NAVI to head into the BLAST Premier World Final with a six-man team

Natus Vincere (NAVI) are set to repeat their experiment of fielding a six-man roster at the BLAST Premier World Final, due to take place from December 14-18.

The team will be bringing in academy player Andrii "⁠npl⁠" Kukharskyi to play "some maps" at the World Final in order to give him a chance to show his worth to the team. The move also comes as rumours circulate that Viktor "⁠sdy⁠" Orudzhev may be at risk of losing his place on the team, with npl coming in to replace sdy in some matches.

NAVI has run with this strategy before, having fielded a six-man team at the 2020 BLAST Premier Fall Finals, during the height of the COVID pandemic when games were taking place online. Back then, the additional sixth player was Valerii "B1T" Vakhovskyi, who is still playing for the team to this day.

However, this is the first time we're seeing NAVI with a six-man team at a LAN event, raising questions about how exactly it will work. NAVI are remaining tight-lipped about their plans, telling HLTV that "npl is going to play select maps instead of sdy, the same story as it was with flamie and b1t. How many maps and which ones, I can't say unfortunately at this stage. Let's surprise our enemies and see the results of his importance."

sdy's future with NAVI is in question

BLAST has allowed mid-series player changeups ever since 2020, with a clause in its rulebook allowing teams to switch up players between maps on LAN - provided that it doesn't cause delays.

BLAST has also made accommodations for six-man teams, with six player ready gaming setups in each practice room.

However, should NAVI wish to make changes to their line-ups between maps, they'll be racing against the clock. They will have five minutes to inform BLAST of the change, which will then be irreversible. After that, they'll have 15 minutes to switch the prepared hard drives and peripherals before the next map begins.

NAVI's first match of the tournament will be against Team Vitality - and we'll perhaps be treated to a first look at their six-player strategy then. But whatever happens, you'll be able to stay on top of the action right here on Luckbox - be sure to sign up now to claim your 100% bonus!