Virtus.pro has revealed that they made the decision to remove one of their players from their Heroes of the Storm roster, Stepan “Kunichan” Zhilin. Apparently, their carry’s performance greatly suffered under certain levels of stress, stress that is ever-present in the competitive gaming world, and also could not handle the training hours. It was added that Kunichan had been experiencing health problems, as well, but it’s very possible that those health issues could have been stress-related as Virtus.pro didn’t get into specifics.

Alena “Gela” Shushpannikova will be subbing for Kunichan this weekend at the EU ESL Major League Playoffs. While Gela appears to just be an avid streamer, she has actually filled in for both Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere on multiple occasions in the past and has expressed a great deal of interest in securing a spot in the professional scene. Despite this, is it emphasized that she is only going to be subbing long enough for the team to find a proper replacement.

In a statement, captain Vsevolod “CEBKAJE” Demianenko said,

“Today we say goodbye to Stepan. I am very happy that I played with him for a long time as a team. However, the time is coming, and now we are looking not only at the level of the game player, but his performance in stressful situations and protracted game days.” And went on to assure fans that they hope to fill the spot soon by saying, “At the moment, we are looking for a new player to the team, it does not mean that we have no candidates. We are negotiating with other players, and while in the near future we will play with Gela, with the help of which we won the second season of ESL Major League.”

Kunichan only started his professional gaming career last year, when he joined Team ArthasStroitHram (ASH) in December; the entire team lineup was later signed to Virtus.pro to be their HotS squad in June of this year so this is the first time he’s been without a team in almost an entire year. Like VP, there has been no word on whether or not he has – or will – found a new team.

About The Author

Connor
Sr. Esports Writer

Connor is a self-proclaimed Star Wars historian, Fatal Frame enthusiast and crazy cat lady that's fascinated by the Kpop mashups on YouTube. Professional gaming is something that's fascinated him ever since he was a wee lad, especially when it came to fighting games, so now he rambles on about it in the form of articles that use way too many commas.