Virtus.pro Reveals New CS:GO Roster
Virtus.pro has announced its second CS:GO team in the form of VP.Prodigy.
Russian organization Virtus.pro has officially revealed it's second Counter-Strike team, dubbed VP.Prodigy. The team is comprised of Aleksandr "mefixs" Ilukhin, Serhii "muR" Hres, Maxim "awesome" Zyuzko, Vadym "h1glaiN" Tanasiuk, Evgeny "Norwi" Ermolin, and coach Vladislav "Flash_1" Bykov.
This is the second roster to play under the tag, as a VP.Prodigy project was also launched in Dota 2 earlier this year. With the Dota VP.P squad performing very well thus far, Virtus.pro has decided to introduce the concept to its CS division as well with the hopes of developing new talents. With the experience gap, VP.P is very unlikely to play in any of the same tournaments as the main VP squad, so conflicts of interest should easily be avoided.
Initially reported by CIS insider Alexey "OverDrive" Biryukov, the roster is composed of players with very limited experience, asides from h1glaiN, who played with ESPADA for the better part of 2019. That said, the CIS region is home to many of the world's most mechanically gifted players and has a good track record when it comes to producing new raw talents, such as Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov, Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov, Abdulkhalik "degster" Gasanov, and Alexandr "zorte" Zagodyrenko.
CIS NEWS:— OverDrive (@ABOverDrive) September 11, 2020
🔹🇷🇺VP academy - Awesome, Norwi, Higlain, Mefixs, Mur
An unknown quantity on the global level, mefixs doesn't currently doesn't have an HLTV profile and only has one appearance on Liquipedia when he participated in the open qualifiers for CTRL PLAY LEAGUE. With that said, mefixs is the 9th highest rated Russian player in Europe, according to Faceit's rankings, with an impressive 3831 ELO to his name.
Another player with limited experience, muR recently stood-in for Esports Club Kyiv, following a long stint with Kryvbas Gaming. The 18-year-old Ukrainian notably won the Kyiv Smart City Cup 2019, where he averaged a 1.12 rating during the final. Sadly, he has only averaged a 0.77 rating in the 6 online maps on his record. While he hasn't played any official matches since 2019, muR has able to qualify for FPL-C and the CIS Challenger Division, two leagues which serve as stepladders for upcoming players within the region. A man of many talents, muR is likely to become the secondary AWPer in the new VP.Prodigy squad.
As is becoming a trend with this roster, awesome also has very few maps on record, two to be precise. One of which was a 1-16 loss to Team Spirit, where he was 100PingGods' highest-rated player with a 0.75 rating. Judging by his ESEA stats, there's a solid possibility that awesome will be the primary AWPer for the team.
The most experienced player on the roster, h1glaiN spent 8 months with ESPADA, managing to win a few small online cups over the course of his career. He has averaged a 0.95 rating over the 130 official maps he has played, which isn't a particularly high number, but his former team did face off against a lot of international competition, including the Polish VP lineup. His experience will be worth its weight in gold in a squad of rookies, especially as he is already familiar with the concept of maintaining a proper team atmosphere, communicating effectively, keeping your cool in high-pressure situations, and so on.
A member of the CIS Pro Division on Faceit, Norwi is currently ranked 15th on the platform's Russian leaderboards, with 3747 ELO to his name. He has recently been seeing playing alongside ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018 quarterfinalists Nikita "waterfaLLZ" Matveyev and Dmitriy "iksou" Mikhailichenko in EXTREMUM. Norwi has often been the second-best player on EXTREMUM, right behind waterfaLLZ, though he has struggled in official maps, averaging just a 0.89 rating so far.
Formerly of Warthox Esport and Dracarys, Flash_1 joins VP.P as the head coach, his second experience in the role following a 5 month-long tenure as 100PingGods' coach. Managing to reach the CIS Minor for the StarLadder 2019 Berlin Major, Flash_1 has a fair bit of experience, which he will hope to pass on to the new roster.
Mikhail Artemyev, the CS:GO Branch Manager for Virtus.pro, stated that "We started off this summer searching for a team leader — a coach capable of leading young players. We have watched a ton of demos together and communicated with lots of players. Our main goal was to find not only skilled players but also interesting personalities who could avoid conflicts and work together as a team." Evidently, VP has a lot of confidence in Flash_1's abilities to lead and develop these new players.
The CIS young guns
It's exciting to see another big organization invest in the future of CIS CS:GO, as it is becoming a sort of trend in the region. On top of its main squad, Natus Vincere hosts two academy lineups in the form of NAVI Junior and NAVI Youth. Gambit Esports also picked up and academy roster in the form of Gambit Youngsters in mid-2019, though the squad has since become the only team to represent the Russian organization as the regular roster dissolved at the end of last year.
While there are no incredibly young players on VP.P, with everyone aged between 18 and 20, seeing an iconic name like Virtus.pro pick up new talent is an amazing opportunity for both parties. The players get access to a wide array of resources by representing such a legendary organization. At a relatively low cost, VP gets to invest in new talent, which could later be promoted to the main team if stars were to arise from the project. It's especially exciting for the VP.P players, considering they're still so early into their careers, and throwing in the support Virtus.pro offers will certainly give them a quicker path towards becoming proper professional players. Luckily, we won't have to wait too long to see the new VP.Prodigy squad in action, as the team's first official tournament is set to be announced soon.