Interview

"Dota 2 is reaching a new level of visibility, tournament numbers and competitivity": we interview Na'Vi as ESL One approaches

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Sören Vendsahm
Contributing Editor
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Before their recent qualification for ESL One New York, Natus Vincere’s European Dota 2 team underwent a number of changes in the post-TI4 shuffle. With the departure of Puppey and Kuroky still fresh in fans’ minds and the bright lights of the Big Apple to look forward to, we got a chance to chat with Dendi, XBOCT and team manager Igor Sidorenko about the team’s recent reorganization, goals for the future and expectations for the tournament ahead.

ESL: FNG is quite a new name to many people - what was the reasoning behind adding him to the team?
Na’Vi: Such a decision is made by the players. They understand which candidate fits the role best. Artem has proved to have a profound notion of tactics, which has been noticed by us and others - we heard a lot of positive feedback about him from other players. Moreover, it is very hard to find a player who will both perform well and support the environment of the team.  

ESL: For a long time, rumors also said AlwaysWannaFly would be a part of the new Na’Vi, but instead you picked up former Empire player Vanskor. Was AWF ever a consideration?
Na’Vi: We admit to having considered many candidates. However, we assumed that he would be in the squad straight after The International 4, when it became obvious that the old squad wouldn’t survive.

ESL: What does Vanskor bring to the team?
Na’Vi: Ivan is a brilliant support player and a positive personality. In addition to the environment, he also provides a lot of information about the game. It isn’t always informative, but it is timely and useful in general. We see that players feel comfortable while playing with his support, which we consider to be the most important aspect.

ESL: Na’Vi decided to part ways with Puppey and Kuroky - what were the decisions leading up to this?
Na’Vi: There were many factors including the environment inside the squad, interactions between teammates and, previous results notwithstanding, the language barrier, which decreases the effectiveness of communication.



ESL: With captain Puppey having left the ship, FNG has taken over the reins. Can you tell us a bit about him and how he’s settling into his new role?
Na’Vi: FNG is young and perceptive and what’s most important is he is a thoughtful player. All the team members give their advice, but he acts as a captain while they are playing. I need to note that Dendi sometimes takes the initiative in terms of the in-game moments.

ESL: Na’Vi has been one of the strongest teams in Dota 2 ever since its competitive launch with TI1. How do you think you can get back on track?
Na’Vi: It’s hard to predict - the conditions have drastically changed since then, and therefore we are unlikely to achieve exactly the same result. We can approach it in terms of success, but it is much harder to do so now. Dota 2 is reaching a new level of visibility, tournament numbers and competitivity. New gamers and squads arise. They have a very powerful initial aspiration to win.

ESL: TI4 ended the inofficial season of Dota 2 - what are your goals for the next one?
Na’Vi: The goal is to foster the transition of the work of both the organization and the squad to a new level. We believe the squad requires a short period of time to achieve a fair level of teamplay. After this, they’ll need to improve and finish the performance. And, of course, we aim only for the top places.



ESL: Do you have any special tactics lined up for getting in sync as a team quickly? Are there bootcamps or other activities planned?
Na’Vi: We are developing a new sportive program that will enable us to do this. We have had many bootcamps, but these are now only necessary before truly massive tournaments. We build our work around the management’s point of view that a player must focus exclusively on the game. This is our goal.

ESL: Your team wasn’t the only one to have been shaken up by the post-TI4 shuffle - other prominent teams have also undergone makeovers as well. Which changes surprised you the most?
Na’Vi: Speaking frankly, Alliance’s reshuffle surprised me most. They are a rather successful team - they just suffered a period of bad luck. However, we mostly try to focus on our squad instead of following the lives of other organizations.

ESL: In Europe, new teams formed and old teams got fresh blood in the form of new players. Who do you think will be the EU powerhouse and your biggest opponent?
Na’Vi: Puppey and Kuroky’s team has acquired experienced and mindful players. This is why they will definitely fight for the top positions. I think their new team could become our main opponent.



ESL: ESL One New York will be the first massive showcase of the new season. What are your expectations?
Na’Vi: First of all, we expect outstanding organization from ESL as always. As for the results, our squad aims to do its best and use all the strength remaining following its participation in WCA 2014 in China. We think ESL One New York is the most anticipated event this fall.

Join Na’Vi live at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on the 9th and 10th of October - get your ticket here!

You can also check out our previous ESL One New York coverage below: