Less than two months after rejoining Natus Vincere, Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev is no longer part of the organization’s Dota 2 roster.
SoNNeikO did not specify why he is no longer with the team, while Na’Vi only thanked him for his time with the organization and wished him well in his future endeavors. SoNNeikO rejoined Na’Vi in May after spending just over a year away from the organization. He was benched in October 2019 before leaving to join Ninjas in Pyjamas and eventually being signed by AS Monaco Gambit.
After the second season of the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit concluded, both SoNNeikO and No[o]ne decided to leave Gambit despite helping the team qualify for the WePlay Esports AniMajor. SoNNeikO originally wanted to leave the team during the regular season but was convinced to stay on. Both players were only signed through the end of the second season and decided to leave and join Na’Vi instead of competing with Gambit at the Major, however.
After this move, Na’Vi began preparing for The International 10 regional qualifiers, but failed to make the cut, finishing fifth in the event. Because of this, and some reported tension within the team, SoNNeikO decided to leave the team and explore other options.
Na’Vi coach Andrey “Mag” Chipenko did comment on the captain’s exit, noting that it was not due to performance, but rather how the team was built around so many veteran players.
“There are more different views, different plans, and Akbar likes to assemble, to be in charge,” Mag said on Twitch. “He may be more interested in playing with young players. It was the first time he had a team of guys as experienced as the captain. It was hard enough to get a word in. I think it’s more comfortable for him to play when he’s in complete control of the process, with at most one person sharing responsibility.”
With this move, Na’Vi is still left with RAMZES, No[o]ne, and RodjER, three players who formed part of Virtus Pro’s dominant core from 2018 and 2019, along with a strong young player in Alik “V-Tune” Vorobey. Mag also confirmed that the new team will likely form and play together in a tournament before TI10 in October.