cs_summit 7 has confirmed the worst fears of many currently playing in the professional CS:GO Scene: Virtus.pro (formerly of Avangar) are back. Their esoteric play-style combined with a group of insanely skilled players has brought them into the realms of the world’s elite for the first time since their major run in late 2019.
Merely winning the event wouldn’t have been scary enough. Instead, Virtus.pro took home the trophy at cs_summit 7 without dropping a single map. While none of the top 5 in the world were in attendance, the way Virtus.pro manhandled their opposition has put the entire scene on notice.
Virtus.pro’s success is predicated on a balance opposing play-styles. On the one side is extreme aggression. Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis takes as many duels as he pleases, which happens to be a lot. He has many opening deaths but makes up for it by single-handedly winning rounds off the back of his successes. These incredible multi-opening-kill rounds led to him having by far the highest Impact rating of any player at cs_summit 7.
On the other extreme is Dzhami “Jame” Ali. He becomes harder and harder to kill year after year, and this event was no exception. Jame lived up to his reputation by prioritising his own life (and the AWP he carries with him) over attempting unnecessary retakes. This approach led to him averaging only 0.47 deaths per round (DPR), the lowest of anyone at the tournament.
With one player always in your face and the other impossible to locate, it made Virtus.pro incredibly frustrating to play against. This was made worse by the fact that the other three players are no slouches. Timur “buster” Tulepov is a late-round magician, popping up with crucial frags as they are needed.
Alexey “qikert” Golubev and Sanjar “SANJI” Kuliev also performed at a level above what is typically expected of them, the former being almost as hard to kill as Jame, the latter winning clutches he had no right even attempting.
Whilst I accept the notion that all of their stats were inflated by the team’s resounding success, there can be no better advert for the effectiveness of their system than the amount of impact they were able to squeeze out of every individual at cs_summit 7.
The system is predicated on two things: Finding opening kills wins rounds and it’s better to live to fight another round than to attempt a to win them all. Whilst you may think that these seem like pretty standard aspects of a team’s philosophy, none take it to the extreme as much as Virtus.pro.
His belief in this system is why Yekindar was throwing himself into Banana almost every round on Inferno, leading to him dying first in 20% of rounds. On the other end, Jame saved his AWP so much it accounted for 70% of his total kills at the event. This exceeds what other AWPers achieve by a wide margin.
Aside from the two star names, SANJI stands out as the most foundational part of the team’s structure. SANJI has made a name for himself by continually playing with SMGs to drop rifles to his teammates, accepting his role as the dedicated support player. By doing this, he has sacrificed personal glory in the pursuit of team success – and it’s working.
Virtus.pro’s exploits at cs_summit 7 have landed them at the number six spot in the world (according to the HLTV rankings). That’s ten up from before this event. This improvement is only one step on a journey they have been undertaking since signing YEKINDAR late last year. The scary thing is, nobody knows where it is going to finish.