In a move that surprised few, the Natus Vincere organization benched their entire Dota 2 team, sparking a discussion on what could be going on behind the scenes.
Out with the old, in with the new
A blog post on Na’Vi’s website confirmed the thoughts of a lot of CIS Dota 2 fans: following their less-than-stellar performance during the TI10 CIS qualifiers, the Natus Vincere organization has moved their entire Dota 2 roster to the bench. Their last active roster consisted of Alik “V-Tune” Vorobey as position 1, Volodomyr “No[o]ne” Minenko on the mid lane, Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev on the off lane and Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosyan on soft support. Their last hard support, Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev left the team more than a week ago.
This announcement came with an official video interview of sorts featuring the organization’s COO, Aleksey “xaoc” Kucherov. While the video is in Russian, there are English subtitles to paint the entire situation of the Dota 2 side of Na’Vi.
Na’Vi roster changes: a case of player power
One of the first key things discussed by xaoc in the interview was the ugly situation behind Viktor “GeneRaL” Nigrini’s move to inactive status before Season 2 of the DPC. He explains it as a decision driven forward by the former FlyToMoon roster, whose players Na’Vi picked to play starting September of last year. He mentioned that the boot camp before the ONE Esports Singapore Major was an eye-opener for the entire team, citing differences between players that lead to GeneRaL being benched and RAMZES666 formally taking his place.
The team experienced further stumbles from that point onwards, which lead to Bogdan “Iceberg” Vasilenko and Andrii “ALWAYSWANNAFLY” Bondarenko getting kicked, a move he once again attributed as a decision that came from the entire team. However, their roster troubles would not end there: despite pulling in veterans No[o]ne and SoNNeikO to replace them, Na’Vi failed to qualify for TI as they fell to Team Empire in the lower bracket of the CIS qualifiers.
On the signing of RAMZES666 and SoNNeikO
A lot of CIS Dota 2 fans would agree that the signings of RAMZES666 and SoNNeikO were some of the most questionable of Na’Vi’s decisions. RAMZES666 was known to be critical of the organization before his joining, while SoNNeikO was not the most reliable player, as he often leaves his roster behind.
xaoc explains those decisions to be purely based on putting together a team that could make it to TI10, as he notes the huge pull of the event and many teams’ dependency on it in order to survive. The prize pool for the Valve event is the largest, and it is no secret that everything else, even other Tier 1 tournaments, pale in comparison to its pot. This leaves some teams, including Na’Vi, on a path that’s solely focused on making it to TI10 instead of taking a chance on younger players that still need training and boot camps.
Na’Vi moving forward: no international roster
xaoc also addressed the matter of Na’Vi leaving the CIS region of Dota 2 to try and pick up another roster from Europe, or maybe even somewhere abroad. He said in the interview that Na’Vi owe a lot to its CIS roots when it comes to their huge Dota 2 fanbase and that the organization wants CIS representatives in their quest for another TI title. This should quell the rumors of Na’Vi picking up rosters in other regions, such as the former Vikin.gg squad who recently got dropped by their organization.
xaoc mentioned that there will be big news coming in the future for Na’Vi’s Dota 2 roster and that they have already invited someone to take over the role of manager that will hopefully keep their coming roster intact. He also points out that nothing is set in stone pre- and post-TI, and that fans should watch out on how Na’Vi will try to make its comeback on the scene, a sentiment that is sure to be shared by the organization’s most loyal supporters.