It's been a weird year so far for Virtus.Pro. When playing at offline tournaments, the team's results vary between being respectable and great. Just past weekend they defeated Natus Vincere 2-1 in the finals at the SL i-League Invitational, for instance.
But online, Virtus.Pro's results have been terrible. And the story of their online misery hit a new low last night, when they faced pan-European squad Penta Esports in the relegation match for the ESL Pro League (EPL for short).
Though Counter-Strike is flooded with different online-based leagues, EPL is one of the major ones, featuring a $1 million prize pool across their 2016 seasons. Virtus.Pro hasn't had much luck in the current season of the EPL, season 3, and ended up in last place. That meant they had to play a relegation match against the #2 finisher of the ESEA Premier division, the second tier league to the EPL.
And Virtus.Pro's online struggles continued in that game, as Penta won 2-1.
Though VP were the clear favourites, Penta started out the series by handing them a crushing 16-3 defeat on Cache. Virtus took the pistol round and the following two rounds, but then Penta took charge of the match and put 16 rounds on the board in a row. The second map, Mirage, was more even, with the teams nearly being tied at half-time. But Virtus.Pro played a dominant CT-side in the second map and winning it 16-9, bringing the series to a third and final map.
That map was Cobblestone, which ended up being up in overtime after two equally one-sided halves, each of them ending 11-4. Penta won the overtime 4-2, putting the final score at 19:17 and sending them to season 4 of the EPL.
The EPL is expanding from 12 to 14 teams for the upcoming season. HellRaisers, who won ESEA Premier division ahead of Penta, takes one of the spots. The final spot will go to a wildcard team that hasn't been announced yet.