Virtus.pro, the Polish Counter-Strike dynasty, bested Fnatic in a close 2-0 match to become the first ELeague champions.
Both teams went into the grand finals on Saturday after handedly winning their semifinals matches 2-0, but Virtus.pro ended up on top, continuing their streak of never losing in a tournament’s finals.
Fnatic started out strong on the first map, Cobblestone, out-maneuvering and out-shooting Virtus.pro on almost every round. With the rounds at 7-1, though, VP started to turn it around a bit, and Snax nailed an impressive triple kill in the tenth round to help get the comeback rolling. The half ended with Fnatic in the lead, 9-6.
Virtus.pro kept the ball rolling as they took the terrorist side in the second half, getting an astounding seven-win streak to put them up 13-9. The tables turned as Virtus.pro started out-maneuvering Fnatic, making for some impressive Counter-Strike. Fnatic only managed to get one round in the rest of Cobblestone, losing to Virtus.pro 16-10.
The second map, Mirage, is Virtus.pro’s best map, but Fnatic did not let them take it easily. Fnatic took the first round quickly, and for the next two rounds Virtus.pro saved up their money. Dennis took advantage, getting an ace with an M4A4 from Bombsite A.
With enough money saved up, Virtus.pro was able to grab a couple rounds, but Fnatic wasn’t going down easy. Once Virtus.pro tied it up 4-4, the half was over for Fnatic. VP got a streak going and took the first half of Mirage 10-5.
Fnatic brought it back for the second half, winning the first three rounds, but just couldn’t hang on. PashaBiceps started amping it up, getting two clutch plays to put the ball back in Virtus.pro’s court. VP started racking up the wins, riling up the crowd and getting fans on their feet in Atlanta. Virtus.pro couldn’t be stopped, winning Mirage 16-8 and taking the ELeague championship.
“We came back,” Virtus.pro’s Taz said. “We are so freaking happy and proud as a team… There were a lot of hard moments, especially in the beginning of the year.”
Virtus.pro started off the 10-week-long tournament coming in second in their group stages, meaning they had to make it to the top of their last-chance qualifiers bracket to make it to the playoffs. They made it through, alongside Mousesports, and ended up facing the German team and winning in the semifinals.
Byali was Virtus.pro’s shining star at ELeague, racking up an impressive number of clutch plays and kill streaks to get the team all the way to the championship win. His consistency — along with Snax’s reliable AWPing, Neo’s grenade and support skills, Pasha’s ability to adapt to any opponent and Taz’s leadership — made this a tough team to contend with.
Virtus.pro is going home with the first place prize of $390,000 and another tournament title under their belt. This tournament win could be the team’s return to form after a long slump, and it won’t be a surprise to see VP win another tournament or two before the end of the year.
ELeague is owned by Turner Broadcasting, which also is an investor in Mashable.