- March 10, 2018
A week full of heartbreaks, disappointments and triumphs all boil down to the Bucharest Major Grand Finals matchup tomorrow between Virtus.Pro and VGJ.Thunder.
At first glance, VGJ.Thunder are heavy underdogs in this particular matchup. 3 out of 5 of their players have never been to a TI, and they have yet to win a single Pro Circuit tournament. Experience isn’t exactly their strong suit, or is it now? Their coach Bai ‘rOtK‘ Fan is considered a legend in and out of China, while of their two players who have been to a TI, one, Liu ‘Sylar‘ Jiajun, has come close to winning a TI once and the other, Leong ‘ddc‘ Fat-meng, is one of only three players in Dota 2 history to have attended every TI. But then again, past achievements mean very little, especially against a surging Virtus.Pro squad.
Virtus.Pro are the only team this 2017-18 Pro Circuit to have won two Major and they’ve taken home three Pro Circuit titles overall. They are also the first to qualify for The International 2018. They are really good, to put it simply, and taking them out tomorrow in the Bucharest Major Grand Finals will be no easy task.
Both teams actually met each other quite recently at ESL One Genting 2018, but they’ve gone through changes since. VGJ.Thunder, for one, now has ddc on their lineup, a move heralded by many as the one thing that should take them to the top of the proverbial ladder. As for Virtus.Pro, Ilya ‘Lil‘ Ilyuk is no longer on the roster, sent to Natus Vincere and replaced by Vladimir RodjER‘ Nikogosyan. Though each team has only replaced one player, their results and playstyle have changed since, meaning, it’s useless talking about their already small one-game sample size to try to predict their matchup tomorrow in the Bucharest Major Grand Finals.
A Clash of Styles
Both teams are similar in the sense that they both rely heavily on the rotation of their position 4 supports, namely Pan ‘Fade‘ Yi for VGJ.Thunder and RodjER for Virtus.Pro. Their position 5 supports also have a identical playstyles, where each prefers to farm as little as possible, enabling the rest of the team to be as greedy as possible. Both ddc and Alexei ‘Solo‘ Berezin are also masters at positioning themselves in teamfights. But, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
Where VGJ.Thunder has a more methodical approach to their aggression, preferring to take their time farming, Virtus.Pro goes all-in, looking for kills every chance they can go, dominating their lanes en route to snowballing to a win. This is represented by the difference in their average kills per game throughout the entire tournament: Virtus.Pro averages 28.44 kills per game (in 9 games) while VGJ.Thunder averages 24.25 (in 8 games).
VGJ.Thunder played against a similarly aggressive team in TNC Pro Team earlier in the playoffs and they struggled. At first, at least. They made the necessary adjustments in Games 2 and 3, resulting in them winning the series. But Virtus.Pro is like the souped-up version of TNC Pro Team: better, more aggressive, and better coached.
Smart Money: Virtus Pro to win at 1.63 odds (ArcaneBet)
Will The Series Last All Five Games?
The current Dota 2 meta heavily favours Virtus.Pro’s in your face, win lane, win games playstyle and hero pool. This is their time to shine, and their recent results speak for them. Not only that but of Virtus Pro’s three previous Grand Finals appearances, they either swept their opponents or dropped only one game.
VGJ.Thunder are a good team, probably even better than ddc’s previous team LFY that sent Virtus.Pro down to the lower brackets and ultimately placed 3rd at The International 7. However, given how Chinese Dota 2 teams have historically struggled playing against aggressive teams, and the fact that Virtus Pro have yet to lose in a Grand Finals this season (and the fact that Virtus.Pro has the momentum going their way after taking out the reigning TI champions), it’s hard to picture VGJ.Thunder winning more than one game tomorrow.
Smart Money: Virtus.Pro to win 3-1 at 3.3 odds (GGbet)
Which team do you think will win tomorrow in the Bucharest Major Grand Finals? Do you think Virtus Pro will go back to back? Or will VGJ.Thunder emerge as the third team this season to win a Major? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.