Virtus.pro will not attend IEM Oakland next week, according to sources involved with the tournament. The Polish team will be replaced in the a $300,000 tournament by Heroic, which most recently finished last at the European Minor Championship.
Virtus.pro is considered by many to be the best team in the world, finishing first at DreamHack Bucharest, second at ESL One New York and second place at Epicenter: Moscow. The team is prioritizing its time at home with family while preparing for the ELEAGUE Season 2 playoffs next month, according to a source familiar with the decision.
Heroic had a brief period of impressive play during its run in late August and early September after winning Power-LAN 2016 and finishing third place at Northern Arena 2016. The European Minor was the team’s second event with Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen, who joined the team to replace Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, who joined Astralis.
It is currently unclear if Heroic will directly replace Virtus.pro directly in Group B at IEM or if a reseeding will take place. Group B also contains SK Gaming, Ninjas in Pyjamas and mousesports as well as two additional teams that will qualify via this weekend’s iBUYPOWER Masters 2016.
UPDATE: ESL has since confirmed the move with an announcement.
Cover photo by Patrick Strack/ESL, eslgaming.com