CS:GO 2018-02-21

Can Virtus.pro finally do well at IEM Katowice after roster changes?

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now, it’s been extremely hard to be a Virtus.pro fan ever since the team took 2nd place at ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017, losing to Astralis. But, wait, there’s a small blinking light at the end of the tunnel!

Finally, after more or less sucking for a year, Virtus.pro made a long overdue roster change, replacing Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas with Michał “MICHU” Müller. The player isn’t a permanent member of Virtus.pro yet, he’s only joined the team on a 1-month loan from Kinguin. There could be several reasons for the short length of the arrangement.

The management of Virtus.pro could be signalling to the rest of the roster that they aren’t irreplaceable. In theory, this would make the remaining players, Filip “NEO” Kubski, Jarosław “pashaBICEPS” Jarząbkowski, Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski and Paweł “byali” Bieliński feel insecure about their long-ass contract and practice harder for IEM Katowice, one of the biggest tournaments of the year which is taking place in Virtus.pro’s home country. This scenario does involve wearing a tinfoil hat, a part of the conspiracy theorist uniform.

The more likely reason is that Virtus.pro management finally realised what most analysts have been saying for a long time — that the roster needs to be freshened up. With the Polish roots of the team, finding a replacement that would actually improve the strongest Polish CS:GO team in the world isn’t easy. MICHU might just be it.

He’s been good on Kinguin and moving to the big leagues seems like a natural step forward. There’s one more interesting thing concerning the whole matter. With MICHU replacing TaZ, the old-people majority on Virtus.pro might be broken. This new addition would be the youngest on the team at 21, followed by 23 year old byali and 24 year old Snax. On the other side, TaZ was 31, pasha is 29 and NEO is 30.

A situation where the veterans were happy with getting paid and occasionally appearing at events, even if they quickly got knocked out, while the young ones wanted to go hard and win something, was rumoured to be what was holding Virtus.pro back.

With MICHU, the roster is getting younger overall, the ambitious ones might actually hold the majority.

What are the implications of all of this for how Virtus.pro does at IEM Katowice? The introduction of new blood and the responsibility of having to play in front of their home crowd will light a fire under VP’s ass. If they can get used to playing with MICHU before the event begins, it’s possible that we will see a great performance by the team. It will not be easy by any means, however. Implementing a new player is difficult.

The teams that are the most likely to stand up to Virtus.pro, like FaZe Clan, SK Gaming, Cloud9 and others have an advantage of playing the same roster for a longer time. That’s ignoring the fact that some other teams are simply stronger than VP on an individual basis.

The StarLadder & i-League StarSeries Season 4 event is currently going on. It was the debut of the new Virtus.pro roster. Unfortunately for any of the diehard VP fans left, Virtus.pro was eliminated from the tournament in the fourth round after winning a single best of 3 against MVP.PK and losing to mouz, Team Liquid and Cloud9. Of course, we should cut them some slack, the roster change is quite recent. Can VP do better at IEM Katowice?

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