After one last disappointment in The International 2021 qualifiers, Natus Vincere’s Dota 2 squad is falling apart at the seams.
Renowned offlaner Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev and support Vladimir “RodjER” Nikogosian have both officially left Na’Vi. The squad’s long-term coach Andrey “Mag” Chipenko has also left the organization. The announcement comes two weeks after the roster was officially switched to inactive.
Natus Vincere failed to earn the region’s final TI10 slot in the closed qualifier in June. Virtus.pro and Team Spirit are the only CIS teams attending The International this year. The massive prize pool of The International makes it a make-or-break condition for many Dota 2 sponsorships. With this team’s struggles and repeated controversial changes, Na`Vi seems to be reassessing its presence in Dota 2.
Three players leave NAVI #Dota2 roster. See the details!
— NAVI (@natusvincere) August 6, 2021
Natus Vincere started the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit season out strong. The squad finished second in the first DPC league season but was forced to withdraw just days before The Singapore Major due to travel concerns.
In between DPC seasons, the squad made several extremely controversial roster changes. First, offlaner Viktor “GeneRaL” Nigrini was suddenly replaced with Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev, a wildly popular player in Eastern Europe. In his personal statement, GeneRaL claimed that the team had made a gentleman’s promise to stick together until TI10. RAMZES’ star power was apparently enough to break that promise.
Natus Vincere dropped to sixth with a 3-4 record in the second Dota Pro Circuit season. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Natus Vincere organization delivered two more brutal cuts to mid-laner Bogdan “Iceberg” Vasilenko and captain Andrii “ALWAYSWANNAFLY” Bondarenko. They were replaced by Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko and Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev, who were blatantly poached off the Gambit Esports roster. The continued unpopular moves soured fans’ perception of the prestigious organization, and ultimately bore no fruit.
Natus Vincere proceeded to lose in the second round of TI10 qualifiers to HellRaisers and then again immediately to Team Empire. That loss caused the team to switch to inactive in June. The first International champion organization failed to qualify for The International 2016, 2018, and now 2021. Expect more Na’Vi roster cuts, if not a completely new lineup, before the first 2022 Dota Pro Circuit season.