At first, everyone thought that it was just a matter of time until the top competitors would break the playstyle code of Virtus.pro and Vikin.gg. But now we know for certain that the two underdogs that finished 1st and 2nd in the Group Stage of EPIC League Division 1 really are as strong as they seemed.
In this article, I will take a brief look at how they got to the Upper Bracket Final and what we’re about to see next.
Virtus.pro’s Results at EPIC League Division 1
At the start of EPIC League Division 1, Virtus.pro was known by many fans to be a team with great potential. VP is a prestigious name in CIS Dota and in spite of the complete roster change they made in recent months, everyone knew that their academy team (VP.Prodigy) had become even stronger than the main lineup. In May this year, VP.P finished 2nd in WePlay! Pushka League S1: Division 1.
After this tournament they went on to win Epic Prime League Season 1, defeating Virtus.pro in the Grand Final (3 – 0), and the results didn’t stop there. At the end of September, Save- and his crew played in the Grand Final of another important event, OGA Dota PIT S3: Europe/CIS. They lost 0 – 3 against Team Secret, but the achievement still indicated that they were a very strong competitor.
At the start of November, Virtus.pro got tired of Solo and the former roster and decided to give their academy team the chance to shine, and that’s exactly what they’re doing now.
Virtus.pro started the Group Stage of EPIC League Division 1 with victories against OG, Just Error, mudgolems, and Nigma. Then came their weak moment. On two consecutive days, they lost two consecutive matches. One against Vikin.gg and one against Liquid. In both cases, the score was 2 – 1 and the battle was fierce. After that, VP won 3 more matches, against Na’Vi, Secret, and Alliance. And thanks to all of these results, they won the round-robin.
In the Playoffs, VP started with another victory against Secret, a team they had already crushed in the Group Stage. The match ended in two quick games (33 and 28 minutes) and it was obvious from the start that VP was a much better team than Secret. The only problem is that nobody understands how that’s possible. Keep in mind, Secret recently won the esports team of the year award for its spectacular string of tournament victories it achieved in 2020: 7 trophies in a row and not a single game lost in 7 Bo5 Grand Finals. That’s the opponent Virtus.pro went up against in the round-robin and the Playoffs. And they won both times with ease.
Vikin.gg entered the tournament as a complete underdog. They flew under everyone’s radar even though they had won the title at BTS Pro Series Season 3: Europe/CIS, as well as DOTA Summit 13 Online: Europe and CIS.
Keep in mind that both of these tournaments were relatively small compared to EPIC League Division 1. There were only a couple of big names on their list of participants, so it’s understandable why everyone assumed that Vikin.gg’s results were a complete accident. They also explained the titles away by saying that the strong teams were undermotivated after other important achievements, while the weaker teams couldn’t really do much against Vikin.gg.
Then came EPIC League Division 1, which is a $500,000 event that takes place over one month and uses a round-robin format for the Group Stage, which means that everyone plays against everyone else. Surely, given the fact that the best 10 teams in Europe and CIS are taking part in the tournament, Vikin.gg doesn’t stand a chance. But the exact opposite happened.
Seleri and his crew, who have been playing together for more than a year (apart from BOOM), started with 4 consecutive wins: Liquid, Secret, mudgolems, and OG miraculously managed to lose against this underdog. And immediately, the whole community changed its opinion and started to regard Vikin.gg as a team of real Vikings. Bookmakers, analysts, and fans alike, all reassessed their first impression. At this point, Vikin.gg is a scary team and is regarded as the favorite in most match-ups.
The complete results of the squad for the Group Stage of EPIC League Division 1 are the following:
- Victory against Liquid (2 – 1)
- Victory against Secret (2 – 0)
- Victory against mudgolems (2 – 1)
- Victory against OG (2 – 0)
- Defeat against Alliance (0 – 2)
- Victory against Virtus.pro (2 – 1)
- Victory against Just Error (2 – 1)
- Defeat against Nigma (1 – 2)
- Defeat against Natus Vincere (1 – 2)
Alliance and Nigma are already out of the race. Furthermore, Na’Vi, the only team that managed to beat them, is in the Lower Bracket because they lost to them in the Upper Bracket Round 1 and will only be able to cause them problems again in the Lower Bracket Finals (earliest) or in the Grand Final, if both teams make it that far. Because of this, I think that Vikin.gg has a huge opportunity to win its first important tournament ever.
These are the matches scheduled for December 10th and 11th.
Team Secret – Team Liquid (Lower Bracket, December 10th)
Team Secret has already encountered Team Liquid in EPIC League Division 1. Not once, but twice. And they won both times without losing a single game. Given how strong Puppey’s team can be, I think they’re the clear favorite for this 3rd match as well.
Natus Vincere – OG (Lower Bracket, December 10th)
Natus Vincere almost defeated Vikin.gg in the first match of the Playoffs. On top of that, they managed to win their match against them in the round-robin. By contrast, OG got crushed by them. That’s one reference point. As for OG’s direct match against Na’Vi from the Group Stage of EPIC League, the result of that match was 2 – 0 in favor of OG. And that’s the only reason why I believe we might see a close battle. When you look at the overall results, Na’Vi seems to be the clear favorite.
Virtus.pro – Vikin.gg (Upper Bracket, December 11th)
They already met each other once at this tournament and Vikin.gg won. This will probably be a very difficult battle for both teams, but I do believe that in the end, Vikin.gg is going to win.