Virtus.pro players have arrived in Moscow and Saints Petersburg on numerous occasions during the last few seasons – with a great success every time. The Poles have won both Adrenaline events, and also claimed the title of the two-times vice-champions of EPICENTER series.
2016 – Moscow, Adrenaline Open Cyber Cup show-match
Virtus.pro have faced Natus Vincere - who had to play with a stand-in - in the first Russian event. As Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács faced visa issues, he was temporarily replaced by Na'Vi's coach and a former player Sergey "starix" Ischuk.
The show-match was held in a best-of-3 format on the VDNKh's 75's pavilion with the prize pool of $30 000. The first map of the match (Mirage) was dragged into the overtime, from which the Poles have emerged victorious (22:18). Worth to note that Snax dropped a 40-bomb on that map!
On the second map (Train) Virtus.pro have managed to claim the initiative right away – ending the map with a score of 16:4.
The AdrenalineCyber's twitch.tv stream scored more than 60 thousands of viewers at its peak, and the live broadcast on a “Vkontakte” social platform gathered more than 25 thousands of concurrent views.
2016 – Мoscow, EPICENTER 2016
In the October of 2016, the Polish boys found their way to Moscow yet again. This time – to take part in a major international tournament EPICENTER 2016.
8 teams have participated in the series with a prize pool of $500 000. The event was held in the VTB Ice Palace with a seating capacity of 13 thousands of viewers.
Virtus.pro players found themselves in the same group with SK Gaming, fnatic, and HellRaisers. In the very first map, the Poles managed to break the curse by defeating the Brazilians with the score of 2:0. A very important milestone considering that their previous encounters have always favored SK.
Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski: “We managed to defeat SK Gaming despite only being able to take occasional maps in the past. Sometimes, we just weren't lucky. For instance, Overpass with a smoke getting stuck in the tunnel. A few months ago, we said that we'll able to defeat the Brazilians should we manage to break them, and today we did just that. SK are not that strong psychologically, except for Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo. He is a strong leader. We assumed that the first defeat against us would shatter their confidence. SK have a great experience of playing on LANs, but they're strangers to losing.”
The matches against HellRaisers and fnatic both ended in a draw. Our team finished first in their group and secured a spot in the semi-final. On the path towards the grand final, our team was once again challenged by SK Gaming, reiterating the group stage's victory and cementing their success.
The semi-final ended in favor of Virtus.pro with a score of 2:1, despite the crushing defeat on the first map (Train, 1:16 in favor of the Brazilian team).
VP have faced Team Dignitas, who have previously upset fnatic (2:1) in the quarter- and Natus Vincere (2:1) in the semi-finals. The Dutch were defeated on Nuke, but then tied the score on Cobblestone (16:5), and cemented their victory on Mirage (16:5).
Virtus.pro have claimed the second place and won $100 000 after not being able to handle two opponents in one day. Their game showed that the semi-final against SK Gaming took its toll on the Polish Five.
2017 – Moscow, Adrenaline Cyber League 2017
Virtus.pro CS:GO roster returned to Moscow on June 2017. This time, the Poles had an Adrenaline Cyber League series ahead of them – with 4 participants and the prize pool of $100 000.
Besides Virtus.pro, HellRaisers, Flipsid3 Tactics and Natus Vincere all had their eyes on the prize. Even when the Poles and the “born to win” were separated by the tournament's brackets, they were destined to repeat the previous year's show match in the grand final.
VP have defeated HR after a series of back-and-forth maps, dropping Cache (13:16), and then winning on Train (16:13) and Mirage (16:11).
The final between Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere turned out to be a real nail-biter. The Poles convincingly wrecked their opponents on the first map (Nuke, 16:2), but Na'Vi's Train prevented the series from ending so abruptly. The teams had to play three overtimes to find the strongest, with CIS roster finally emerging victorious.
The Title of the Champions was decided on Mirage. VP have started on the offense, showing great Counter-Strike gameplay by taking 9 rounds. After the side-swap, the Poles almost effortlessly cemented their triumph by only dropping two rounds out of nine played – 16:8. The first place and $65 000 for Virtus.pro!
Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski became the tournament's MVP. He has shown great results not only in the match against HellRaisers but also in the battle against Natus Vincere.
2017 – Saints Petersburg, EPICENTER 2017
A year later after EPICENTER 2016, the Poles returned to Russia to participate in the second EPICENTER CS:GO series. As always, 8 teams took part in the tournament, and the prize pool remained unchanged at $500 000.
The main difference was the tournament's venue - Yubileyny Sports Palace, St. Petersburg.
Virtus.pro once again were put in the same group as SK Gaming, and also with FaZe Clan and Gambit Esports. After the loss against SK, many turned their backs on our team, but the guys proved them wrong.
First, VP have claimed victory over Gambit in a three-map series, winning Inferno (16:6) and Cache (16:13), and then faced FaZe, who previously lost to SK Gaming with a score of 1:2. That was the breaking point.
Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski on the victory against Gambit: “First of all, I would like to say that NEO showed a phenomenal game for the first time in a while. He demonstrated great results and made crucial plays in all three maps. I hope NEO will keep playing like this in the upcoming games – it is vital for us. To win, we always need such a player at the peak of their form.”
The match against FaZe Clan – the key to the play-offs – was really similar to the last year's semi-final against the Brazilian team. The Poles were badly trashed on the first map (2:16), but not only tied the score on Cobblestone (16:11) but cemented the victory on Inferno (16:13).
Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski on the round that brought him victory over FaZe Clan: “The clock had around 20 seconds remaining, I was on Mid, trying to get back to B. But the guys said we should just save, since we were divided – I was near A, and they – on B. But then, suddenly, we took two kills in an instant – I caught someone out on the lower pit, byali – on B. This allowed us to take the round – the opponents were shocked, and we won!”
VP were challenged by the French team G2 Esports in the finals. The Poles have shown a convincing Cache (16:9), but then suddenly dropped Nuke (14:16), before ultimately emerging victorious from the last map of the series (Inferno) with a score of 16:10 in their favor.
Virtus.pro advance to the grand final literally exploded the social media. The majority of the analysts, casters, and players did not miss out!
SK против VP в финале Эпицентра...А можно их в понедельник еще раз на футбол отправить?— Vitalii Volochai (@v1lat) October 28, 2017
SK against VP in the EPICTENTER's finals...
Can they also play football on Monday once again?
How do you say Grand Final in Polish again? Jesus what an epic story this is already— Anders Blume (@OnFireAnders) October 28, 2017
Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski on the advance to the EPICENTER 2017 finals: “At the beginning of the year, we won DreamHack Las Vegas, and before that, had the chance to take the Atlanta's Major, but couldn't. After that, we hit a period of slump, but we feel no pressure from the organization and the fans. It comes only from the haters. The biggest part of my motivation comes from the fact that I'm playing in Russia. It is, most likely, the most important series for our organization, besides the Majors, because that's where our fans are. We have to win, the time has come. Everyone wants to win in Russia.”
VP were challenged by SK Gaming in the final. The match was played in a best-of-5 format and was a real cherry on top of the series. Both teams showed their best throughout all 5 maps and brought the viewers a ton of highlights!
The battle has been opened up with the Poles' victory on Mirage (16:10). The Brazilians tied the score on Inferno (6:16) and claimed the lead by winning the overtime on Train (16:19).
After that, Virtus.pro have once again closed the distance on Cache (16:12) but ultimately lost the title in the second set of overtime on Cobblestone (18:22).
Author: Anton Kozlov