The CIS region is a historically unstable one in terms of teams keeping the same roster. For the past year, Virtus.pro has been the exception to this rule. They have stuck together and improved, even through some rough losses. The International 7 will put this all on the line for Virtus.pro, effectively determining if the last year of work was worth it.
Roman "Ramzes666" Kushnarev
Vladimir "No[o]ne" Minenko
Pavel "9pasha" Khvastunov
Ilya "Lil" Ilyuk
Alexei "Solo" Berezin
Recalling the past year
The life of Virtus.pro's current roster began shortly after The International 2016, which the previous roster had failed to qualify for. The new Virtus.pro immediately found success by qualifying for both the Boston Major and ESL One Genting. Shortly before Boston, Virtus.pro took first place at The Summit 6, but failed to transfer this momentum into the main event. A 5th-8th place finish left the players and fans alike disappointed. The team continued on to place 3rd-4th at ESL Genting and then 5th-6th at ESL Genting. Virtus.pro's rocky road came to an end at the Kiev Major in April, where they finished in second place to OG after a grueling grand final that went to all five games. Virtus.pro returned to The Summit to claim another victory in late June, a win that they pulled off in style. After being criticized for having a very small hero pool, Virtus.pro nearly completed an all-hero challenge at The Summit 7. They managed to pick a total of 82 out of the 113 heroes in the game, and still managed to take first place. Despite their absence from the recent Mars Dota 2 League and Dreamhack Season 7 competitions, Virtus.pro are still going into The International 7 on the back of a win. For such a momentum based team, this will be a valuable asset.
Strategies to watch
Virtus.pro is classically a very aggressive team. Their strategies don't lean so heavily on a single player or position like some teams, although No[o]ne is more than capable of taking over a game with Shadow Fiend or Templar Assassin if given the chance. While their drafting was fairly transparent and predictable for most of the year, their performance at The Summit 7 showed that this team has a very deep hero pool.
Each player on Virtus.pro is either the best or among the top at their position, and their teamwork and fighting ability is only matched by a few other teams. This ability to fight as a team is why they favor extremely control heavy offlane heroes for 9pasha. His Earthshaker and Sand King are both extremely impressive, and Virtus.pro is one of the few teams with the confidence to still pick Magnus and Centaur Warrunner.
Virtus.pro's two support players, Lil and Solo, differ drastically in terms of playstyle, but are no slouches in their own right. Lil is a much greedier position four support than usual, and is known above all for his skills on Visage. Solo, on the other hand, takes the role of sacrificial support to an extreme. Solo's pool of heroes favors supports like Warlock, Ogre Magi, Disruptor, and Vengeful Spirit. In fights, Solo is content to just get off his spells and die, and he's among the best supports at the art of tanking ganks for his carry. With this supportive cast behind them, it's no wonder that Virtus.pro's two carries, Ramzes and No[o]ne, often have such impressive games. Much like their CS:GO roster, when Virtus.pro is playing well they become the Virtus Plow. If all members of Virtus.pro's roster show up to Seattle playing their A game, there won't be many teams there that can stop them.