– Francesco Puglisi
The last premiere tournament of the season before The International 6 just drew to an end with a banging upset: Na’Vi is back and they are not fooling around.
For the ones who have not being following the Dota 2 pro scene too closely, Na’Vi is definitely one of the most famous and cheered for teams in the world. The Ukrainian squad grew to fame in 2011, when they won the first International. Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, the midlaner of the team, became a Dota celebrity and is one of the players featured in the Valve documentary Free to Play.
Na’Vi remained a dominant force until 2013, when a series of roster changes disrupted the team equilibrium. Since then Na’Vi have been struggling to bring home results. The last tournament they won before tonight was the Dota 2 Champions League Season 4 in 2014.
And here we are, after almost two years: Na’Vi made it back to the top, got directly invited to TI6 and proved themselves in a fierce Starladder Series with a very solid showing.
How it happened
Na’Vi had a great start, winning 2-1 against Fnatic, one of the best performing South-East Asian teams. Fnatic won the first game but Na’Vi came back strongly, winning the second game in 30 minutes, and the third one in an incredible Huskar game that only lasted 13 minutes.
They continued their march in the upper bracket, defeating Evil Geniuses 2-0 without much contest, but losing 0-2 against Team Secret immediately after, putting them in the lower bracket finals.
Evil Geniuses got eliminated in the lower bracket by F.R.I.E.N.D.S. in an unexpected upset that set a shadow over the American team’s form coming up to The International 6.
Fnatic, on the other hand, confirmed themselves as one of the most fearsome teams in the world by storming through the lower bracket only dropping two games over three matches. Their run ended in the lower bracket finals, where Na’Vi clearly outclassed them both in the drafting stage (the Dendi SandKing mid caught many teams by surprise) and in game, closing the series 2-0.
Na’vi and Team Secret battled it out in the Grand Finals of the tournament in a memorable four game series. Team Secret won the first game playing with great team coordination, boosted by an outstanding performance by their star player RTZ on the carry Faceless Void, who landed Chrono after Chrono, making it impossible for the Ukrainian team to make a stand.
Dendi reminded us why he was once considered the best midlaner in the world with his Invoker performance in game two: he single-handedly kept Team Secret at bay, giving his team the time to get fully online with items and levels and win in a spectacular 50 minutes game.
Nobody expected Na’Vi to go for a late game draft two games in a row, included Team Secret, and they got punished in game three by a Void-Ember Spirit-Magnus tri-core combination that they had no answers to after the 30 minutes mark.
In the last game Sonneiko, Na’Vi drafter, pulled out a Huskar-Oracle squad that destroyed Team Secret in 18 minutes.
Na’Vi is back in force. They showed great versatility while drafting, an incredible coordination and top notch individual skill. By winning this tournament they made a strong statement and it will serve as a good injection of confidence going into TI6.
No team has won the biggest eSport tournament in the world twice, and this year International features a whopping $18.300.000 prize pool. Could Na’Vi be the first one? Keep following us for more Dota 2 news: TI6 starts in less than two weeks, we’ll get you ready.