Russian Dota 2 powerhouse Virtus Pro defeated regional rivals Team Empire to win the first Mr. Cat Invitational.
The victory comes only three weeks after Virtus Pro took second place in at the Kiev Major, and reaffirms VP’s reputation as the strongest team in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The all-CIS region finals of the Mr. Cat Invitational, which was organized by joinDOTA and invited teams from across all of Europe, also gives the region a claim for being the strongest in Dota 2 right now.
Despite the relatively close scoreline—2-1, in favor of Virtus Pro—the series was obviously Virtus Pro’s to lose from the beginning. In game one, VP took their first lane of barracks in under 20 minutes en route to victory a few minutes later with a 21-4 kill spread. In game two, they seemed taken aback by Team Empire’s cheeky last pick Meepo for Vladimir “Chappie” Kuzmenko, conceding the one-sided game in under 30 minutes.
Unfazed, game three was a return to form for Virtus Pro, who took an early lead in the laning stage and never let up, converting early kills into an insurmountable advantage. By 20 minutes, VP already led by 10 kills and over 10,000 gold. Team Empire ultimately tapped out at 27 minutes, giving VP the championship.
The tournament was also notable for being the first tournament to conclude during the 7.06 era. Even so, though 7.06 is sure to radically alter Dota 2’s metagame over the coming weeks, the series between VP and Team Empire was relatively orthodox (so to speak). Though Razor and Dragon Knight returned to competitive play after long absences, none of the three drafts would have been out of place in 7.05.
Team Empire will have an opportunity for revenge on Saturday, when the team faces Virtus Pro in the group stages of DreamLeague Season 7.