image courtesy of Wykrhm
Another Beyond the Summit trademark event ended last night in Los Ageless with Virtus Pro achieving not only the tournament title, but also setting up a great challenge for themselves, where they didn’t repeat a pick up to the fifth game of the grand finals.
After they reached the grand finals at the Kiev Major Virtus Pro have been the subject of countless discussions. The True Sight episode that followed them through the Major caused a long trail of reddit posts and several remarks were made by the Virtus Pro players or even from the managerial staff. The players felt that Valve made them look like villains in a movie where OG are the well-mannered and grounded team. The Virtus Pro damaged public image drama lasted weeks after True Sight Episode 4 came out and it only stopped in the proximity of EPICENTER.
As the only CIS representative in the EPICENTER main event, VP were expected to have a formidable run at the event, however the Russians disappointed their fans on home turf and another subject for long debates made the top reddit page. Virtus Pro were pointed as one of the most predictable teams in terms of drafting. A few players talked about VP’s drafting predictability in their interviews with cybersports.com at EPICENTER. Asked about his thoughts on VP’s run in the main event , Danil 'Dendi' Ishutin said "it’s pretty easy to predict what VP are going to pick, and you can prepare for it. Those are strategies carried over from the previous patch […] VP go for what they’re confident in."
Ludwig 'zai' Wåhlberg pointed out that he wanted to play against Virtus Pro in Moscow, however that never happened because "they had a very lackluster performance. I am not sure if they didn't perform or their overall level just isn't that good" he said. "They are just not up to par with the other teams here with the way people are playing" Zai mentioned in his interview. One team, who got to play against VP at EPICENTER was Team Liquid, and after their series ended with Liquid taking the victory, when asked about VP ‘s run through the group stage and their hero pool, Ivan 'MinD_ContRoL' Borislavov said "It’s VP, they always play the same way, the same drafts, the same heroes. So we just beat them."
So, with so much talk about their limited hero pool and their rehashed strategies, Virtus Pro went to Dota Summit 7 with something special in mind for their opponents. They challenged themselves to play an Elimination Mode tournament where they wouldn’t repeat any pick for as long as possible.
During the five days event at the Beyond the Summit house Virtus Pro did just that and their performance is even more remarkable as they got dropped into the lower bracket on the second day of the event and fought their way back into the grand finals while sticking to the challenge. On their path to defending the Summit 6 championship title, VP eliminated Digital Chaos, NP, LGD Gaming and defeated Team Secret in the bo 5 grand finals with unrepeated drafts until the very last fifth game of the grand finals. Defending the title while their opponents knew exactly what they are trying to do, is truly a remarkable achievement for VP, who are now the Dota Summit 7 champions and one of the six directly invited team to The International 2017.
Team Secret did their best to play along VP’s game and tried to mess with their plan by picking or banning heroes that the Russians still hadn’t picked, but even so, VP forced a decisive game five and that was the point, where they broke the 'Elimination Mode' rule and picked in their very last game of the grand finals four heroes that they utilized before, namely in their first game of the upper bracket series against LGD Gaming.
Dark Seer, Sven, Warlock and Death Prophet were the four heroes used in both game one vs LGD and game five vs Team Secret, and those four heroes along with an Anti-Mage for Roman 'RAMZES666' Kushnarev allowed VP to defend their Summit title. On a side note, throughout the entire Dota Summit 7 event VP never drafted a few staple heroes of theirs. Ramzess never got to play Lycan, Lifestealer or Slark, Ilya 'Lil' Ilyuk never played his Visage or Chen, Vladimir 'No[o]ne' Minenko didn’t play Ember Spirit or Templar Assassin, while Pavel '9pasha' Khvastunov never played Abaddon.