Over the weekend, Virtus.pro earned its first grand Counter-Strike title of the year by securing DreamHack Masters Las Vegas in spectacular fashion.
The win is a testament to the amount of hard work put in by the team after experiencing the worst struggles in its history. About the same time last year, the Polish squad failed to qualify for the third season of the ESL Pro League. In the months to follow, Virtus.pro had taken on a tired appearance. Fast forward to the present and the team looks completely reinvigorated, and better than ever.
After losing to Astralis in the finals of last month’s ELEAGUE Major, veteran Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas claimed that his team would return with a vengeance. Virtus.pro fulfilled that promise on the weekend when it completely crushed Astralis in the semifinals of DreamHack Masters Las Vegas by going 16-3 on Nuke and 16-4 on Train.
It would then face the might of SK Gaming in the grand finals. Virtus.pro picked Cobblestone as the first map but struggled from the Counter-Terrorist side, allowing SK Gaming to gain a significant lead by half-time. Though Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski showed resistance and tried to reduce the lead by shutting down the Brazilian side in various rounds, SK Gaming finally closed the map out with a score of 16-8.
The second map was Train, a favorite of SK Gaming. The Brazilians looked strong and well coordinated as they picked up a minor early lead. Not to be discouraged, Virtus.pro fought back to shutdown any intention on the part of SK Gaming of doubling its lead like it did in the first map. As such, Virtus.pro began the second half with the lead of three rounds. Despite some fabulous play by SK Gaming, it was Virtus.pro that took the game 16-11 to force the third map.
Mirage saw TaZ going beast mode, particularly in round 26 where he tied up the game by coming out victorious in a last-man situation against João “Felps” Vasconcellos and Epitácio “TACO” de Melo. The clutch broke the economy of SK Gaming, giving Virtus.pro the advantage it needed. The Polish squad powered on and closed Mirage out 16-13 to win the series 2-1.
Virtus.pro has indeed made up for lost time. Where other teams part ways when they begin struggling, the Polish Counter-Strike members stuck together and are now contenders for first place.