In last night's Dota Asia Championships, the home-crowd team LGD Gaming was in a bit of a bind against Virtus.Pro. The high ground of their base was broken and VP was knocking on the door, but LGD did have one thing left: the element of surprise.
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The 2017 season was a heartbreaking one for Virtus.Pro. They took home solid tournament wins, but when it came to the majors, VP always came up just short of the mark.
After this weekend in Hamburg, the CIS team can feel a little vindicated by opening their 2018 campaign with a statement: Things won't be the same as last season.
OG might have been favourites heading into Valve's Dota 2 Major hosted in Kiev, but they certainly didn't look it by game five of the grand finals. Arguably the more talented team, and certainly the more experienced, it wasn't until a fateful team fight in the 39th minute of the final match that the European squad re-discovered their inner champions.
The ELEAGUE Major 2017 seemed to be missing something. People scattered across social media were surprised by the quality of the matches but felt like the event was missing the gravitas and pageantry of a true Major. But then Astralis and Virtus.pro put on one of the best shows a CS:GO major in recent memory.
It's been a pretty good month for Virtus.pro. The team got flown to Melbourne for a bit of extra cash at the Crown Invitational and they're one of the outside favourites to take the upcoming Dreamhack major for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
But the latest development is even bigger. It might, in fact, be one of the largest investments in a team to date with Alisher Usmanov's investment corporation, USM Holdings, injecting what could total over US$100 million into the organisation.
With numbers often comes power. That's at least the logic behind the creation of the latest union featuring several of Europe's most prominent and recognisable (but not all) professional gaming teams. But in a letter sent to eSports organisers, and since released to the public, the union has outlined some demands that seem a little detached from reality.