took home the trophy (and $500,000 first-place prize) at ESL One Hamburg’s Dota 2 Major by defeating Team Secret in the tournament’s grand finals.
It was a hard-fought, but still impressive, victory for the new champions.
Entering the finals, both squads looked strong, but not invulnerable. VP was a known commodity entering ESL One Hamburg, with their hyper-aggressive style forcing them into dicey situations and their unique drafts sometimes backfiring. The new look Secret isn’t quite as established stylistically, but fourth- and sixth-place finishes in the StarLadder iLeague Invitational and PGL Open Bucharest showed that they aren’t untouchable.
Early momentum was critical for a best-of-three series.
The first game began with massive momentum swings, with VP dominating the early ganks, Secret turning the tables with team fights and VP firing right back with pushes. It was pure chaos but nobody thrives in chaos like VP and as the game went on, they found the farm to make their lineup work and, as a result, took the win.
The second was more of the same, but while the first was something of a group effort, the second victory swung entirely on Pavel "9pasha" Khvastunov’s Sand King, which landed a number of fight-winning Burrowstrike-Epicenter combos to seal the game, the series. and the entire tournament.
This is a big win for Virtus Pro. While it has been regarded as an elite-level team for a long while, VP hasn’t had that singular tournament win to really hang its hat on, winning a number of smaller LANs while falling short of the top at Valve-sponsored events and bigger shows like Epicenter and the Dota 2 Asia Championships. Now, though, the kings of CIS Dota have their long-overdue first-place Major victory, and a whole mess of DPC qualifying points to go with it.
Changing of the Guard?
Compared to previous years, 2017’s post-International roster shuffle was a humble affair. Many of the highest-achieving teams, including Team Liquid, Virtus Pro, Newbee and LGD.Forever Young stayed completely intact. Other elite groups like Evil Geniuses, OG and LGD Gaming made just slight tweaks to their rosters.
The expectation among fans and (presumably) many players was for the best of 2017 to simply keep on cruising. To this point, those expectations have largely shaken out with many of the best groups maintaining the momentum they enjoyed before TI7.
That’s likely to change soon, though.
On November 1, the Dueling Fates update is set to drop, bringing two new heroes and (many expect) a potentially sizable balance patch. While VP, Liquid and the like are still incredibly talented teams, the game is changing soon. It will be fun to see who stays at the top, and who ends up sinking.
The Real Breakout Star of ESL One Hamburg? Mercedes-Benz
In many ways, ESL One Hamburg was a triumph for the Dota 2 scene. It was a stacked event with great teams that included some excellent games in front of a hot crowd, serving as a nice introduction to the new Dota Pro Circuit format. Fans will always find something to complain about, though, and for the first two days of the event, they honed in on the ads.
While most tournaments feature dead air, highlight reels or silly skits between matches, ESL One Hamburg had commercials for its surprisingly vast group of sponsors, most notably Mercedes-Benz. That’s fine in theory, but when the first day featured just four games, buffered by tens of minutes of ads, it was met with more than a little bit of grumping. When the best-of-threes began, the programming had a more conventional feel, with shorter commercial blocks but the snark endured.
Wisely, ESL and Mercedes-Benz steered into this, making tongue-in-cheek plugs for its E-class sedan on the air and over social media. Unsurprisingly, this was met with resounding positivity from fans and made the German car manufacturer a darling in the Dota 2 community, if only for a little while.
Regardless, ESL’s pool of sponsors--which also includes power players like StubHub and the United States Army alongside industry staples Lenovo and Red Bull--shows how well-regarded the organizer is relative to its peers, and how far esports has come at the mainstream level.
Dota Pro Circuit Standings After ESL One Hamburg Dota 2 Minor
The first major of the 2017-2018 Dota 2 season is now done and with that comes a massive shakeup in the DPC standings. The current rankings can be seen above, courtesy of Liquipedia’s DPC page.
Each player from VP earned a whopping 750 qualifying points (QP) with the win at ESL One Hamburg, while Secret earned 450. The two third-place teams, Team Liquid and Newbee both earned 150.
The top three places in the standings are now all held by teams that placed highly in hamburg (VP, Secret and Liquid), in a testament to how much more important Majors are to the DPC than Minors. Newbee, meanwhile, jumps all the way from being unranked to fifth place on its 150 QP. Mineski, meanwhile, stands at fourth, courtesy of first- and second-place finishes at the PGL Open Bucharest and StarLadder iLeague Invitational.
The next tournament on the calendar is the Dota PIT Minor, which begins on November, which will offer 150 points to its winner. Naturally, InvenGlobal.com will be here to cover the event, and its aftermath.
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