Virtus.pro sign mir on long-term contract
The 27-year-old will debut for the organization on July 8.
Virtus.pro have announced the surprise addition of Nikolay "mir" Bityukov to their roster. The organization added that the 27-year-old rifler signed a long-term contract with them on July 1 and that he will play his first match for the team in Buenos Aires on Saturday, replacing David "n0rb3r7" Danielyan who will miss the event due to injury.
mir previously plied his trade for Entropiq and Spirit, mustering stellar individual performances on both teams. On the former, he averaged a 1.16 rating, 1.27 impact, and 0.80 KPR over 86 maps, and on the latter he posted a 1.20 rating, 1.25 impact, and 0.77 KPR over 513 maps.
Widely considered one of the best members of both teams, mir's absence from the top-tier of Counter-Strike has been puzzling. CIS insider Alexey "OverDrive" Birukov previously stated after mir was transfer-listed from Spirit that he was "one of the most difficult teammates of any team," adding that he had a vision for the game and wanted to play his way, but no further information emerged after that.
The Russian rifler arrives on Virtus.pro as their sixth player signing, with the team's long-term roster situation currently unknown. He is set to replace n0rb3r7 in the team's FiReLEAGUE Battle 2023 against 9z as the 22-year-old will miss out due to injury, with the Russian organization adding that they would announce their roster formation for subsequent tournaments at a later date.
The move comes as somewhat of a surprise as Virtus.pro were not linked to any changes in the off-season and recently won ESL Challenger Katowice. This isn't the first time that n0rb3r7's position in the lineup has been in flux, however, as he previously was replaced by Aleksandr "KaiR0N-" Anashkin at the end of 2022 before making a surprise return to the roster mid-RMR for the BLAST.tv Paris Major.
“During the test games with mir, who signed a long-term contract with the club on July 1st, he proved to be the best candidate for the team in terms of his in-game role and personal skill," Virtus.pro CEO Nikolai Petrossian said in a statement.
"In addition, he immediately found a common language with his teammates. Nikolay is a very experienced player, and the coaching staff and I are confident that he will be able to play his best game and realize his full potential with Virtus.pro.
"We planned to announce mir's arrival a bit later, but David's injury forced us to speed up. The more interesting for the audience will be the clash in Argentina."
Virtus.pro now have:
Dastan "dastan" Akbayev (coach)