If there was any doubt beforehand, there isn’t now. Russia’s Virtus pro are currently the best Dota 2 team in the world.
They proved as much with a stunning performance and victory at the ESL One Birmingham 2018, the penultimate event of the Dota Pro Circuit season. The victory marked their third on the DPC tour since it began last September.
Dominant performance by the victors
This supreme performance began in the Group Stage. A straightforward opening victory over Team Spirit in Group A started their progress, and they then claimed top spot in the group by defeating Fnatic 2-0 in the Winner’s Match.
Along with the other top seeds from Groups B and C, OG and OpTic Gaming, VP entered the First Place Decider three-way mini-league. They once again came out on top.
In the playoffs, paiN Gaming and Fnatic got through their games against Mineski and OG, respectively, to reach the semis. However, their progress ended abruptly. VP easily defeating paiN Gaming 2-0 in the first semi, before OpTic Gaming came through a nail-biter 2-1 over Fnatic.
In the third-place match, pain Gaming clinched some valuable extra Dota Pro Circuit points with a 2-1 win over Fnatic. But all eyes in Birmingham were on the final to see if OpTic Gaming could cause a huge upset.
The answer was emphatic; no they could not. Virtus.pro produced another clinical display, even winning the opening match without any of their three core players experiencing a single death. The end result was a high-quality 3-0 victory for the favourites. They took home not only more Dota Pro Circuit points but also a cheque for $500,000.
ESL Birmingham proves a huge hit
As the first ever Dota 2 Major to take place in the UK, a part of the world that perhaps lags behind some others when it comes to interest and participation in esports, interest in the tournament proved massive.
The enthusiastic audience extended well beyond those who were fortunate enough to get a ticket to the venue. Viewers with a Sky satellite platform, or access from another provider, could watch the action unfold on GINX Esports TV across the full weekend.
However, most interesting was that the BBC decided to show the semifinals and finals of the event live on its digital channel, BBC Three.
That said, the BBC adopted a much less hardcore esports approach than GINX Esports TV. Its coverage contained plenty of sections and explanations of not just how the ESL event in Birmingham would progress but also how Dota 2 works and how esports works in general. The broadcaster clearly targeted an audience without a fully developed understanding of esports.
This marked the second time the BBC broadcasted an esports event via BBC Three. It showed the Gfinity Elite Series over eight weeks in July 2017.
Dota Pro Circuit update
After the results of ESL Birmingham 2018, the standings in the Dota Pro Circuit confirm that Virtus.pro are indeed the team to beat.
Defeat in the final was a tough one for OpTic Pro, who moved up to ninth in the standings, but who will not be participating in the China Dota 2 Supermajor from June 2-10, meaning they cannot claim one of the eight qualifying sports for The International 2018.
Here are the current standings for the top 16 in the Dota Pro Circuit rankings after this weekend:
- pro – 10,347 points
- LGD – 6,321
- Team Liquid – 6,084
- Team Secret – 4,800
- Mineski – 3,150
- Vici Gaming – 2,835
- Newbee – 2,445
- Thunder – 1,935
- OpTic Gaming – 1,800
- Storm – 1,347
- Evil Geniuses – 1,335
- Fnatic – 1,265
- Natus Vincere – 1,199
- OG – 930
- FlyToMoon – 675
- paiN Gaming – 504
There is just one event in the season remaining, the China Dota 2 Supermajor, which, again, begins on June 2. It puts up more points than any other Dota Pro Circuit event: 2,250.
With 1,125 points for the winner, the likes of VGJ.Storm, OG, and Evil Geniuses will have their eyes on taking the top prize to squeak inside the top eight. And if VGJ.Thunder, Newbee, Vici Gaming or Mineski claim enough points, then they should be safely through to the next stage of the tournament.
Finally, Dota 2 fans will also be eagerly anticipating a matchup between Virtus.pro and the bang-in-form PSG.LGD. The latter won both EPICENTER XL and the MDL Changsha Major in May to move right up the table and into second place behind the Russian leaders.