The Russian esports organization Virtus.pro announced earlier this Monday, they have completed the signing of AVANGAR's CS:GO roster, which will replace the long-standing Polish line-up which has been a staple of Virtus.pro for almost six years.
The rumours about Virtus.pro's ambitions to acquire the AVANGAR roster in a bid to reclaim their former glory surfaced earlier this month, with speculations suggesting the Russian organization are in the final stages of completing the deal. While nothing came out of it back then, the Monday's announcement confirmed Virtus.pro have now sealed the deal and will be moving forward with AVANGAR's CS:GO roster.
Unlike Virtus.pro who have been involved in competitive Counter-Strike scene since late 2013, AVANGAR are a fairly new team, established in summer of 2017. Despite being in the professional scene for slightly over two years, AVANGAR did not need long to establish themselves the best Kazakhstani professional CS:GO team.
While AVANGAR failed to see much success in their early years besides a handful of solid results in some minor tournaments, Dzhami "Jame" Ali and his squad made waves in September, when they claimed a second-place finish at the StarLadder Berlin Major. There they beat the likes of Team Liquid, Vitality, G2 Esports and Renegades before they suffered a devastating defeat against Astralis in the grand finals.
Despite the unfortunate defeat in the finals, AVANGAR managed to make a name for themselves and saw their global ranking skyrocket from being ranked 30th best in the world in August to being regarded as a fourth-best team by the end of September.
Their run, however, did not stop there, as they managed to keep their flame going and won BLAST Pro Series: Moscow 2019 less than a week later. Since then, however, the Kazakhstani team have found success rather hard to come by, seeing how they failed to achieve any notable results in the tournaments that followed.
At DreamHack Open Rotterdam AVANGAR finished third-fourth, claimed an underwhelming ninth-12th spot finish at StarSeries & i-League Season 8 and even failed to make noise at ESEA Season 32: Premier Division - Europe, where they finished fifth-sixth. While AVANGAR went on to win WESG 2019 Central Asia in late November, the said tournament was a C-Tier event, meaning AVANGAR had a lot more to prove going forward.
Their most recent two tournaments were CS:GO Asia Championships 2019 and Esports Championship Series Season 8 - Finals, none of which saw AVANGAR recapture their form from the Berlin Major. In Shanghai, they struggled to make it out of the group and finished fifth-sixth, while their ECS S8 venture ended in a last-place finish alongside Sharks Esports.
It seems like AVANGAR have lost their "mojo" in recent months and the team hopes the change of the organization will help them resurge as one of the best teams in the CS:GO world once more. In an interview following the announcement, the team's captain Jame went on to say this is an exciting moment for the whole team, which is thrilled to become a part of one of the biggest and most well-known esports brands in the world.
While Virtus.pro can easily be regarded as one of the most iconic teams in CS:GO and esports in general, the Russian organization are currently only a shadow of their former selves. Once the alpha dogs of the competitive Counter-Strike scene, Virtus.pro have been on a steady decline since 2017 and are now ranked as the 26th best team in the world.
The departure of Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas and Filip "NEO" Kubski in 2018 was a massive hit for the team who have never managed to fully recover from it. Despite their best efforts to make things work, which included numerous transfers, and roster shuffles, Virtus.pro never managed to break away from their tag as a mediocre team. Countless unsuccessful attempts to recapture their glory days called for a drastic move - a complete revamp of their team by acquiring AVANGAR's full roster alongside their coach Dastan "dastan" Akbayev, which will mark a new era in Virtus.pro’s legacy and a new chapter in their road to former glory.
Virtus.pro's new line-up will now look as follows:
Dzhami "Jame" Ali
Alexey "qikert" Golubev
Timur "buster" Tulepov
Sanjar "SANJI" Kuliev
Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev
Dastan "dastan" Akbayev (coach)
The new Virtus.pro roster will make their first appearance at EPICENTER 2019, on Wednesday, December 18, where they will take a shot at claiming their first LAN tournament in over two years and taking home the lion's share of US $500,000 prize pool.v