BLAST Spring Series Preview: Natus Vincere
Updated: Apr 11
NAVI fielded three different rosters in 2019 and each one looked as fractured as the previous. Even with two of the best players in the world on one team, success was few and far between. They won StarSeries i-League Season 7 in April and that was it. They certainly have enough star power to win events but roster decisions continue to plague the team.
NAVI wins StarSeries S7 following a Katowice semifinals exit … Ioann ‘Edward’ Sukhariev leaves the active roster after over five years … New lineup goes 13-14 before Danylo ‘Zeus’ Teslenko retires … Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovács rejoins lineup, the team goes 26-16 in finals four months.
Egor ‘flamie’ Vasilyev | 1.04 RAT, .67 KPR, .65 DPR, 74.4 ADR
A worthy supportive talent with some capability to take over a game.
Ilya ‘Perfecto’ Zalutskly | 1.12 RAT, .69 KPR, .61 DPR, 76.7 ADR
The newest addition in the lineup. A young rifler brought in to bolster rifling impact.
Denis ‘electronic’ Sharipov | 1.20 RAT, .75 KPR, .63 DPR, 84.5 ADR
The best player in the CIS region not named s1mple.
Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev | 1.29 RAT, .84 KPR, .60 DPR, 84.8 ADR
One of the world’s best, but a dip in form lost him the familiar No. 1 ranking.
Kirill ‘Boombl4’ Mikhailov | 1.04 RAT, .65 KPR, .67 DPR, 74.5 ADR
He makes up for his lack of experience and tactics with fearlessness.
Boombl4’s IGL growth: He has shown efficiency as a fragging in-game leader, but lacks the tactical prowess that leaders of top teams have to separate themselves. He is young and has plenty to learn as a leader, but NAVI has the core talent to compete for titles now. Boombl4’s ability as a leader will continue to be put in question until the lineup the win titles under his leadership.
Igniting the flamie: He is without a doubt a serviceable rifler and deserves a place in the roster, but flamie has the potential to be better than that. His best performances are consistently at Majors, but he fails to bring that same energy for a majority of the other events that NAVI attends. If the NAVI camp could get flamie to play at other events the way the plays at every Major he has attended then this team would be a powerhouse.
The Perfecto Replacement?: Young players typically require time to adjust to the pace and talent teams have at a tier-one level if they are brought up, and Perfecto might be the same way. BLAST will only be his second event with the team, so it is hard to gauge how optimal their team play will be. What Perfecto lacks in team knowledge, he will be expected to accommodate individual talent. If he pans out to be the player they are hoping for, NAVI could become a legitimate contender.
s1mple - The former No. 1 player has fallen behind as of late. Losing the AWP temporarily worsened his form while his peers continued their world-class dominance. Out of the top five players, s1mple enters 2020 with possibly the least momentum out of all of them. Circumstances hurt his impact and NAVI will need him in absolute top form if they want to win titles. In group play, he will be facing the No. 1 and 3 players of last year. Performing well against these players early into the year could kickstart another year of dominance for the CIS king.
The Bottom Line:
It is hard to tell what form NAVI will be in. They were able to beat lower-ranked teams at ICE with relative ease but struggled against Mousesports in the finals. NAVI has been searching for a way to get over the hump and become a true world-beater. The lineup is in the early stages of its life and is prone to mistakes. If they show growing pains in group play, it will surely be taken advantage of.