Outsiders should compete at TI 2022 as Virtus.pro after the team’s name was changed on the official website of the famed Dota 2 competition.
The DPC rankings, published by Valve on Dota 2’s official website, now display Outsiders as Virtus.pro – a change from only a few weeks ago, when the team still appeared under the organization-less name.
The name change is likely connected to the recent appointment of Aram Karamanukyan as CEO and investor in Virtus.pro. In a comment to Escorenews, Virtus.pro said that Mr Karamanukyan, who is Armenian, owns the Virtus.pro trademark and that their teams will compete “exclusively” under the organization’s tag in all games.
With this change in ownership, Virtus.pro appear to have found a way to circumvent the sanctions placed on the organization following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian state-run insurance company Sogaz has a controlling stake in Virtus.pro’s ownership group VK, and is one of the companies included on the European Union’s sanctions list imposed on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
Because of this, some tournament organizers, like ESL, forced Virtus.pro’s teams to play under a neutral name, without any reference to the organization or its sponsors. BLAST went one step further, issuing an outright ban on Russia-based teams and canceling the CIS qualifier for its Spring Showdown event.
Recently, ESforce Holding, Virtus.pro’s parent company, stopped listing Virtus.pro as a key asset on its website. So far, there has not been an announcement about the transfer of ownership of Virtus.pro – a requirement since VK is a publicly-traded company.
Outsiders’ Dota 2 team is due to compete in the last-chance qualifier for TI 2022, which kicks off on October 8. Earlier that month, the Outsiders CS:GO team is slated to play in IEM Road to Rio Europe RMR B – a qualifying event for the IEM Rio CS:GO Major.
Dexerto has reached out to Valve, ESL and BLAST for comment.