Virtus.Pro have long been considered a tier one team and are consistently a feared competitor at the Valve organised majors – their fabled comeback against a seemingly unstoppable North side was undoubtedly their game of the tournament at the ELEAGUE Major.
It is not often in a game of top tier Counter-Strike that a player takes 29 frags in a half and goes on to lose the match. Emil “Magisk” Reif played out of his mind against Virtus.Pro, the side considered to be amongst the favourites heading into the ELEAGUE major.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and With a KD ratio of 37/19, the 18 year old Dane delivered the game of his life when it mattered most… only to succumb to an all too familiar stumble at the final hurdle. However, the game was not won and lost by the young Dane, but rather the tenacity and perseverance of Virtus.Pro to allow the North side one round in the latter half to round the game and the series out, 16-13.
Virtus.Pro have always had a unique talent in their successes, able to shut out a lesser team, where superstar teams like Ninjas in Pyjamas and Astralis repeatedly struggle to repeat the feat. Admittedly, the comeback would have been impossible had it not been for several factors, such as the map bias working in the favour of the Poles, or possession of the defensive side of Cobblestone.
Yet the decisive factor, key to the successes of the veterans, was undoubtedly Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski and his unparalleled plays on the Mag-7 shotgun, managing rounds with up to 3 frags on the weapon, which not only allows a much healthier bank account for himself, but demoralises the attacking team to no end after being beaten by a strategy which would be considered by many to be absurd.
This unlikely victory, on the back of a resilient effort almost unmatched in majors, led the Poles to a semi final berth to face FaZe. After defeating the Europeans in a comfortable fashion, VP went onto the final to face an immaculate looking Astralis side.
After 3 close maps, ending with two 16-14 defeats, the Danes of Astralis deservedly clinched their first major title – despite looking solid throughout the ELeague Major, VP ultimately couldn’t close out Train when it mattered. Moving forwards, the joy is that the seemingly permanent Virtus.Pro roster will undoubtedly stick together, having experienced shortcomings similar to this in the past, and yet overcome them time and time again.