A CIS superteam: What's next for Virtus.pro?

After more than a year of fears, tears, and abject failure, the expensive Virtus.pro experiment is finally over. What started out as a celebration of Polish CSGO from an org that is known for their long-term commitments turned into a test to see how much money it takes to completely drown a player’s ambition or desire to improve, and in the end they found the answer - about $25k a month.

As things stand, it looks as though there will be a complete rehash of the thought process behind the team, with the current Polish line-up being kicked to the curb faster than a Trump-team lawyer who has outstayed his usefulness. With that in mind, and the end of a few other projects, who could they bring in to start again? The rumours are all of a CIS superteam, and the pieces all appear to be in place to make that happen.

Money comes first

The first - and most crucial - part of the equation is money and VP have so much of that they were even willing to give it to Neo and byali, despite neither appearing to care about the result of any game they played in. Once you have the cash in place things can still be tricky, as Immortals found out but, luckily, the talent pool in that part of the world is deep and long, and there are some top-tier players on the free agent market.

The logical starting point for a CIS team would be the recently-disbanded Gambit team, where Abay "Hobbit" Khassenov and Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev should be your targets. The former is one of the best young talents to come out of the region in years, with the potential to outstrip the likes of his more popular US contemporaries, while the latter has shown time and again that he is a top class-player, provided he doesn’t have to lead.

There is also an argument for taking other players, but the other three are less desirable. Nikolay “mir’ Bityukov has potential, but is unproven to some extent, while Rustem “Mou” Telepov is probably too inconsistent for the top level. As for the X-God, after the last two years you’d hope VP have moved on from paying people for the memes, but you never can tell.

There is also another element that Gambit have, one not as well known but potentially way more valuable, and that is their interim coach. In Andrey “b1ad3” Gorodenskiy, Gambit have one of the most intelligent in-game leaders ever, converted to a coach for their squad, and VP would do well to try and include him in any package deal they do for Gambit staff.

Two of the five sorted

Now, at this point, the next move is extremely obvious, if you can make it. No CIS superteam can truly be the best if it doesn’t have one s1mple thing - the world’s best player. You might not think that is a realistic purchase after the MIBR deal fell through, but there are reasons it could happen. VP are not an NA team, and could make s1mple’s life much easier than MIBR, as well as being an historic brand in the region.

Given that clips of s1mple arguing with his Na’Vi team-mates have also begun to surface, that move looks like it is possible, and again, in an ideal world you’d take two from Na’Vi. Alongside s1mple, Denis ‘electronic’ Sharipov has torn 2018 a new one, and if you could put him alongside the aforementioned GOAT and the two Gambit men, you’d be blessed with more firepower than almost anyone else in CS.

Now, if you’ve been watching closely over the past few months, you’ll see that s1mple is already an in-game leader of sorts at Na’Vi but for this writer it makes more sense to give that role to someone else and let s1mple play his part mid-round with the reads and calls.

With that in mind, the obvious choice for the leader of this team would be Kirill “ANGE1” Karasov, currently of HellRaisers, but many have tried and failed to sign him, and it won’t be easy to do so. There is an argument to say the team would be better off going with Zeus, of Na’Vi, as they don’t need the fragging power ANGE1 brings if the likes of Hobbit, s1mple and electronic are in tow, but more is always better, and for us the HellRaiser is the best choice.


Can this actually happen?

Well, the VP org has already shown time and again that money is no object to them, and you have to admire ESForce’s commitment to the cause. The challenges here are going to be in getting players to leave their current orgs, and most of that will come down to cash, as the org itself already has all the prestige you need to attract the best talent.

The Golden Five are dead, but there could be a new golden era for VP CSGO coming soon, and after the end of the Polish experiment that has to be a good thing, as it was abundantly clear gold had turned to dust. Not since 100Thieves has there been the potential for such an exciting new project, and the 0-3 in Challengers at the Major tells you all you need to know about the timing too. Too late, but better late than never.