After winning their opening quarterfinal against Team Empire, the returning champs were shockingly upset in their semifinal against LGD Gaming. That meant Virtus.pro would have to go through the Losers Round Two.
There, they faced Digital Chaos. This was a closely fought encounter: Virtus.pro took the opening map, and Digital Chaos claimed the second to set up a deciding rubber match. After 37 minutes, it was Virtus.pro who clinched the win to enter the Losers Round Three.
They would face Team NP, but this time there was no need for a decide: Virtus.pro showed their class with a 2-0 win. In the Losers Final, LGD Gaming was waiting. Having beaten Virtus.pro in the semis, the Chinese team was full of confidence, but Virtus.pro played like champions to secure a superb 2-0 win, winning the first map in 70 minutes of intense play.
That meant the Grand Final would pit Team Secret, who won the event back in May 2015, against Virtus.pro. The winner would join Evil Geniuses as the event’s only two-time champ.
The best-of-five series started with Team Secret taking the opening map in a closely fought game. They could have gone up 2-0 in another epic clash on the second map, but Virtus.pro turned things around at the last moment to tie the series. The third map was equally hard-fought, but once again Virtus.pro showed their quality to take a 2-1 lead. That only spurred on Team Secret, who where dominant in clinching the must-win fourth map in just 22 minutes.
After 43 minutes exactly, Virtus.pro celebrated back-to-back Summit titles, earning $42,500 in the process. The team, which is a mix of Russian and Ukrainian players, became the first ever to successfully defend a Summit title.
Perhaps most incredibly of all, Virtus.pro picked five unique heroes from the 112 available in all but the Grand Final, meaning that throughout the tournament they played 81 of the 112 characters available, more than double the heroes picked by Team Secret.
On the back of their achievements, Virtus.pro is one of the six teams invited to the $15 million The International 2017 this August, one of the biggest esports tournaments in the world.
Only two remain unbeaten in the LoL Summer Split series
Is the hugely competitive world of League of Legends leveling out? A quick glimpse at the World Champions in recent years suggests Korean teams, and particularly SK Telecom T1, are ahead of the pack, but that could be changing.
Take the five major Summer Split tournaments, for example. Across North America, Europe, China, Korea, and Taiwan/Singapore/Macau, just two teams remain unbeaten. That is an unusual set of circumstances; by now the elite sides usually move clear to the top of the table.
Only OMG (who are in the second group of the Chinese LPL Summer Split qualifier) and Raise Gaming (who top the LMS Summer Split group for Taiwanese, Macau and Singaporean teams) have yet to taste defeat in their qualifiers.
In Korea, where SK Telecom T1 normally rule the roost, there promises to be an intriguing fray during the next few weeks. Three teams with 5-1 records — Samsung Galaxy, SK Telecom T1, and KT Rolster — will fight it out with Longzhu Gaming and Jin Air Green Wings, who are 4-2.
It’s a similar story in the European Summer Split, where there is no undefeated squad. Group A sees Fnatic and Misfits with 3-1 records, while things are even tighter in Group B with H2k-Gaming, Unicorns of Love, and Splyce all locked up at 3-1.
The last unbeatens in the North American Summer Split also went up in smoke recently. Immortals, Counter Logic Gaming, and Team Dignitas sit tied atop the table with 5-1 records, and Team SoloMid are not too far behind at 4-2.
In the Chinese qualifier, OMG retain a 4-0 record after their opening four matches, but no other team in either group is undefeated. DAN Gaming and EDward Gaming are atop Group A at 3-1.
All things considered, it appears the gap between teams in each of the top qualifying sections is closing. It makes for a hugely interesting Summer Split.