Virtus.pro Leaves Hearthstone, Sets Sights on Artifact
Yesterday it was announced that Virtus.pro are leaving HearthStone, and all of its players will become free agents.
Virtus.pro created its HearthStone division back in April 2016, which consisted of Ole "Naiman" Batyrbekov, Artem "DrHippi" Kravets and Raphael "BunnyHoppor" Peltzer. At 2016 Hearthstone World Championship DrHippi managed to finish second, while Naiman placed 13-16th. On top of that, just a month ago Naiman became a champion of StarLadder Ultimate Series 2017. None of the players managed to qualify for 2017 Hearthstone World Championship, which will be held in a week in Amsterdam.
Roman Droryankin, General Manager of Virtus.pro, commented on the decision:
"We have arrived at such conclusion after analyzing Blizzard's 2018 plans and tournaments' landscape over the past few years. At this moment, we can't see any prospects in Hearthstone for us. The players realize the current state of Hearthstone's professional scene and understand the inevitability of this decision. We have spent a lot of time together, those were a great couple of years. Virtus.pro boasted one of the strongest rosters in Europe and CIS at the time of scene's maximum competitivity (2015-2016). I wish to thank my predecessors, Sergei Pisotsky in particular, for finding such talented players. Everyone is interested when we'll acquire a roster in the Artifact discipline. We are constantly in touch with the players. They, as we are, are very interested in Artifact, but we'll hold announcements on this topic until a second-third quarter of the year.”
It is worthy of note that Virtus.pro is one of the few organizations who talk about their plans relative to Artifact. The only thing we know about the game is that it’s a Dota-themed card game, created by Valve and scheduled for release in 2018. The teaser of the game, released in September 2017, didn’t provide any actual information on the game and sparked a backlash in community. Since then the developers haven’t provide any additional information.
Although the players are apparently interested in switching to Artifact, both Naiman and BunnyHoppor have already stated on Twitter that they will continue to play Hearthstone in 2018 and are looking for a new organization, at least until Artifact will be released.
Virtus.pro is a CIS-based esports club with rosters in Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Quake Champions and Paladins. Recently the organization disbanded its League of Legends roster.