With the release of the list of teams which get direct invite for the Manila Major we can see some big and obvious names in that list like EG, Secret, Liquid etc. However the team we are most interested in is Natus Vincere or NaVi.
In recent couple of weeks it seems as though NaVi has taken all the limelight, begging the question, is NaVi really back?
It seems like a long time ago that NaVi was one of the most entertaining team and given us so many moments to look back and be amazed. May it be the original million dollar dream coil in ti1.
The epic smoke gank turn vs IG in ti2 upper bracket match. Where IG smoked 5 men and got a perfect ravage and song of siren, but the huge blackhole from Light of Heaven enigma and the ravage steal from dendi turning the tides (pun unintended).
The insane comeback vs Orange Esports to reach ti3 finals. Or the double kill for Xboct Alchemist against Allaince. Or the crazy fountain hook strat in ti3. These amongst many other memorable moments that NaVi has given us.
NaVi was one of the earliest organisations which played such an important role in making Dota what it is today by laying the foundation. And it seemed as though NaVi were the only hope for western dota in a Chinese dominated scene that time. Both ti1 and t2 were majorly dominated by Chinese dota teams and NaVi managed to reach finals in both of them and even winning one.
However, like all good things had to eventually end. NaVi’s world domination had to come to a cease. After their humiliating exit in TI4 against C9 owing to them not adapting well enough to the meta. It seemed as though NaVi was history, and their magic was just lost. When they weren’t invited in TI5 and they had to go through the qualifiers, many experts predicted that NaVi wouldn’t even qualify. Given that European qualifier was arguably the toughest batch to get through and coming into the qualifiers, they were not looking like the favourites. But as time would have it, they surprised everyone by coming in first place with legendary games against Vega,4 Anchors and HR coming back from deficits or just good skill plays. It looked like NaVi were onto something and they might just surprise everyone on the main stage. But VG stopped their train and they had an early exit in ti5.
Most of it was just the roster instability for NaVi in the recent years. Saying goodbye to the captain Puppey and the star support Kuroky was definitely not an easy thing to do. Post ti5 was also not good roster wise for NaVi as they had a lot of players come in and go, none of them making it stick with the team. Like Dk Phobos, Goblack, Fng amongst many others. But the most important and sad one for NaVi fans was when NaVi announced that they are going to disband and then coming back with a team which had just the SoNNeikO and Dendi being the only existing members of NaVi from the previous squad.
Anyways that’s all in the past as NaVi seems to have found a stable squad now and it looks as though it’s working out quite well for them. Let’s look at what the current roster and what’s working for them.
Firstly Ditya Ra, what an amazing talent for Na’Vi. Acquired from No logic gaming, Ditya Ra is the carry that NaVi were looking for to bring that magic back. He dominates with heroes like Lycan and Nature’s Prophet having incredible 22-10 and 10-4 win loss with those heroes respectively. Not just that, he can pull off a very good Sven and more than respectable Phantom Lancer and Ember Spirit. His early game participation in kills and ganks makes him a perfect addition because NaVi likes to play super aggressive in early game and force their opponents to make mistakes costing them the game.
Another thing that has been fantastic for NaVi has been the support duo of Sonnieko and Artstyle. Well we are all familiar with SoNNeikO’s playmaking ability early game. His early gaming presence in mid lane helping Dendi getting the edge over the enemy mid lane which is a small victory in itself. From earth spirit to Io, SoNNeikO can really make an impact in the game with his crucial decision making. Artstyle has also been amazing for the team. Although he plays more of a traditional baby sitting support, he can really pressure lanes with his early game Enchantress smoke ganks which more often than not, leads to a pick off and even an objective like a tower.
However, one of the biggest influences in Natus Vincere’s recent success has to be GeneRaL. GeneRaL manages to find early levels in the offlane which proves to be very crucial in the early/mid game phase. GeneRaL always finds a way to reach level 6 in a very quick time usually faster the enemy offlaner which makes roaming very easy for him. His plays with Beast Master and Faceless Void is commendable, but he is most feared when he is playing his signature hero Batrider. That paired with a roaming SoNNeikO/ artstyle creates a lot of space for Dendi and Ditya Ra to do their stuff.
So for this new NaVi fresh off a bootcamp in China, reaching finals in the Starladder and getting a direct invite in Manila Major seems like steps in the right direction. And that too beating teams like OG,LGD, VG.R to reach the finals is definitely wasn’t an easy task.
So is NaVi really back? How far can they reach? We may just have to wait and watch. But rest assured, this NaVi squad looks like a team to watch out for. To read more on Dota 2, click here.