The heart suggests that VP are cursed, and JAME has to break that curse.

19:00, 05 Mar 2020

Somewhere around March 2017, someone at Virtus.pro CS:GO must have made a deal with the devil. They were an inconsistent battering ram of veterans who could either plow through an entire tournament or bang their heads against a wall until it knocked them out. Clearly unhappy with the team’s inconsistencies, someone took a gamble.

“Flip a coin” said the devil, “if it’s heads, you will be Virtus.plow forever. If it’s tails… well, you’ll be the other side of the coin. Metaphorically speaking.”

Snax & Snatchie

We don’t need to see that coin flip to know the outcome - Snax, arguably the best player in the world at that point, dropped into a form-hole that he’s never crawled out of. TaZ, NEO, pashaBiceps - none were ever the same again. But it wasn’t just them. Other Polish players came and went, with the biggest disappointment being snatchie. 

snatchie was a big talent - he was smashing tier two tournaments with AGO and looked like a player who could make the step-up. Maybe it was just that the golden five were old now? Maybe they were the only cursed ones? VP took a plunge and changed up the roster, but to no avail.

snatchie went from one of the hottest prospects on the tier two scene at 20, to team-less and unwanted at 22. His ratings from the past two years are sea of red that even Moses - not the bald one - couldn’t part. Disappointment after disappointment hit for Virtus.pro - phr and Vegi were similarly weak in the ratings department. In fact, MICHU, who was the first player to break the golden five, is the only one who seems to be leaving VP with his reputation in tact.

Snax went to mouz to try to escape the devil’s wrath, but he still couldn’t free himself. After a few turbulent months - that did somehow culminate in a big tournament win - he left to come back to VP, but he was now the ‘new Snax’ and never quite reclaimed the old one.

AVANGAR

Maybe the whole of Poland was cursed, thought Virtus.pro. Out of the corner of their eye, they spotted a new team, a team who reminded them of the golden days. AVANGAR were similarly inconsistent, generally only being a nuisance in big tournaments, and in the biggest of them all - the Major - AVANGAR did what the golden five did a few Majors prior. They made it to the final before losing to the pre-tournament favourites, Astralis. But still, it was a great showing, and AVANGAR had been on people’s minds for a while as a dangerous team.

AVANGAR seemed to be legit - they won a BLAST Pro Series and topped their group at ECS soon after - before a top-four finish at DH Rotterdam, and things were looking up. With JAME, who had evolved into a genuine superstar, qikert, who was rumoured to be heavily chased by NaVi after becoming a player who could challenge the top 20, and a structure around them, it seemed like there was no way it could go wrong.

Jame Virtus Pro
Dzhami "Jame" Ali

But Virtus.pro’s deal is for life, not just for Christmas. AVANGAR were snapped up by Virtus.pro, drawing ire from their loyal Polish fanbase - and that fury seemed to be well placed. VP went away from their Polish roots to bring in the Kazakh Kings of AVANGAR, but so far, it has not paid off.

Can JAME Break the Curse?

JAME hasn’t quite gone full snatchie, but his decline has been sharp and instant. qikert is still alright, but his ratings have dropped by over .1. AdreN, a former Major winner, is non-existent. Was this always destined to happen, or are VP cursed?

Well… it’s only been a few events, and AVANGAR were notoriously streaky. The team is not necessarily completely doomed, but the signs are not pretty. Something has changed.

There are rumours of SANJI’s departure, and potentially n0rb3r7 coming in. SANJI is the newest member, and often the one tasked with the more aggressive plays - changing him will give the team a fresh start, and changing the entry fragger, if that is what n0rb3r7 will be, can be game-changing for your T side.

The head suggests that VP - ex-AVANGAR - were always punching a bit above their weight, and with the player break as well, they’ve struggled to maintain the form that put them into the upper echelons of Counter-Strike. CS is volatile, and VP could just as easily make the top 4 at an event in the near future, completely combusting and blow up. 

They were a team who came out of somewhat-obscurity to the brightest spotlight, and with that comes pressure. The pressure of being studied, the pressure of maintaining a level and the pressure of people like me writing about you. The Kazakh boys seem to be crumbling under that pressure, but maybe with time they will be back.

JAME and qikert have not just become bad overnight - right? It’s not like there’s precedent for a player joining VP and just going from good to bad, right?

Ah.

The heart suggests that VP are cursed, and JAME has to break that curse. He might look like Jesus, but he’s got to perform a miracle to undo this deal with the devil.

 

Images via Dreamhack | Flickr

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