The UK’s biggest esports event to date has wrapped, with Russian squad Virtus.Pro reigning victorious in a flawless run of matches at The Arena in Birmingham.
VP trounced runners-up Optic Gaming, with a 3-0 win in the grand final. The team will not only take home an absurdly large trophy, but also a cool $500k - half of the tournament’s $1m prize pool. North American squad Optic Gaming took the second-place prize of $200k.
“It’s always amazing to win a tournament,” Virtus.Pro player Pavel ‘9pasha’ Khvastunov tells us. “This is our third win at ESL, and now we’re going to China to play more Dota!”
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Prior to the semi-final, runners-up paiN Gaming and Fnatic faced off for the third place prize of $100k. In a shock result, Fnatic - who were favourites to win - ended up being defeated by paiN Gaming, much to the chagrin of Fnatic’s sizable UK fanbase.
“We could have done better with the drafts,” rising Fnatic player DJ says. “Our main issue right now is our communication in-game. PaiN Gaming’s strongest player is their ‘carry’, and they were playing around him as much as they could.”
Aside from being the first Dota 2 major held in the UK, ESL One Birmingham was also the first competition to feature a new, leaner match schedule that saw fewer rounds played in the opening matches. Many fans and players have been critical of the change, due to the fact the teams don’t get as much time to showcase their different skills.
“I don’t like [the change],” 9pasha says. “More games is always better. It gives us more chance to understand which teams are better in the group stage.”
After three days of Dota 2, and more than 9,000 fans in attendance, it’s fair to say this first UK major was a success. Now all eyes will be on The International’s qualifying rounds.