With The International just around the corner, after a year of constant chaos and confusion surrounding the Natus Vincere Dota 2 team, hope and optimism returned among fans after great plays and compassion shown in recent tournaments. Will Na’Vi be able to show the same drive and passion at The International 5? Are they capable of finishing on top? The community have spoken!
It was almost one year ago when Natus Vincere kicked off their campaign in Seattle at The International 4. Since then the team has seen countless of changes, starting with the departure of then support duo
" Ivanov and
" Salehi Takhasomi. New faces have joined then left, the lack of stability causing havoc among the different line-ups. It wasn’t until ex-TI champion and ex-captain
" Antonov re-joined the team, pairing up with young Russian prodigy
" Butaev, that Na’Vi got a grip on the current meta-game.
Therefore, we took the initiative to go on different forums such as GosuGamers and joinDOTA to know the exact thought process of the community about Natus Vincere Dota 2 squad. To be honest, we were surprised to see such insane amount of positive backing from the community towards our team which further solidifies our will and determination to perform well at The International 5. For this very reason, we've listed below statements from various fans on how they think Na`Vi will fare at The International 5:
“I see Na'Vi finishing in top 4. The results they have achieved in the last month have proven that they can indeed compete at a very high level” - Yuri "yur0n" Bilyk (joinDOTA)
“I think realistically, NaVi can win 4th place if they perform well. If they greatly improve they might go over to compete for first 3 places. But 4th place with current form would be pretty decent.” - GoD_Tyr (joinDOTA)
The upcoming bootcamp is factor that the fans believe will increase the chances of a greater performance, as the one before the TI Qualifiers worked out to their favor:
“I think on a good day we can reach 5/6th, anything higher than that would be either an over-achievement, or the result of spectacular team play due to their upcoming bootcamp, because right now they are in for a 7/8th position in my opinion. Best case scenario would probably be 3rd.” - Legjendat (joinDOTA)
“They improved so much from one TI qualifier bootcamp. I believe our boys our boys need to work on mid game and learn how not to throw the advantage the way because their early and late game is crazy good. I am already liking how they are not afraid to push raxes at 15 mins even without aegis when they have a big advantage” - midas333 (joinDOTA)
Fans all over the world greeted the return of the legendary Ukrainian, a leader who Na’Vi was lacking ever since the departure of Puppey. Glimpses of hope were shown ever since, with Na’Vi easing through the European Qualifiers for this year’s International as well as a great run in ASUS ROG DreamLeague Season 3, confirming the fact that the team is on the right path to get back its old glory:
"While I've always believed Artstyle was the true captain of Na`Vi and (...) I think that he can lead the team to Top 8. Their recent achievements have surely proven to everyone that they can indeed compete." - Aven (joinDOTA)
“Na'vi have really picked up in recent times and I think with Artstyle's direction and SoNNeikO’s outstanding supportive plays they will have an OK run at TI5. They have managed to compete against top caliber teams in the past few months e.g. VP who we've seen dominate in the early stages of ESL One...” - SKLuMP (GosuGamers)
“If you asked me after they won TI5 I would not be so optimistic, but after their performance in Dream League I definitely am. The playoffs vs. VP was just amazing. I expect Na'vi to go out guns blazing in a quarter final or make it at least to semis. However, I think it is premature to rule them out.” - Daks (GosuGamers)
Arguably the mountain to climb is higher than ever, with teams like
Team Empire or the Chinese giants
Invictus Gaming or
LGD all having had a stable year.
“Na ́Vi really showed some promising DOTA last few months but they are not up there yet to contest championship. If everything will go well they might be able to reach 5th place or so but if nothing goes their way they might as well end really badly...” - k1nley (GosuGamers)
“Despite recent results, I am really scared of Chinese teams. They are stubborn, competitive and focused on goals. I can see them training hard in some crazy super-secret camp in the middle of nowhere. That's why I am putting Na’Vi lower than I would like.” - Adam "0wl" (joinDOTA)
“They are the team that is most growing with the time, they did well against VP, showing us the old and beautiful NA'VI team fight and they still have a month to work hard on they strategies and early-mid game decision, since they play well under pressure as no other team, if they can pass through the group stage I find it very hard to believe they can be stopped easily, so I would say they can finish top 5” - deninsss (GosuGamers)
“Na`Vi has two dominant traits. They are very unpredictable, besides being very inconsistent. Thus, predicting the outcome of current Na`Vi roster matches against higher tier teams (EG, VG, Secret) will prove to be hard in my opinion. All teams that are invited to TI, or qualified to it, are equal in terms of mechanical skill and capability of big plays. What makes them different from my view is how often each team makes mistakes and if they were bound to happen, how often they recover from it (...) Predicting Na`Vi's standing at this right moment would be wrong. Doing it after TI starts, and throughout the group stage would prove to be better, but (...) I am going to say that Na`Vi are capable of getting higher than 8, and possibly 4th/5th, assuming they play in perfect form and consistency.” - Abe (joinDOTA)
We also had one long and a wonderful statement from another dedicated fan. He had words of appreciation as well as some criticism, but he did make sure to say everything he wanted to. The entire statement can be read below:
“I think with a huge boost in confidence and a tightening up of their gameplay, Na'Vi have a shot at 5th place. In their games vs. Virtus Pro, they've demonstrated the ability to win vs. contending teams. When Na'Vi play well and win, they pick meta-crushing supports that can protect carries for SoNNeikO, such as Winter Wyvern and Shadow Demon. They pick snowballing carries for Dendi, such as Shadow Fiend and Leshrac.
When they play poorly, they pick out-of-meta heroes for their cores and hope their supports can give them enough room to succeed. This works against lower level teams, but against the TI contenders, one constantly sees them losing the edge and trying tricky plays to compensate for their more difficult to play drafts.
XBOCT seems to be the one player that teams can ignore when playing Na'Vi. If the supports are shut down and Dendi is focused, that is usually enough to win the game. The problem is that XBOCT comes online too late into the game. He needs a hero that can contribute early and take the pressure off Dendi, which leads to my next point: Dendi must do the heavy lifting from mid, and the supports must make sure he gets his farm. They cannot draft him Puck or Dragon Knight; they need him to run through enemies with Leshrac/SF/QoP/SS/Lina; heroes that can control the early-mid game through to the end. XBOCT will get his farm, even if shut down early, so long as Dendi is given room to carry until the late game when XBOCT can catch up.
Funnik is a highly underrated offlaner, he is usually a safe player and come mid game, sets up lots of kills and make lots of room. I think the offlane is the easiest lane to get the basics expected from your position, and the hardest lane from which to make yourself shine and take more than you are given by the enemy. To do this, Funnik must play aggressive offlaners that make a difference from the start, such as clock and axe. No LC/ void/brood/qop lanes. The offlaner these days can't just disappear from the map the whole early game.
Having said that, Na'Vi are an extremely talented team, and just like C9, tend to make poor decisions in the drafting phase which can make their lives so much more difficult. My unsolicited advice is to keep a sharp eye on the meta and don't be above picking those hot heroes. Make sure Dendi has the farm priority and do not take greedy supports. Dendi/Funnik/SoNNeikO are top tier at their positions, and XBOCT has clutch games in him if the conditions are right. Artstyle is still finding his game and I hope Na'Vi don't lose faith in him. Let him get back into the captain's mindset and gain his confidence back and always trust him regardless of what happens. Those are the ingredients to an upset run in TI5.” - sejanus (GosuGamers)
Average predicted position by fans: 5.18
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Author credit: Ferenc 'Sarkane' Fodor