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ESL One Katowice 2018 champions have been crowned

Vasilis Kalfountzos
Contributing Editor
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ESL One Katowice 2018 powered by Intel, Poland’s first ever Dota 2 Major, saw Virtus.pro claiming the champion’s crown, leaving the crowd in absolute awe. The CIS squad will now return home $400,000 richer and with those sweet 750 DPC points on their back! Let’s have a quick look into the journey that Katowice took us to last week!

Group Stage

Right off the bat, Poland’s first Major showed us that this event will be like no other. Vici Gaming dropping Team Liquid to the loser’s bracket and Newbee’s loss to Team Kinguin at the first round, were just some of the upsets that took place during the Group Stage.

Team Kinguin taking down the TI titans Newbee isn’t just a win for the Polish team, but it might also signify the rise of a new dominant force within the worldwide Dota2 scene.

Despite having the odds against them, LGD Gaming dropped former TI winners, Evil Geniuses, down to the loser’s bracket. Despite that setback though, the American squad fought its way through the Group Stage and eventually found itself into the playoffs. 

Who could have thought! Vici Gaming kicking Katowice’s ultimate favorites to the Loser’s bracket. The Chinese squad came into the event with one pure goal: prove everyone why they should still be considered as one of the greatest teams in the world; and they did so after they conquered the second spot at the pedestal!

Talking about surprises, the last day of the Group Stage had nothing to be jealous of the previous days, with the most interesting one being FNATIC’s dominance over Team Secret. Watching FNATIC delivering world class Dota was, simply put, an eye candy!

All in all, watching the Group Stage unfold was a complete blast, packed with action and upsets that ultimately lead in breathtaking moments to remember.

Playoffs

Newbee’s takedown by Evil Geniuses wrapped up the group stage, and thus the clash for the king begun!

Quarterfinals

Team Secret vs Team Liquid 1-2

One of the most anticipated matches of the event, Team Secret vs Team Liquid, kicked off the playoffs, and it was Secret who got to be shown the way out as Liquid prevailed in this Bo3! As it turns out, once again, Meepo is probably not a reliable choice!

Virtus.pro vs Evil Geniuses 2-1

Even though Evil Geniuses showed some signs of improvement, especially during their march over Newbee, they fell short behind Virtus.pro in the second series of the quarterfinals.

Semifinals

Vici Gaming vs Team Liquid 2-1

Off to the semifinals and Vici Gaming found their way through Liquid’s draft, forcing them into the third place decider match. VG’s consistency and strategic thought during this series was out of this world as they managed minute by minute to turn around the games and claim their ticket to the finals.

FNATIC vs Virtus.pro 0-2

Much alike Evil Geniuses, FNATIC has immense improvement since their previous performances and, quite honestly, it was about time! Despite that though, Virtus.pro proved to be a lot stronger than them, resulting in quick two games that sent them straight to the finals to face Vici Gaming!

Third place match

Team Liquid vs FNATIC 2-1

This result was somehow expected. Team Liquid is a colossus and unfortunately for FNATIC the “David vs Goliath” myth didn’t unfold this time, as Team Liquid won the series and finished 3rd, taking home $120,000 and 225 DPC points.

Grand Finals

Vici Gaming vs Virtus.pro 1-3

What once was a dream, now becomes reality. Virtus.pro conquered another ESL Major title, their most recent one being ESL One Hamburg 2017, and with those 750 DPC points, are currently leading the charge over at the Dota Pro Circuit ranking! The CIS squad came into Katowice with sceptic eyes on their back, as they had, quite recently, swapped Lil for Rodjer with Na’Vi, but they proved us all wrong. Not only Rodjer came as a perfect fit for the CIS monsters but also delivered amazing Dota.

Jumping into the games, Virtus.pro established their dominance quite early during the first two games, exhibiting unrivaled strategic minds. They were able to counter VG’s every move and for the most part were always ahead. Into what most of the audience expected to be the last game of the event, Vici Gaming came into Game 3 strong and managed to snatch this one out of the hands of VP within just roughly 27 minutes, thus keeping them alive a little bit longer. Despite their attempts to even out the score though, Virtus.pro didn’t allow VG to take another game, and by taking advantage of VG’s attempts to provide space for Terrorblade, they struck them hard, forced them into fights that they were destined to lose and eventually succumbed them into their third and final loss.

Congratulations to Virtus.pro for clinching their second ESL One trophy in a row! Also, a huge thank you to everyone who tuned in, came to the Spodek arena, all teams, players, and crew - we cannot wait to see you next time!

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