“NAVI, NAVI, NAVI”, echoed the sentiments of thousands of spectators cheering for the Ukrainian squad to win their second The International. The then powerhouse was dominant during the initial years when other teams were yet to fully grasp the game.
But how have the tides turned? Today, NAVI find themselves in a peculiar position but on the opposite end of the spectrum, where the squad is finding it difficult to get a grasp on the game albeit with a different set of players.
Not that the players are any less experienced than other competing teams, NAVI is still seen struggling ever since their downward spiral began since The International 2014 – an event where the core of NAVI left to find their own paths.
NAVI: Old guard unable to guide
The current iteration of NAVI boasts of proven players that have stood the test of times with a good list of achievements in front of their names.
Two of the most tried and tested players in this roster are undoubtedly Alexey “Solo” Berezin and Volodymyr “Noone” Minenko – former members of the fearsome Virtus.pro that won multiple Majors between 2017-2019.
Solo’s captaincy and drafting skills have always been something to admire about whilst Noone has been one of the best mid laners to ever exist in the game. Yet, NAVI finds itself in a tough spot, going nowhere.
Solo and Noone’s experience, coupled with General’s dynamic playstyle and Alohadance’s charismatic support, are unable to bear any fruits for V-Tune – the player around whom NAVI decided to build the roster.
Needless to say, NAVI’s performance has been poor as they are currently ranked #5 in the DPC EEU 2021-22 Tour 1 with a score of 2-3. Two series remain to be played, one against ASM.Gambit and the other against Virtus.pro.
While they were the only team to take a game off TI10 Champions, Team Spirit, their performance has been horrendous to say the least.
Even though the possibility of being relegated to Division II is unlikely, NAVI needs to change their gears and throttle ahead with full speed so that they can at least get the benefit of DPC points being redistributed in lieu of The Winter Major being cancelled.
NAVI’s playstyle is no different than their standings; extremely poor. Despite Solo’s leadership, the team is yet to find a style that suits them best. Overall, their playstyle can be seen as unorganised and lethargic, with no real passion burning from within.
A fireless pit is always dark and that is where NAVI is at right now. To sum it up in one word: clueless. Winning games isn’t the way for them to proceed ahead but winning decisive series is.
NAVI: Can they ever peak again?
At the current pace, definitely not. They are nowhere near to becoming a threat to other teams in their own region, let alone other regions.
Things need shaking up, and it seems more likely that NAVI will make changes heading into the next season by evaluating their sombre performance during this season. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, but this tunnel is long and dark with no end in sight just yet.
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