An esports club founded in 2009
In October 2009, when esports was rapidly gaining popularity, and the number of championships with big prizes kept steadily increasing, a Kazakhstani patron Murat "Arbalet" Zhumashevich announced the idea of creating an esports organization at the Intel Extreme Masters tournament in Dubai. Arbalet set out to create a professional team for which he will become the main sponsor: he will provide players with a training ground and will take on the financial side of the issue, starting with salaries and ending with the payment for flights. The first to respond to the proposal was starix - he was given the task of creating the star squad. On December 17, 2009, organization called Natus Vincere (from Latin - born to win) was built around the CS:GO team. It is noteworthy that initially the abbreviation NAVI was borrowed from the film "Avatar", and its final form was acquired after the competition for the team name, conducted among the fans. The first NAVI lineup included Edward, markeloff, starix, ceh9 and Zeus, with ZeroGravity becoming the manager. All the players were distinguished by high individual skill and had a lot of experience in tournaments.
In 2010, NAVI won 12 medals (8 being gold) and gathered a huge army of fans. The success of the players was acknowledged by hltv.org: Edward (5th place), starix (4th place) entered the yearly rating, and markeloff was recognized as the strongest player of the season. Zeus, in turn, received the title of the best captain. In October 2010, NAVI organization expanded, joining DotA scene. Curiously, Goblak and Mag initially joined the squad, but their stay was relatively short. NAVI DotA team got fully fleshed out in early 2011: it was composed of Dendi, XBOCT, LighTofHeaveN, ArtStyle and Puppey.
In 2011, FIFA, StarCraft II and League of Legends teams were created. The new rosters did not meet the expectations and were subsequently disbanded. The exception was Yozhyk, who is considered one of the strongest FIFA players in the world at the moment and pleases the fans with victories. He has earned more than 20 medals in competitions of different rank. The main esports event of 2011 was The International, a Dota 2 tournament with a record prize pool of $ 1,000,000. It's worth noting that Valve first introduced this game to a wide audience at the GamesCom in Cologne.
This year was very important first of all for the CS roster. The team continued to show high-class games, and won several major tournaments, as well as taking second places. But the transition to a new discipline was inevitable: by the end of 2012, the entire roster started to compete in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The Dota roster continued to please the fans. In 2012, Natus Vincere was able to reach the finals of six major tournaments and won two championships! Also, the Born to Win reached the finals of The International for the second time in a row, but this time they failed to beat another Chinese team, Invictus Gaming. However, it didn’t affect the subsequent results: NAVI continued to be one of the strongest teams in the professional scene. An important moment was NAVI’s appearance in another MOBA game — League of Legends. The club signed a deal with a promising European team. The team fought in a number of championships but by the end of the year, it ceased to exist.
In June 2013, NAVI World of Tanks roster was compiled from The RED Rush players. Tankmen claimed the first cup in September, having won the championship in Seattle. Over the next four years, the tank squad of Natus Vincere won more than 20 international awards and $ 350,000 in China, Poland, the United States and other countries. Unfortunately, in June 2017, Natus Vincere disbanded the roster due to the rapid decline of the esports component of the game.
In 2014 Natus Vincere announced the second Dota 2 team, NAVI.US, to be created in North America. Both squads took part in The International 2014, but could not achieve the best result. A few months after the championship, the NAVI.US squad was disbanded, with the main roster undergoing changes as well.
2015 was very successful for Natus Vincere: Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone and League of Legends rosters have started working again. In Blizzard's games, Born to Win achieved excellent results: the HotS division made it to the BlizzCon semifinal, and the Swedish Hearthstone player Ostkaka became the world champion, winning $ 100,000. Despite successful performances, a year later both teams were disbanded. In the League of Legends, things went much worse: the European roster lasted only a short while, and the performances of the CIS-composition deteriorated from season to season. At the end of the summer split in 2017, the organization decided to focus on other popular games. In total for 2015, more than 40 trophies were claimed, and the total winnings exceeded $ 1 million!
2016 began with victories for CS:GO team at DreamHack ZOWIE Leipzig 2016 and Counter Pit Season 2, but then a long decline followed. In an attempt to regain the shape, it was decided to replace the legendary Zeus with the young and talented Alexander "s1mple" Kostylev. Alexander quickly adapted to the new team, and by the end of the year NAVI had become champions of ESL One: New York. In the US, s1mple won the first MVP award in his career! The composition of Dota 2 has undergone significant changes after the unsuccessful performance during The International 2016 - there was going to be a team built around Dendi and GeneRaL. By the end of December, the fans were presented with a new roster: European players Pajkatt, rmN- and Biver joined the "old-timers". In total for 2016, NAVI players won more than 35 championships, earning about $ 1,400,000.
2017 was not the best for the organization: the teams on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 could not return to the former form, as a result of which the next changes in their rosters were made. In late July, Crystallize and RodjER joined the Dota 2 team, replacing the European players, and the duties of the captain were taken over by SoNNeikO. The updated lineup played with rekindled vigor: the guys reached the semifinal of DreamLeague Season 8, won bronze at MDL Macau, and triumphantly defeated Virtus.pro during the Adrenaline Cyber League final. After a series of failures that followed CS:GO team, GuardiaN decided to leave the ranks of the organization and join FaZe Clan. At the time, there was no leader on the team, so the return of Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko was received with enthusiasm. Nevertheless, the team continued to experience difficulties, and by the end of the year, another replacement was made: seized switched to inactive, and his place was taken by electronic. These reshuffles had a positive impact on the results of the squad, as the squad managed to qualify for several major tournaments. In 2017, Natus Vincere formed Quake Champions and Paladins teams. Anton "COOLLERZ" Singov - multiple prize-winner of international competitions for Quake III Arena - was the one to represent the colors of Natus Vincere in the new shooter by id Software. Anton won the first gold for NAVI a few days after he joined the organization, and he was able to break into the top three at the World Championships. Unfortunately, Quake Champions did not see the proper development of the pro scene: the number of championships was rapidly decreasing, and in May 2018 the organization Natus Vincere announced the release of the roster As for Paladins, former WASD Sports members were the ones to represent NAVI. At the moment, the composition of NAVI.Paladins is one of the strongest in the discipline: players have become the world champions thrice, earning a total of $ 175,000. Dota 2 team experienced quite a lot of setbacks in the first half of 2018: after a chain of defeats RodjER (transfer to Virtus.pro) and SoNNeikO left the team. NAVI failed to recover from the loss of talented support players: the results with Lil and LeBron - newcomers to the team - left much to be desired, and after the defeat in the open qualifiers for The International 2018 it was decided to transfer the roster to inactivity.
In 2018, Natus Vincere started Playerunknown's Battlegrounds roster - a popular Battle Royale game. The PUBG lineup conquered the hearts of the fans at the debut tournament: the LAN-final of the Global Loot League Season 1 with a prize fund of $ 50,000 was claimed by the Born to Win. In Minsk, where the final qualifying stage of the World Championship was held for the CIS, NAVI won again, reaffirming the status of the best team in the region. At PUBG Global Invitational 2018, NAVI became the fourth in the first-person mode, earning $ 60,000. CS:GO roster also continued to please the fans with victories and significantly strengthened their positions in the world arena. NAVI won bronze medals at the ELEAGUE Major Championships: Boston 2018, ESL Pro League Season 7 and ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier, silver at the DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018 and SL i-League Season 4, and added three trophies to the collection: SL i- League Season 5, CS:GO Asia Championship and ESL One: Cologne 2018. After such an impressive series of successful performances, Natus Vincere was rightfully placed on the second line of the world rankings, and Alexander "s1mple" Kostylev was awarded five MVP awards - he became the first player in the history of CS:GO, who managed to get this title without winning the tournament. At FACEIT Major: London 2018 the Born to Win proved yet again that they are one of the best teams in the world: NAVI stopped one step away from the trophy, yielding to Astralis in the final match. On September 1, 2018, the club revealed a new Dota 2 lineup: for the first time in 8 years Dendi was not among the players. The new players were the key ones this time: Blizzy, MagicaL and Chuvash joined Crystallize, while the place of the captain was taken by SoNNeikO. There were also changes on the coaching bridge: Mag became the players’ new mentor. The most important event for the NAVI esports club in the fourth quarter of 2018 was the transition to a new owner. Oleksandr Kokhanovskyi made the decision to sell NAVI, realizing that significant investments were needed to bring the club to a new level. Then, in Q4 2018, Maksym Krippa became the majority owner of NAVI. Maksym is a Ukrainian businessman and venture capital investor with IT, Game Development, and Real Estate assets.
2019 was a busy and fruitful year for NAVI. The esports club was represented in a multitude of disciplines, ranging from CS:GO, Dota 2 to Battle Royale games. The CS:GO team has experienced several ups and downs. The Born to Win has been at the top of various championships, yet unable to boast with a consistent play. For this reason, the legendary players Zeus and Edward stepped down, giving space to Boombl4 and GuardiaN. B1ad3 who held the position of the director of esports became the new coach, and together the team aimed to conquer new heights. In 2019, thanks to investments from the new owner, the NAVI esports club launched a unique project aimed at developing young esports players: NAVI Esports Camp. Based on its results, NAVI Junior was to be formed — an academy team made up of the strongest juniors. It was a mixed year for NAVI Dota 2. The team made it to The International but finished 13th-16th place, the team suffered several roster changes and for a long time couldn’t achieve their best form. Nevertheless, the team ended on a positive note, becoming one of the participants of the DreamLeague Season 13. In 2019, five new players got splashed with the yellow and black colors representing NAVI in the new discipline Rainbow Six Siege. The debut was not the most successful, and soon after, the players of MnM Gaming joined the forces and started to play for the NAVI. This new roster had a bigger success, winning several regional championships, as well as, the tenth season of the Pro League taking $ 100,000 home. The PUBG and Apex Legends divisions also showed great success, with both teams performing well in the championships and delighting viewers with great plays. Additionally, NAVI once again had a presence in Quake Champions, since cYpheR transitioned back from the coaching position in Apex Legends.
It was a difficult year for both NAVI and esports in general. There were only a few LAN events and most competition moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 began with a replacement in NAVI CS:GO. A young gun Perfecto joined the team and replaced GuardiaN. The renewed roster won a spot in the BLAST Premier Spring Finals and took second place at ICE Challenge 2020 before going to IEM Katowice 2020. And there, the team had no equal: it’s been 10 years since the incredible victory at IEM Season IV, the Born to Win once again lifted the coveted trophy and took home $ 250,000 in prize money. The NAVI Academy continued to grow and nurture new players. At the peak of their performance, they placed 37th in HLTV.org’s rankings. At the end of the year, B1t the graduate of the Academy started occasionally playing for the main roster and consequently became a full-time member of the team. Unsatisfying results in Dota 2 led to frequent roster changes. The turning point was in September when the full team of FlyToMoon joined the forces of Natus Vincere. The fans warmly welcomed the new players, and the veterans of the club were happy to see GeneRaL and RodjER back again on the roster. Things gradually took off, and in December the team took first place at the OGA Dota Pit Season 4. In 2020, the club reopened the Fortnite division, inviting young players Putrick and 7tor, while also making a move into mobile esports: PUBG Mobile division was launched in the fall. Within a few months, the two Fortnite players made more than $ 25,000, and the PUBG Mobile team won the EMEA League.
Despite the challenging period of the previous year, the NAVI esports club went into 2021 with big plans and clear goals. The Born to Win focused on both consolidating achievements and reaching new heights, NAVI began to appear not only on computer screens but also on mobile devices. Rocket League, Halo Infinite, Wild Rift, Brawl Stars, Free Fire, and VALORANT, conquering these disciplines is one of NAVI’s missions. While existing teams boasted outstanding results: e.g. PUBG Mobile delivered great performances on the international stage and regularly made it to the top of the championships. NAVI Counter-Strike: Global Offensive achieved the greatest heights in 2021. The Born to Win triumphed in a number of tournaments, and victory at the PGL Major Stockholm 2021 was the cherry on the cake. In addition, three NAVI players (b1t, electronic, s1mple) were included in the final Top10 rankings by HLTV.org, while s1mple topped the rankings. Also in 2021, a high-tech office with gaming penthouses was built in Kyiv, and the club’s staff grew 4 times.