A consistent degradation of tournament performances from Natus Vincere’s Halo Infinite roster has culminated in a roster change ahead of the HCS Pro Series’ second split.
After a disappointing top-24 exit at the HCS Kansas City Major last month, an event where two other European teams managed to break into the top eight, NAVI has announced that Brandon “Respectful” Stones has been replaced by Liam “Mighty” Burbum.
NAVI’s Halo roster was legendary and Respectful was one of the many on its roster responsible for Europe’s best international placing back in Halo 5: Guardians with a top-six finish in 2017. But their veteran talent hasn’t converted into success in Halo Infinite. NAVI failed to defeat the current European powerhouse of Acend in all of their Open and Pro Series matchups, and the potential displayed by their top-eight finish at the kickoff Major in Raleigh hasn’t been meaningfully built upon. Over six months into Halo Infinite‘s first competitive year, a roster change is the only route left on the table for the partnered team.
“Respectful played for NAVI since the inception of the roster in the discipline,” the official announcement reads. “Together with him, the club participated in two Major tournaments (the best result was 7-8th place) and took the second place at HCS 2022: Europe Super, having won $22,000 in the prize pool. We thank Respectful for his memorable highlights and contribution to the club’s development.”
Following the announcement, Jimbo, another player on NAVI, was quick to express his excitement at the acquisition of Mighty, calling him a “nasty young talent” with “a great future ahead of him.”
Early scrim results are a promising sign that the roster change has paid off, with NAVI managing to beat Acend 6-5 and get a tied 7-7 result against Quadrant. What really matters is converting those scrim results into victories in a tournament setting, something the old NAVI roster also struggled with. The European HCS Pro Series starts up again today and the only partnered team on that side of the Atlantic have a lot to prove.