Natus Vincere will have more than a month to digest their lackluster performance at ESL Pro League Europe season nine. It might be time for them to evaluate the way they play CS:GO.
With Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov delivering on a consistent basis, Na’Vi should be battling for the trophy in any tournament they enter. But where is the rest of the team?
They failed to qualify against Heroic three days ago, a team that made a roster change two weeks ago, and they played poorly at the last two BLAST Pro Series events: Miami in April and Madrid at the beginning of May. In both events, Na’Vi were already out of the finals before playing their last game in the group stage.
This indicates that Na’Vi should at least make several changes to their playbook. S1mple is still playing like the best player in the world, but it isn’t enough. In ESL Pro League season nine, for example, he combined for an outstanding 1.35 rating after playing 17 maps. Electronic, their second star, also played well during the same competition, finishing just a bit behind s1mple with a 1.29 rating in 17 maps.
Na’Vi’s third best player at ESL Pro League season nine was their captain, Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko, who probably will retire after 2019, according to an interview with HLTV. He shouldn’t be performing better than Egor “flamie” Vasilyev, who was one of the team’s stars in 2016 and 2017. But flamie has been struggling since last year.
Na’Vi are set to play their next tournament in July at ESL One Cologne, one of the most traditional events on the CS:GO calendar. Their recent performances may stimulate a roster change that hasn’t been made since electronic was added in November 2017.
Although the CIS region lacks talent compared to the European scene, they have some good options, like veteran Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev, who’s been a free agent since May after his brief stint with FaZe.
Na’Vi also could buy one of the players from AVANGAR, the second-best CIS team. Ali “Jame” Djami, AVANGAR’s captain and AWPer, has been playing well for almost a year and Alexey “qikert” Golubev is skilled with rifles. Both of them are solid options since they’re only 20 years old and still have a great skill ceiling.
Na’Vi struggled to win championships and even make out of group stages without Zeus. They opted to bring him back after he won the PGL Major with Gambit in July 2017.
The veteran really adds some qualities to the team, like leadership, cohesion, and experience, mainly because he’s played Counter-Strike since 2002. The problem is Na’Vi lack some explosive executions and struggle to adapt to their opponent in the middle of a series. In this sense, Zeus’ slow and methodic playstyle has been outdated for a while.
With the exception of s1mple and electronic, any of the remaining three players (Zeus, flamie, and Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev) could be replaced if Na’Vi decide to go down this route instead of revamping their gameplay by adding some new tactics to their playbook.