The star trio of NaVi is still one of the strongest cores in the entire CS landscape. Will they show their full potential again at IEM

NaVi in 2021 was a team that made history and broke record after record with their sheer dominance. The firepower of their star trio combined with the emergence of Perfecto as the CIS Clutch Minister, made them unstoppable. Even in 2022, with all the problems that have affected them, they can still flip a switch and make the best team in the world look like a FPL mix. For IEM Rio NaVi are still right up there alongside FaZe.

Roster

  • Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev – The GOAT of CS is still the best player at Majors of all time. When all else fails, S1mple can still win games on his own.
  • Denis “electroNic” Sharipov – Wingman turned IGL, he has inexplicably kept his individual form while making NaVi even stronger tactically
  • Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi – The Rookie who won a major. B1t is now almost 2 years into his career, and he has dominated the Major every single time. Had S1mple kept his level in the Antwerp Finals, B1t might even be an MVP right now.
  • Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy – Master of the clutch, he was firing on all cylinders in EPL and kept NaVi in the event despite his teammates struggling.
  • Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev – the Ukrainian Stand-in has been on NaVi for 5 months now and while the team still looks strong, Blad3 has continued to say that sdy still has a long way to go.
  • Andrii “B1ad3” Horodenskyi – A contender for greatest coach of all time, almost the entire history of CIS Counter-Strike has been influenced by Blad3. With him standing behind this squad, they can find the solution to any problem they face.
NaVi Qualify for IEM Rio As Legends
Image via ESL

Second Best team of the year, Disaster at EPL

NaVi has been the second-best team throughout this year. After the geopolitical situation eliminated them from IEM Katowice, they went flawless through EPL Season 15, only to face FaZe Clan in the quarter-finals. They followed that performance with a flawless run to the PGL Antwerp finals, where rain pulled off one of the greatest single-map performances of his career to shut NaVi out of Nuke.

They then dominated FaZe at BLAST Lisbon, with the international squad only able to pick up 8 rounds across two maps. And at IEM Cologne, they once again had a solid run throughout, falling a couple of rounds short of the trophy as FaZe edged the game out.

But at ESL Pro League Season 16, they struggled. With only 2 wins, they shouldn’t even have made it out of the group stage. One of those losses was to Endpoint, a team most fans wouldn’t even be able to name all 5 players of, who handed them the worst loss in 2 years. In the playoffs, despite beating Heroic, they were eliminated by G2, a team that isn’t even at the Major.

Nevertheless, NaVi 3-0d their RMR including wins over MOUZ and Outsiders and are the 2nd seed for the IEM Rio Legends stage.

Image Credit: Stephanie Lindgren / PGL.

Expectations at IEM Rio

Despite their struggles at EPL, NaVi is still undeniably a favourite for the event. Their insane firepower can wake up any day and win the whole event. S1mple struggled at EPL, but the human component behind that was beyond something anyone has faced. The 24-year-old was finally able to meet his family after 6 months and will come into the Major with everything to prove.

The individuals are ready, and anything short of finals would be a failure even as teams like Vitality and Liquid emerge as contenders. Can Blad3’s crew finally lift another major that fate seemingly denied them?

Stay tuned to esports.gg for the latest CS: GO news and updates.

Arnav Shukla - Writer of the Month: July

Arnav Shukla

Writer of the Month: July | Twitter: @xL_csgo

I am a hardcore Counter-Strike fan who loves to watch and write about CSGO. A student of the game's history and a bad player in game.