Natus Vincere’s Dota 2 division is not back just yet.
Na’Vi’s run began in the group stages with a respectable showing against Evil Geniuses. Despite being a heavy underdog on paper, the CIS team looked competitive with North America’s finest in a 2-1 series loss.
It stayed in the hunt for a spot in the upper bracket by capitalizing on strong showings by Idan “MagicaL” Vardanian, trouncing Chaos Esports Club in the second round. Na`Vi challenged Vici Gaming for the last spot in the upper bracket, but the team had no answer to stellar play from Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang and ceded the series 2-0.
This landed Na’Vi in a tricky best-of-one lower bracket series against J.Storm. Despite a slow start to the game, David “Moo” Hull went wild for J.Storm in the mid game as Lifestealer, tearing his way through Na’Vi. Even with Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek playing a counterpick Ursa, the CIS team couldn’t effectively slow down Moo, leading to a loss for Na’Vi that sent them home from Stockholm.
This is a disappointing turn for the storied team.
Its season began in controversial fashion with the release of longtime mid player Danil “Dendi” Ishutin. Initial results were mixed, but the team gelled through the winter and began establishing itself as a legitimate contender with wins over top opponents including Virtus.pro, PSG.LGD, and Team Secret at the MegaFon Winter Clash.
A berth in a Dota Pro Circuit major event eluded the team until it cut through the CIS qualifiers for the DreamLeague Major, and Na`Vi seemed to have the tools to make a decent run at the event. This outcome denies the team the opportunity to show its mettle or make further progress towards The International 2019.
In a different group or a different circumstance, it’s possible that the team could have had a lengthy stay in Sweden. Still, with only two majors left to play, Na`Vi has precious little time to put points on the board.