Year recap: NAVI.GG.BET in Dota 2

Dota 2 / News / 30 December 2019 — 12:22

The recap of our Dota 2 team's year

Even though Dota 2 season traditionally ends in August, December is a good time to recap the past year for ua NAVI.GG.BET. For the Born to Win, 2019 was not the easiest one, but undoubtedly very productive.

The first competition for the squad was the open qualifier for DreamLeague Season 11: the games were tough, as we had to face eu Elements Pro Gaming, ru Winstrike Team, and ru Old but Gold. However, ua Natus Vincere confidently beat this stage and entered the closed regional qualification.

To be honest, the group stage wasn't particularly good: the guys ended up in third place, which at the same time allowed them to advance to the lower bracket of the playoffs. That's when the "yellow-blacks" gathered their strength and "stomped" the opponents: ru Winstrike Team, zz The Pango, ru Old but Gold and ru Gambit Esports were defeated. Throughout all those matches the guys only lost 1 map!

ua Natus Vincere claimed a slot at DreamLeague Season 11 Major Championship — a good start to the year! But before the championship, the guys decided to practice properly at two events by WePlay! : Tug of War: Radiant and Valentine Madness, held in February. It's not worth it to focus on rather unimpressive results of these events: the "yellow-blacks" set out to prepare for the more important event, so they experimented with picks and tested various strats.

Unfortunately, DreamLeague Season 11 did not go according to the plan of our team. ua NAVI first faced us Evil Geniuses in the group and lost with a score of 1:2, but then managed to beat eu Chaos Esports Club — 2:1. However, the decisive match with cn Vici Gaming ended in a loss - 0:2. For this reason, the “yellow-black” fell into the lower bracket of the playoffs, where they were supposed to fight us J.Storm.

Even though this wasn't the most difficult opponent, it turned out to be an insurmountable obstacle for ua NAVI. The Bo1 series against us J.Storm went poorly, and our guys finished the run in 13-16th places. However, it would be a bad idea to dwell on this result, as there was a still a qualifier for the next major of the season, set to happen in Paris — MDL Disneyland® Paris Major!

The guys started off well in the qualifiers. But after the first place in the group stage, the game against ru Team Empire proved to be too tough just yet — 1:2. Having fallen into the lower bracket,  ua NAVI gathered their strength and first defeated zz Uvajenie, and then ru Gambit Esports before finally facing the "empire" again. Alas, ru Team Empire became an uainsurmountable obstacle for Natus Vincere in these qualifiers: having lost with the score 0:2, the “yellow-blacks" did not get to the Major.

The subsequent OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019 qualifier wasn't good either: ru Gambit Esports stopped ua NAVI in the Single Elimination semifinals, taking revenge for the defeats in the previous qualifiers. GG.Bet Birmingham Invitational, which was also the qualifier for ESL One Birmingham 2019, ended up with the elimination as well: two defeats and the last place in the group. However, this was no time to lose heart: the “yellow-black” were directly invited to ESL One Mumbai 2019.

ua Natus Vincere went to India : ru SoNNeikO's place was taken by ru Misha. It was quite a good run for the "yellow-blacks": having taken first place in the group, the guys went against the favorite — cn Keen Gaming in the playoffs. But this was largely it: ph Mineski sent ua NAVI to the lower bracket, and then the representative of the Celestial Empire avenged the previous defeat. Third place is a good result for a team playing with a sub.

Those results led to the first : ru Chuvash was replaced by kg W_Zayac. The updated roster was to prepare for EPICENTER Major 2019 and StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2 qualifications.

Our guys showed a high level of play at EPICENTER Major 2019 qualifiers. At first, in the group stage, they stopped a step away from getting into the tournament: according to the rules, the team that won first place in the group got into the championship. Three teams, ua Natus Vincere, ru andru Gambit Esports, showed the same result, so the leader had to be determined in the tiebreakers. Gambit was the winner, and "yellow-blacks" had to fight through the playoffs.

ua NAVI reached the final, beating ru Team Empire and ru with the same score 2: 1. But this is where the run ended: the "yellow-blacks" stopped a step away from the slot, as the "bears" showed an incredible determination, winning the series 1:2.

The qualifying matches of StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2 went according to a similar scenario: excellent performance in the group, a victory in the semifinal playoff match, but then a very disappointing defeat in the final. Alas, the last Dota Pro Circuit 2018/2019 championships were held without ua Natus Vincere. The yellow-black failed to rehabilitate at the Adrenaline Cyber League 2019: they lost in the first match, to ru, with a score of 1:2.

Our guys were preparing the entire June for the main event of the year — The International 2019. The "Yellow-Blacks" received a direct invitation to the closed regional qualifier, and there was less reason to be nervous since it was already impossible to be eliminated in the open qualifiers.

The group stage of the tournament was extremely stressful: ua Natus Vincere achieved four victories, lost three matches and almost dropped out after the group stage. Nevertheless, the result was still enough to qualify for the playoffs.

The first rival was zz Vega Squadron: the “sharks” showed a first-class game in the group, so it was not surprising that they beat ua NAVI with a score of 2: 1. After that, the Born to Win fell to the lower bracket, where they tried to concentrate as much as possible.

Victory over ru Team Empire, revenge for the earlier defeat with zz Vega Squadron, and then a stomp against ru Winstrike Team in the finals with a score of 3:0 — ua Natus Vincere at The International for the first time in last 3 years! And what a feat it was — it seemed the team transformed during the qualifiers, and the guys started believing in themselves.

The whole next month was devoted to preparing for the tournament because ua NAVI was to face the best teams in the world very soon. ua Natus Vincere had a fairly reasonable group in Shanghai: not the easiest one, but quite surmountable at the same time.

The first game day ended with two draws in matches against very strong teams — eu OG and us Evil Geniuses. What this meant is that the "yellow-blacks" have what it takes to exit the group into the playoffs, possibly straight into the upper bracket. The trend continued during the Day 2: a tie with pe Infamous, and victories over ru and eu Ninjas in Pyjamas. Many started considering the team a favorite — but this was a somewhat hasty conclusion.

The opponents studied the game of “yellow-blacks” properly, and already on the third day ua NAVI unexpectedly lost my Fnatic and cn Royal Never Give Up. In the final match, our team needed a victory to reach the upper bracket, but cn Vici Gaming was stronger. “Yellow-black”, being on the 7th line in the group, practically lost the opportunity to fight in the best conditions in the playoffs.

The first playoff opponent was a SEA team — ph Mineski. The Bo1 was incredibly tough, and 1 mistake of the "yellow-blacks" decided it all. Alas, despite the fact that the guys had every chance of winning, the opponent clutched it out. ua NAVI at The International 2019 in 13–16th places.

Despite these results, in the new season of Dota Pro Circuit 2019/2020 the backbone of the team remained, : kg Blizzy was replaced by ru 9pasha. The line-up update seemed logical, given that the former ru offlaner had a wealth of experience playing tournaments.

The first tournament, WePlay! Reshuffle Madness 2019 ended in victory for the updated roster of ua Natus Vincere. Although the team started from the semi-final stage and played only two matches, the first triumph was needed to raise morale. That's why the team and the fans approached the start of the qualifiers — in the new season Major and Minor events were merged in a single qualifier — in a rather great mindset.

But unexpectedly for many, the “yellow-blacks” didn't perform too well and took only the fourth place in the group. This was not enough to keep ourselves in the fight for a slot, so ua NAVI left the qualifiers. It became obvious that something has to be changed in the team's game.

The end of October brought news: ru SoNNeikO , and the team was looking for a new position 5 support. kg W_Zayac took over the captain's duties. Already on November 22, the team announced the - it was 17-year-old ru illias. This roster was to take part in DreamLeague Season 13.

The group stage went as smoothly as possible for ua Natus Vincere: the guys achieved three victories, and one game ended in a draw, which allowed our team to reach the upper bracket of the playoffs. However, in the next round, the first fight ended unsuccessfully: ru Team Spirit turned out to be stronger, beating the “yellow-blacks" with a score of 2: 1.

But in the lower bracket of the playoff ua NAVI first defeated zz Gambit Esports 2:1, and then took revenge on eu Team Spirit — 2 : 0. These victories made it possible to achieve the main goal — earning a slot at the Major! But this qualifier wasn't the last thing for ua NAVI this year.

The last competition for the Born to Win was ONE Esports Dota 2 World Pro Invitational Singapore, with our guys being directly invited to compete for a share of $ 500,000 prize pool.

The guys performed well in the group, took the fourth place and reached the lower bracket of the playoffs, where they encountered ru The series promised to be very interesting, but ua NAVI failed to make the opponent play by their rules, and the “yellow-blacks” lost - 0:2. The 7-8th final place is a rather decent result.

ua Natus Vincere is optimistic about 2020, expecting new competitions. DreamLeague Season 13 Major will start on January 18, and the “yellow-blacks” will try to show their best game. We are sure that in 2020 the Born to Win will please their fans not only at the Majors but also at the main event of the year — The International 2020! #navination