Virtus.Pro has announced the formation of a professional League of Legends team once again, but they don’t seem happy about it. In a statement, Virtus.Pro’s General Manager Roman Dvoryankin said that due to an increasing competitive League of Legends presence, they could no longer ignore the esport—much as they might like to. “Riot Games are systematically developing the League of Legends in CIS countries. As the region’s leading organisation, we can’t stay outside of that process,” said Dvoryankin.
But they made no illusions about where the organization’s real time and money would go: “We remain focused on our key disciplines: CS:GO, where we have the best team in the world, and a Dota 2 roster, which have most recently showed prominent performance on the EU qualifiers for The Boston Major.”
You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know Virtus.Pro even had a League of Legends team. The organization is known for their CS:GO team, which has had a dominant presence for most of their history. They’ve racked up first place finishes in tournaments across the board, most recently at DreamHack Bucharest. Their Dota 2 team has also been a strong contender in the competitive scene, though a surprising uptick in ass-kickings over the Spring and Summer season led to the purging of the entire squad in June.
Their last League of Legends team, which lasted less than a year, never achieved any feats impressive enough to make a full disbanding dramatic. The one member to escape anonymity was the team’s support, Likkrit, who this year helped bust Albus Nox Luna out of the group stages at Worlds, making it the first time a wild card team has ever done that. Likkrit himself gained a kind of celebrity at the event for his extraordinary positivity and sportsmanship and Christ-like appearance, leading to the sacrilegious, if apt, moniker: “League Jesus.”
I’m starting to understand why Likkrit didn’t fit in with the climate at Virtus.Pro. On whether or not he believed their new team would do well, Dvoryankin had some words of almost stereotypically Russian stoicism: “We’re entering the LCL with a young squad consisting of promising players. I’m sure that they will be able to show solid results in the second half of the year, if a correct approach will be taken.”
The new team will begin their first professional matches soon, as the LCL Open Cup begins in Moscow and Saint Petersburg on November 20th.