Na'Vi: Flashback and Road to The International 2015
“The best time of the year” as Valve’s CEO Gabe Newell would say, is soon approaching. The International, bigger than ever, is closing in at a fast pace with an enormous prize pool expected to be more than $15 million USD, setting an all time high for eSports. This has of course caused an expected amount of shuffling around in team rosters to prepare the strongest line-ups for the yearly tournament.
But with all these things in mind, what has Na’Vi's Dota 2 squad been up to these past months? If you’ve been living under a rock, have no fear because this summary of consecutive events that has shaped up Natus Vincere for the big event, will inform you with all that you need to know.
A FLASHBACK INTO THE PAST
Let’s stop for a moment and go back all the way to the last International. In one of the biggest events of eSports of all time, Na’Vi managed to enter the main event with an invite. However, unable to adapt to the short game deathball meta, Na’Vi was only able to secure 8th position before being eliminated, making it the only International in which they didn’t make it to the Grand Finals.
As Clement ‘Puppey’ Ivanov and Kuro ‘KuroKy’ Salehi left the squad, some people were calling it the end of an era… but was it? Maybe it was the beginning of a new one, that Na’Vi was hoping for.
After Ti4, Na’Vi started facing some difficulties as their stable roster was no more. They lost their balance for a short bit as team synergy couldn’t be established within the players. Although they performed well in Excellent Moscow Cup Season 2 as well as Dota 2 Champions League Season 4, something surely felt a bit off. Na’Vi went out on the hunt for pro players, recruiting VANSKOR and fng in the process. A few more shuffles took place here and there, which included Goblak and DkPhobos. Problems in the roster became more apparent when Gleb ‘Funn1k’ Lipatnikov left the team.
NEW ROSTER AND ROAD TO TI5
As a wise man once said, “Never let a stumble in the road, be the end of the journey”. With this in mind, Na’Vi put their limits to the test, focusing more on training and polishing the player roster, which in turn improved their synergy and provided the team with a much needed proper and experienced captain and drafter. In the end, this turned out to be their line-up for ‘The International 2015’:
Alexander «XBOCT» Dashkevich
Danil «Dendi» Ishutin
Gleb «Funn1k» Lipatnikov
Akbar «SoNNeikO» Butaev
Ivan «ArtStyle» Antonov
This new roster proved themselves to be diligent when they got second place at the ASUS ROG DreamLeague Season 3 only a month later. This also marked the return of former players Funn1k, and ArtStyle, who was one of the original members of the Dota 2 squad during its creation, taking on the position of the captain. SoNNeikO was also recruited as a support player. This placed VANSKOR in a reserve slot, as he was facing a long term illness and was unable to compete.
Due to the difficulties faced by Natus Vincere in the past few months, Valve found it unreasonable to hand them a direct invite, which can be expected considering the recent results. But that was nothing more than a hurdle in Na’Vi’s road to Ti5, which they carved themselves with passion and hard work, facing top tier teams in the Europe regional qualifiers and ended up qualifying after defeating Vega Squadron, landing back onto their feet and once again securing a place in the main event in a very convincing fashion.
These days, Na’Vi is back in shape, looking stronger than ever. Currently, Na’Vi is ranked 9th worldwide and 5th in the Europe and CIS region, according to GosuGamers.net. They will surely show up in Seattle for the International, and if their performance remains stable, along with the thousands of fans supporting the squad through thick and thin, soon nothing will stand in the way of Natus Vincere and the Ti5 Aegis!
Article written by Kumail Pirzada