It was a year when one of the most beloved and star shined team Natus Vincere (Na`Vi) reached to a point that they were unable to qualify any of the LAN events and denied from direct participation in The International for the first time. It was heart breaking for community as Na`Vi had been the only team which played finals of the TI three times and won the first International beating the Dota giant of 2011 - EHOME.
Team went several roster changes since last International first the departure of Puppey and Kuroky which got replaced by FNG and Vanskor, followed by departures of FNG, Funn1k and DK Phobos & joining of Akbar "SoNNeikO" Butaev. But new hope for team came on April 5th when Na`Vi announced that Funn1k and Artstyle have rejoined the team; Vanskor, struggling with a long term illness, moves to reserve. The new roster tried to get a chance to show themselves on LAN with The Summit 3 redemption votes, but unable to win the voting, as they fell short to IG. The new lineup started bootcamp to gel-up and practice together under the returning Legendary captain ArtStyle.
Na`Vi was grouped up with some of the most aggressive European teams likes
Yellow Submarine and
London Conspiracy. It looked a tedious task to overcome for newly formed roster as only two teams from each group will go to playoffs.
Na`Vi vs LC:
It was questionable opening games to team as they lost both of their games to London Conspiracy
even after getting some of their favorite picks like wisp & tiny combo and Puck for Dendi
in first game. Second game look good at start with XBOCT
farming hard on his signature Gyro and Dendi Queen of Pain but some misplays and free farming PL make them lose game 2 too. These two opening losses dimmed the hopes of fans as after such a performance it was not looking that Na`Vi
can win at least two out of remaining three games.
Na`Vi vs HR:
Both team started a fairly even draft till the time Na`Vi
by surprise by picking their last hero as brood offlane for Funn1k
, which paid them well as he solo zoned out Luna and killed her several times. HR
called GG in less than 30 min. Game 2 was fairly even as it went for 80 mins. Na`Vi
won it from the verge of an easy loss and showed to everyone that they perform well under pressure. Even having Boots of travel on 4 of the Heroes, HR
was unable to take Na’Vi
’s base and a late game Hex from Artstyle
made the team fight much stronger for Na`Vi, which was too strong for HR
, and Na`Vi
Na`Vi vs Vega:
third series was against Vega
, which was one of the favorites to win the qualifiers due to their balance between early aggression and mid to late game potential too. It looked scary as Na`Vi
gave away some of Vega
’s go-to hero, but Artstyle had some other picks in his mind like Pugna and BloodSeeker which caught them by surprise and they were unable to hand the never ending push from Na`Vi
and said GG in early 26 mins. Like the last series against HR
, the second game was just opposite to the first game. With come good picks of 6.84 like Leshrac and SF Vega dominated the game, but on the other hand it was Na`Vi
carry player XBOCT
who was not dying farming all over the map. But due to some bad fights and over farmed Leshrac & SF and good hooks from clock Na`Vi lost mid and bottom racks. With aegis on their clock a confident Vega
came to finish the game from top lane, in such a do-or-die situation XBOCT
went his favorite item Rapier on his pretty farmed Gyro. It was looking within any minute Na`Vi
will say GG with slow seize coming from SF illusions but Dendi
had something else in his mind. With a blink and three man crucial RP and insane damage coming up from Xboct Gyro and unsung hero Winter not letting the carry die helped in team wiping Vega
with even killing tanky Clock 2 times. Vega decided to buyback on all their heroes and go top again, but result was same as XBOCT
Gyro was dishing way too much damage. With all the buybacks cooldown Na’Vi
decided to push 4 man mid and Xboct
pushing bot lane, who later teleported with team at mid lane. Na`Vi
decided to go for throne and in meantime Dendi
got his RP’s back. This made everyone witness one of the biggest comback’s of 6.84 as Na`Vi won the game in one hour and thirty mins.
Na`Vi vs YeS:
needed only one game to secure their spot in playoff but they decided not to take the series light as they won both games. The first game was very short with steam roll by Na`Vi
, with some cheeky plays by SoNNeikO
’s sniping the bottle at mid lane and return XBOCT
old school hero Lifestealer. Second game was interesting with a Pudge pick from YeS
on PSM which gave them first blood on Dendi
QOP, but Funn1k
Timber and XBOCT
Axe were way hard to handle for five meele hero line-up of YeS
with a fairly long 5 min GG.
Na`Vi vs 4SAC:
With only one BO3 away from reaching the TI Na`Vi had to play their upper bracket final against 4SAC. With grabbing Gyro for XBOCT & Brood for Funn1k and last Pudge pick for Dendi, Na`Vi lineup looked fairly strong. But due to not getting too much from early game Na’Vi lineup felt against a pushing KOTL & PL combo of 4SAC, which gave them a fifty minutes long loss. Artstyle banned PL and KOTL in first ban phase and also grabbing Gyro and Lesh for team which out drafted 4SAC, which moreover cemented their defeat with bad early game for mid and offlane. 4SAC called a 38 min GG. With both teams only one game away from a spot at TI, Artstyle banned PL & KOTL combo in the first phase again, but gave away some of the strongest heroes like Gyro, Wisp and SF.
However Weaver pick for XBOCT was high risk high reward. The game looked fairly even as both teams were trading kills. It was the fight in radiant jungle where three of Na’Vi heroes died fairly early in the fight, but Xboct Weaver was hitting quite hard, though the main playmaker of that game was SoNNeikO, who saved Weaver from dying four times in that fight and saved the game for Na’Vi. With upper hand after sometime Na`Vi took mid tower and went for rosh, but that was just a bait as 4SAC followed them to rosh. The entire Na`Vi lineup was waiting at secret shop and that high ground advantage followed by Disruptor, Winter and SK ulties secured them not only the game but also a trip to Seattle.
Na`Vi vs Vega:
After defeating NIP
came strong to fight against Na`Vi
to secure their slot at main events of TI and also taking revenge of group stage. It was best of five with no advantage to Na`Vi
even being the winner of upper bracket finals. Game one draft looked a bit shaky for Na`Vi as they gave away both Gyro and QOP on the cost of Wisp. Moreover Sven carry & Bloodseeker pick as offlane didn’t work well against strong lineup of Vega
. It was a 31 min GG called by Na`Vi
Vega was just 2 wins away. The game 2 draft was reverse of the game one as Na`Vi
grabbed both Lesh & Gyro and even Chen for Artstyle
came up with Ursa pick being direside for easy Rosh, but roaming Earthshaker of SoNNeikO
was far more aggressive to handle as Ursa was not able to take Rosh entire game and ended 0-8, Vega
tried some comebacks with Bounty pick and track golds but Funn1k
bara countered it and Vega
called GG in less than 28 min.
As casters said Na`Vi
perform extremely well under pressure, but on the other side Vega
crumbled under pressure as the Game 3 and Game 4 was the repeated story of game 2. Even after grabbing Gyro and SF Vega
was unable to stop the farming Jugger of XBOCT
and again it was mistake by giving away ES to
Na`Vi as SoNNeikO
set some important kills. With 9-2 and 10-2 from XBOCT
and Dendi, Na`Vi
wrapped up the game at 40 min mark. In 4th and last game Vega
was able to grab PL and QOP but an interesting Dragon Knight pick for Dendi
, which encountered PL hard and with Artstyle
Chen taking towers very early in the game. PL never got the space required, which cost the game for Vega
won the series convincingly 3-1 and secured the spot with other invited teams in their 5th consecutive International.
It was some of the best synergy, draft and will power of: Artstyle, Dendi, Xboct, Funn1k
(new sensation) that they overcome all odds. It was true lines by Dendi
that he don’t want a spot in International if they don’t deserve it and it was well deserved spot. Hope to see same success in the upcoming tournaments and The International.
by Vijay Pratap Singh