10 years with NAVI: Dota 2
Dota 2 squad story from the foundation to present day.
On Natus Vincere birthday, let's recall the story of our Dota 2 team. For almost 10 years we've had squads fighting in one of the most popular MOBA games
Initially, the organization was represented by a DotA Allstars team: the roster was announced in October 2010. Notably, the current NAVI coach, Mag, played there for a short time. Talking about Valve game, the team was assembled in August 2011, when the first The International was held, which is where Dota 2 was presented.
The prize pool was huge for the time — $ 1 600 000; NAVI had the following roster: Artstyle, Dendi, XBOCT, Puppey and LightOfHeaveN. The team was one of the favorites and already at the group stage began to confidently beat one opponent after another.
In the playoffs, the Born to Win defeated Moscow Five, Invictus Gaming, Scythe Gaming and thus reached the grand finals of the championship, where they met with one of the best teams of the time - EHOME. Starting with a one-point advantage due to advancing from the upper bracket, the guys confidently beat the representative of the Celestial Empire with a score of 3: 1. A great start in the new esports discipline, the title of the first champions of The International - the names of our players are forever recorded in the history of not only Dota 2, but also esports in general!
NAVI at the first The International
After such a triumph, NAVI delighted fans in their debut season. Yellow-blacks won quite a few tournaments at various levels: Electronic Sports World Cup 2011, The Defense Season 1 and Season 2, The Premier League: Season 1, StarLadder StarSeries Season 1 and Season 2, as well as joinDOTA Special Masters. The team achieved this success, notably, after the reshuffle at the season start: instead of Artstyle , the squad acquired Smile (ARS-ART), and XBOCT became a carry.
The next The International viewed Natus Vincere, the returning champions, as favorites. The tournament in Seattle didn't start well for us: the team nearly dropped to the bottom bracket, but still defeated TongFu in the decisive match and ended up in a safe fourth place, which allowed us to make it into the upper bracket.
The main stage saw NAVI unveil their full potential: the guys showed a very confident game, beating 3 Chinese teams — Team DK, Invictus Gaming and LGD Gaming. Thus, the “yellow-blacks” reached the grand finals and were one step away from an incredible achievement — becoming world champions for two years in a row!
The opponent in the final match was Invictus Gaming, who the guys already faced in the upper bracket. After falling to the lower bracket, the Chinese team got seriously angry and approached the start of the grand final with a clear intention to win. At first, the teams traded maps, but on the third one, “yellow-black” got stomped - 2:20 by kills. Perhaps this defeat broke the guys, but they never came back into the game. Score 1: 3 - The International 2012 silver for NAVI.
NAVI and Invictus Gaming players
After the tournament, the guys continued to play at a high level, winning StarLadder StarSeries Season 3, GosuLeague Season 4 Divison 1, Electronic Sports World Cup 2012. But after the New Year the team level began to fall, and that's why reshuffle happened at the end of February: KuroKy instead of ARS-ART and Funn1k instead of LightOfHeaveN. Those changes didn't have a lightning-fast effect: despite the win at joinDOTA Masters XIII and RaidCall EMS One Spring Season, the team still wasn't in its best shape.
But the closer to The International 2013 (to which the team received a direct invitation), the better the Born to Win played. July turned out to be especially outstanding for NAVI, with three first-place finishes: Alienware Cup 2013 championships - Season 1 , RaidCall Dota 2 League Season 3 and The Defense Season 4! These results allowed the team to be reckoned among the favorites in the main tournament of the year.
Notably, there was an attempt to create a female team for Natus Vincere to play Dota 2. It included PerfectVoid, Inverno, Sofi, MooNka and Leayh. The girls definitely had good tournament runs CGAMES Dota 2 Female Cup, beating female Virtus.pro in the finals.
As for the main squad, The International 2013 as a whole turned out to be a very successful tournament. “Yellow-blacks” could not be stopped at the group stage, which ended with a score of 11: 3 for NAVI, and Orange Esports and TongFu (the legendary match using Pudge and Chen) were defeated in the playoffs. Only the split push masters, Alliance, were able to stop our team. The Swedes approached the championship in the best shape, winning all games in the group, and defeated the powerhouses like Team DK and LGD Gaming in the playoffs.
NAVI at The International 2013
The final of the upper bracket ended with Alliance victory 2-1, and Natus Vincere hit the lower bracket. The Malaysians from Orange Esports were beaten, albeit not without difficulties, and for the third time, the yellow-blacks advanced to the finals. The Grand Final of The International 2013 is still considered one of the best in the history of tournaments and the title: 2 opponents, perfectly equal in skill, showing a phenomenal game. Unfortunately, in such a bright match, the opponent was still stronger - 2: 3. You 'member Dream Coil by s4? We 'member.
After the tournament NAVI decided to keep the same players, no reshuffles. At first, it paid off, as the team won the StarLadder StarSeries Season 7 and Season 8, WePlay Dota2 League Season 2, Techlabs Cup 2013 and DreamLeague Kick-Off Season, but closer to the start of The International 2014, the results began to deteriorate. Despite receiving an invite, there were some doubts about the successful performance of the team.
However, the chances of the organization itself were doubled: in June, North American Rejects were signed up. The team included Korok, Sneyking, Brax, Fogged and 1437 — quite a strong combo.
Unfortunately, for both teams, The International 2014 wasn't particularly successful. The American squad took the penultimate place in the group, although they did beat the main squad, and NAVI lost in the first round of the playoffs and left the championship, taking 7-8th place.
NAVI North America players
At the end of the event, Puppey and KuroKy left the team, and they were replaced with VANSKOR and fng. The changes did not rejuvenate the team - there were no victories following that. That season wasn't the most stable overall: Goblak, DkPhobos played for the team for some time, and Funn1k left the team, only to return back later. SoNNeikO joined the team at that point. As for the team from North America, it was disbanded in December 2014 for lack of serious results.
Not receiving a direct invitation to The International 2015, the organization decided to return ArtStyle to the team. The legendary player managed to help the team beat The International 2015 qualifier, which was perceived as a success after a rather bland season. Alas, there was not enough emotional charge for the main part of the tournament: the last place in the group, and then the defeat in the first round - the worst result in the history of Natus Vincere.
After the championship, some reshuffles happened again: Artstyle was benched, and the duties of the captain passed to the former player of Yellow Submarine team, which surprised many during The International 2015 qualifier. PSM was instructed to become the leader of the team, but he was not able to do this: the team showed mediocre game with no outstanding results. After a fail at The Frankfurt Major qualifier, the decision was made to build the team around Dendi and SoNNeikO.
Ditya Ra, Artstyle and Ax.Mo became the new players. After some time, the latter was replaced by GeneRaL. Spring saw the first results — 3-4th at Dota Pit League Season 4, as well as the second place at StarLadder i-League Invitational Season 1 and DreamLeague Season 5. At the same time, the team received an invitation to The Manila Major 2016, where it performed well and took places 7-8.
NAVI at The International 2016
The first two months of summer were quite good for the "yellow-blacks": ESL One Frankfurt 2016 silver, fourth place at The Summit 5, as well as StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 2 gold! These achievements allowed the team to receive a direct invitation to The International 2016, and fans hoped for a decent performance in Seattle.
Reality, however, was disappointing: sixth place in the group, and then losing in the best of 1 to Team Liquid in the first playoff match. Alas, the fans saw a repeat of last year’s result, although they had every reason to expect the team to go higher.
The team started the new season with the same roster, but did not last long: missing The Boston Major 2016 played a role. Looking back on past successes, the organization attempted to create an international team. So, Ditya Ra, SoNNeikO and Artstyle were replaced by Pajkatt, Biver and rmN-. The five started pretty well, almost making it through The Kiev Major 2017 qualifier, as well as the DOTA Summit 7 qualifier. Due to some in-game difficultis, SoNNeikO returned to the team in April, replacing rmN-.
International NAVI Team
Alas, the reshuffle did not bear fruit. Unsuccessful performance at EPICENTER 2017 and DOTA Summit 7, and then the failed The International 2017 qualifier — for the first time in their history, Natus Vincere missed the main tournament of the year, and the players were sent to inactive before the start of the new season.
Recognizing the failure of the international team, the organization replaced Pajkatt and Biver with Crystallize and RodjER. The fundamental changes helped overcome 2 qualifiers in September— StarLadder i-League Invitational # 3 and PGL Open Bucharest 2017, which pleased the fans after the previous unsuccessful season.
At the indicated championships, the results weren't particularly special, but at the end of the year the fans saw a good game at the victorious Adrenaline Cyber League, as well as DreamLeague Season 8 and MDL Macau. However, 2018 began with disappointing news: RodjER left the team, and Lil took his place. SoNNeikO left later, with LeBron coming to replace him for just a little, before May, until velheor came.
The lack of team stability led to the absence of any serious results, which is why the team was forced to start their way to The International 2018 with an open qualification. While the defeat in the first qualifier was somwhat justifiable, since ESPADA, the opponent, was quite strong, getting eliminated by imagine hehe was quite baffling. For the second year in a row, yellow-black fans had to watch The International without their favorite team.
Overcoming serious problems required radical solutions. At the start of the new season Natus Vincere bid farewell to the legendary player, the team's all-time mid player — Dendi, as well as GeneRaL and Lil. MagicaL, Blizzy and Chuvash, who joined slightly later, became the new members of the team. A serious burden of responsibility fell upon the guys, because it was necessary to show themselves from the best side.
Updated NAVI roster
The subsequent The Kuala Lumpur Major qualifier did not impress the fans, however, during DreamLeague Season 10 qualifier our five showed themselves in all their glory and won the slot for the Minor championship. Meanwhile, the online events like Reshuffle Madness and Maincast Autumn Brawl didn't really yield much — 7-8th and 3-4th places respectively.
The Minor ended quite positively for the new Natus Vincere: the “yellow-blacks” showed a good game, reaching the finals, and stopped a step away from the victory. The first shot wasn't bad, which showed the team had good prospects. In addition, the last championship of 2018 was successful for the guys — MegaFon Winter Clash saw the squad get to the second place, playing against some top teams.
2019 started well, too — second place at DreamLeague Season 11 qualifier allowed the team to go to the Major. True, Sweden didn't really have a bright show from the team, so we've settled on the last places. The things didn't improve much afterwards: the team didn't make it to Dota Pro Circuit events, while Adrenaline Cyber League 2019 and ESL One Mumbai 2019 saw us end up in the third places. In April, the team decided another reshuffle is needed: the place of Chuvash was taken by W_Zayac.
There were no equals to our team at The International 2019 regional qualifier. Despite a rough run in the groups, after losing to Vega Squadron the Born to Win advanced quite confidently, reaching the finals. Winstrike Team had nothing on us, as we finished the series 3:0. The first The International in the last three years for Natus Vincere!
NAVI players at The International 2019
The expectations weren't particularly high: for most players this was the debut The International in their career, so the audience and fans just wanted to see a beautiful game by Natus Vincere. The team performed pretty well in the group, reached the playoffs through the lower bracket, but in the very first series, best of 1, lost to Mineski and left the tournament. Not the last place, but pretty much result similar to the 2 previous The International's.
This season the team began with a reshuffle: 9pasha took the offlane position instead of Blizzy. That wasn't it, though: after the team missed the first 2 Dota Pro Circuit tournaments, SoNNeikO left the team, with W_Zayac.picking up the captaining duties. A month later the final player, illias, joined the team; together with him, the squad planned to qualify for Dota Pro Circuitevents.
DreamLeague Season 13 qualifier was successful: the team performed well first in the group stage, and then in the playoffs and earned a slot in the Major tournament! We are sure that our guys will continue to please the fans with good results! We remind you that Natus Vincere is currently playing at ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore tournament, which is held from December 17 to 22 in Singapore! Be sure to support the Born to Win! #navination