Vici Gaming beat Virtus Pro in Major-winner melee at TI9

Dota Pro Circuit Major winners duked it out in the group stage.

dota 2 ti9 group stage vici gaming
Photo via EPICENTER

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The battle between two championship hopefuls started the day in Group B. Vici Gaming took down Virtus Pro today to maintain their flawless record.

With Team Secret in Group A, Vici and VP are the only Major winners butting heads in the group stage. The quality of Dota 2 on display didn’t disappoint. Both teams put on a show for the viewers, but Vici were always one step ahead.

Related: TI9 team preview: Vici Gaming set their sights on the prize

Game one was a constant back and forth, but the CIS juggernauts took an early game lead. Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko, in particular, kept VP ahead, dominating his counterpart and making intelligent rotations to other lanes.

Vici had a ticking time bomb in Zhang “Paparazi灬” Chengjun’s Morphling. The hero is usually picked up as a counter to Gyrocopter, which VP had in their lineup. Conventional knowledge, however, didn’t prevail when Paparazi picked up an Aghanim’s Scepter as his second core item.

While Morphling’s Scepter upgrade has received a few nerfs, Paparazi immediately showcased the strength of the item. Instead of morphing into the enemy Gyrocopter, the Vici carry transformed into his Earthshaker ally, proceeding to destroy the teamfight.

The dual lockdown potential of the Earthshaker and the Morphling caused huge problems for the Russian squad.

While VP tried their hardest to swing the momentum back in their favor, Paparazi’s Morphling was more than ready to put the team on his back. After a few more back-and-forth teamfights, Paparazi stamped his mark on the game with a fortuitous Double Damage rune, culminating in a rampage through VP.

Game two was another sublime showing from the Vici cores. Paparazi took a more active hero, Leshrac, to set up moves around the map, while Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang was content to farm hard and fast on Medusa. But the true star of the show was Vici’s offlaner Zhou “Yang” Haiyang.

While Vici’s dual swords were sharp, Yang was the whetstone that set everything up. Paparazi and Ori were free to output massive amounts of magical and physical damage, while Yang constantly disabled enemy cores with a premier Sand King performance

Vici’s only challenger in Group B appears to be OG. OG follows closely behind in the standings with a 5-1 record.

To find out who will be on top after the end of day two, keep an eye on our results and standings page for TI9’s group stage.