Natus Vincere has completed its new roster for the DreamLeague Leipzig Major qualifiers.
The team adds Illias “illias” Ganeev to the roster to replace Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev, who was benched by the team in October after the squad failed to qualify for the MDL Chengdu Major. Bakyt “Zayac” Emilzhanov will serve as the team captain moving forward.
Illias, also known as 1ls, is likely a new name for even diehard fans of professional Dota 2. The 17-year-old Russian first started appearing in professional games in 2017 with Comanche in various CIS qualifiers. From there, he competed with a variety of short-lived teams in a number of regional events. He most recently competed with Aachen City Esports in the WePlay! Reshuffle Madness 2019 league.
That said, his greatest accomplishment comes in public matchmaking. According to Na’Vi’s announcement on his joining, illias is the fifth-ranked support player in the European region.
Natus Vincere’s new roster for the DreamLeague Leipzig Major is an interesting one:
From a talent perspective, there is a lot to like about the current iteration of Na’Vi. Crystallize and MagicaL are both formidable cores, and 9pasha is a five-time major-winning offlaner brought in from Virtus.pro. That said, the support situation for the team is questionable
Though there is no shortage of success stories when it comes to young Dota 2 players having instant success with top teams, it’s impossible to view them as a sure thing. Zayac isn’t a new face for the team and he has performed well for Natus Vincere to this point, but it is unclear how he will do in a captain role with the team.
The trouble is that these changes to the team came after a generally successful 2018-2019 season that inspired hope for this year. In October, Na’Vi revealed that SoNNeiko was deactivated from the team due to internal issues.
“Right after TI has concluded, the problems in interactions between the captain and some players became clear. We have discussed it and made a joint decision to keep the backbone of the team and work on those problems,” Na’Vi CEO Yevhen Zolotarov said in an announcement on the team’s official site. “Nonetheless, the first difficulties in the official matches sparked the same personal conflicts that we were going to leave in the past, and everything came crashing down like a house of cards.”
The good news for Natus Vincere is that the CIS region remains wide open.
Longtime top team Virtus.pro was heavily shaken up following a flop in The International 2019. More recently, MDL Chengdu Major qualifiers Gambit Esports and Team Spirit were handed last-place finishes from the event.
Na’Vi has as good a chance as any team of making it to the DreamLeague Leipzig Major. The trouble is that they face much longer odds if they do make the cut.