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November 25, 2016

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In the CIS, the main event of the League of Legends esports scene is undoubtedly the showdown within the Continental League – LCL. It is divided into spring and summer semi-splits. Between them, the players are by no means idle, giving their best at international and local tournaments. One of them is the LCL Open Cup, the “open cup” of the Continental League. Perhaps, his most intriguing moment will be the return of the Virtus.pro LoL roster to the professional ranks.LoL weekend - Virtus.pro at the LCL Open Cup

No one expected Virtus.pro to return to the world of League of Legends, so the announcement of the new roster was a pleasant surprise.

Virtus.pro is deservedly named among the most famous esports brands in the CIS. The LoL team has already defended the colors of the organization – in 2014-2015. she participated in three seasons of the SLTV StarSeries (a championship established by StarLadder and Riot Games – in fact, the predecessor of the LCL). In the second season, Virtus.pro lost in the finals to the stellar Hard Random, in the third, alas, they failed to qualify for the LAN finals, and in the fourth, they stopped at the initial stage of the LAN stage.

Be that as it may, the club showed decent results for a long time, except that it didn’t really work out abroad. The line-up included Oleg Bondarenko (aka PowerOfDreams, citizen of Ukraine), Andrey Sinyavin (MirrorEnd, RF), Viktor Pachkunov (Piter Pokir, RF), Egor Medvedev (VincentVega, RF) and Kirill Malofeev (Likkrit, RF). In April 2015, the team was disbanded due to a long black streak, but the athletes did not disappear from the horizon – Likkrit, for example, joined Hard Random/Albus NoX Luna and got a bunch of titles with it.

Virtus.pro announced their return to LoL on November 15 (we wrote about it). At the same time, the names of three permanent members of the new team became known – Ivan Tipukhov (Paranoia, Ukraine), Alexander Lifashin (SaNTaS, RF) and Daniel Kudrin (Daniel “Blasting” Kudrin, Latvia). Danes Rafael Adl Zarabi aka Doxy and Jonathan Villebro aka SezzeR will join them in the upcoming tournaments. All of the above are well-known athletes: suffice it to say that Doxy tore and threw for Natus Vincere and Vega Squadron, and Paranoia was noted in Team Empire.

The “open cup” will be a kind of test of Virtus.pro for strength. The team got a place in group B — together with Vaevictis eSports from the LCL and Cool Beavers (one of the best amateur teams on the LoL RU server). The matches will take place on November 25 (tickets – here) in St. Petersburg, at the Museum of Street Art on Revolution Highway, 84. The winner will go to the semi-finals, where they will cross blades and fangs with Vega Squadron – the top 2 club of the LCL summer split. The semi-final will take place on November 26 (tickets), and the final match will take place on November 27 (tickets). The prize fund of the LCL Open Cup is impressive – one and a half million rubles.

LoL weekend - Virtus.pro at the LCL Open Cup

A few months ago, Team Just.MSI Alpha competed in the semi-professional Candidates League. Now on the line is the semi-finals against Albus NoX Luna and a test fight in the 2017 LCL spring half-season.

According to Roman Dvoryankin, general manager of Virtus.pro, the organization is now relying on Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive rosters. As for the decision to revive the LoL team, it is dictated by the desire to be at the forefront of esports progress, deadly sharpened by Riot Games CIS. The Bears simply cannot remain on the periphery while the LoL league is growing from almost nothing in the CIS, ready to measure its muscles with the championships from the leading regions. And the confident performance of Albus NoX Luna at Worlds 2016 in North America is the best confirmation of this. Dvoryankin does not expect great results from the new LoL roster right from the door — most likely, the team will build up its skin and claws by the second half of next year.

In short, come and watch the fights between professionals and amateurs in the LCL Open Cup. Or watch them right from the couch — there will be a live broadcast on the Riot Games CIS Twitch channel, as always. Or here’s another option for you, how to spend the coming weekend with interest if you live in St. Petersburg – on November 27, the decisive battle of the Battle of the Universities will die down (read why students stick around the keyboard all day long), right before the final of the “open cup”. Do you have an extra two hundred rubles? Alright then, come on in. There’s also a cosplayer show.

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