A look at the teams for ESL One Cologne: Part 4 – Virtus.pro
The last team in group D is the legend team, Virtus.pro, a team that needs little introduction. While there is a lot of results to look at from the team I’ll focus on the most recent and back to Copenhagen Games 2015.
Copenhagen Games 2015 was not a stacked tournament and aside from Virtus.pro the only other top team attending was Team SoloMid, with some mid-tier teams as Dignitas, FlipSid3, LGB eSports and Gamers2. Team SoloMid and Virtus.Pro clashed in the upper final in a really close match which the Poles won 12:16 (Mirage), 16:14 (Nuke), 16:14 (Cache), and they faced each other again in the Grand final where they quite convincingly won 16:14 (Cobblestone), 16:10 (Inferno).
ESL Pro League 1 they faced Team SoloMid again, and with cadiaN instead of device, however, while being a weaker team Team SoloMid edged out a victory 16:12 (Overpass), 14:16 (Cache), 16:12 (Mirage). In the lower bracket the faced Natus Vincere, who after losing the first match absolutely destroyed the Poles 5:16 (Cache), 16:4 (Mirage), 16:9 (Inferno) with both flamie, Edward and GuardiaN playing as absolute beasts, who always won the event.
At ESEA Invite Season 18 Global Finals the Poles put up an impressive display. First they dispatched of Nihilum 16:7 (Cache), 16:13 (Inferno), then they played mousesports’ pre-PENTA-trio who despite some insane plays from NiKo was unable to mount a defense, and the Poles won 16:6 (Mirage), 16:11 (Cache). In the upper final they faced Titan who after putting up an impressive play on Nuke fell 16:11 (Nuke), 13:16 (Cache), 4:16 (Inferno). In the Grand final they faced FNATIC who lost to the Poles 14:16 (Season), 16:9 (Inferno) 13:16 (Cache), and while Virtus.pro won the event it must be said that at the time the only event where Season was in the rotation was at the ESEA league, and it therefore was much more random then if it had been a more practiced map as e.g. Mirage or Overpass.
At FACEIT League 2015 Stage 1 Virtus.pro got in the same group as eLevate, Natus Vincere and Team SoloMid, and while they won 2:0 over eLevate it was by no means a stellar performance as it ended 16:14 (Nuke), 16:10 (Cobblestone). When they faced Team SoloMid they did play fairly good closing Team SoloMid down 16:4 (Mirage), 6:16 (Inferno), 16:12 (Overpass). In the semifinal they faced Ninjas in Pyjamas who the Poles lost to 6:16 (Inferno), 16:5 (Overpass), 16:14 (Cache) and the loss was not due to the swedes playing above and beyond their usual standard, but both Snax and pashaBiceps was underperforming quite heavily.
Ten days later at GFINITY Spring Masters 2 they smashed Cloud9 16:9 (Cache), 16:7 (Train), but when they faced their next opponent Titan, they got outplayed quite severely 16:4 (Cobblestone), 16:10 (Mirage). When they faced the next team of Frenchmen, EnVyUs, the Poles won in a very convincing fashion with 16:10 (Train), 16:4 (Cache), and continued the form against the Aussies from Immunity with 16:7 (Cache), 16:4 (Mirage).
They played Natus Vincere in the semifinal, which Virtus.pro was able to win in two very close maps 19:17 (Train), 25:22 (Inferno). In the Grand final the swedes from FNATIC was waiting, and they wanted revenge from the ESEA final, and the Poles were unable to replicate the result from ESEA resulting in a FNATIC win 16:10 (Cobblestone), 16:9 (Cache), 19:16 (Dust2).
The next major event was GFINITY Summer Masters 1 where first faced the new mousesports’ lineup, where the Germans came out on top with 22:20 (Cobblestone), 16:5 (Cache), then Virtus.pro faced Cloud9 who they beat 16:13 (Overpass), 16:5 (Dust2). Their last of the groups was again against mousesports, and mouesports was able to edge out a win again 15:19 (Dust2), 16:13 (Mirage), 22:20 (Train), while it was a somewhat disappointment for Virtus.pro it was mainly due to nobody knowing how strong mousesports actually was.
ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 was the tournament of upsets with both Team SoloMid and FNATIC losing their first game, and they had to play each other in an elimination match. Virtus.pro’s group consisted of Luminosity Gaming, EnVyUs and Cloud9, and they started out with beating Luminosity Gaming 16:4 (Cobblestone), and continued in the same style against Cloud9 16:10 (Overpass). In the semifinal they faced FNATIC due to the upsets in the other group, and while they lost 16:12 (Cache), 3:16 (Overpass), 9:16 (Dust2) they could just as well have ended up playing Team SoloMid, who they had ha good matchup record against, if just one of the upsets hadn’t happened, and FNATIC went on to win the event.
FACEIT League 2015 Stage 2 at DreamHack Valencia was a shocking event if you was cheering for Virtus.pro with the first losing to Natus Vincere 16:12 (Overpass), and then in the group elimination match facing the new Kinguin team who played the close on the first two maps, and then utterly destroyed the Poles on the last making the result 17:21 (Train), 16:12 (Dust2), 16:0 (Cache), and while Kinguin played well it was also a malfunctioning Virtus.pro where the communication was absolutely not there, and it looked like there was some big internal problems
Just a little more than a week after the FACEIT it was time for CEVO Professional Season 7 where the players would be able to redeem themselves, and show that the previous event was a glitch.
Their first match was against Tempo Storm who they beat 16:9 (Train), 16:13 (Cache), and moving on to Natus Vincere who they beat 19:15 (Overpass), 16:5 (Train) partly due to immense performances by NEO and pashaBiceps and in part due to both flamie and seized playing under their usual level. In the semifinal they faced Cloud9 who lost to the Poles 5:16 (Train), 16:7 (Cache), 11:16 (Inferno). In the Grand final they faced Natus Vincere once again, with only a short break between their Cloud9 match and the Bo5 Grand final, however, Virtus.pro showed that they are a team who are to be counted among the very best.
With both NEO and pashaBiceps playing extremely well they won the Bo5 16:8 (Overpass), 16:11 (Cache), 7:16 (Cobblestone), 19:15 (Mirage) and I highly recommend you watch NEO’s utterly ridicules pistol ace from a 2v4, or pashaBiceps’ 1v4.
Virtus.pro can be an unplayable opponent who can win against any team, however, they do also have days where they can be beaten by inferior opponents, and while it is a lineup with a lot of firepower, and as well as having played together for a very long time. All of their players are versatile, and they do have the overall skill level to allow one of them to have a bad game against most opponents, but from an outside perspective when they go on tilt it rarely looks as it is due to one person playing poorly, but more to the team dynamics and communications seems to falter.
While Team SoloMid seems to be FNATIC’s kryptonite then Virtus.pro appears to be theirs, and while they’ve recently lost to mousesports and Kinguin it is not results that I would give too much value.
With the amount of tournaments the team has attended, and with almost every top team have had one or even two bad events, it does not really show a weakened team as it seems like an issue that every team runs into. Aside from the stars NEO and pashaBiceps one of the most enjoyable players to watch is Snax who has an understanding and timing with smokes that is absolutely stunning. Their recent change with NEO picking up the AWP instead of pashaBiceps did also seem to play off at their last event.
In terms of maps they are a very well-rounded team, they are strong on Mirage, Overpass, Train, and until recently I would also have said that their Cache was a strong map for them, but with their resent results on it does not suggest that they would win most matchups on it. Their decent maps are Inferno, Cache and Dust2 where Dust2 usually was the map that they banned, but from the matches they have played on it the last couple of months they do look fairly decent on it. Their worst map is Cobblestone, while they was ahead on Cobblestone for a while after the rework of it, then they have lost that edge now, but with their Train being so strong they are in a good position map wise.
While I think that Virtus.pro is one of the best teams atm., I highly doubt that they will be able to win ESL One Cologne unless they face of Team SoloMid in the Grand final, but if they face EnVyUs or FNATIC I would put my money on one of them instead. They do however stand a good chance to finish at least 4th, and I do expect the Poles to put on a good display, and they are usually a fun team to watch.
Links taken from HLTV.org and Liquipedia.