Playing with a stand-in, Navi aim to win yet another tournament at IEM Cologne. How far can they go?

Navi come into this tournament as one of the favorites. Despite benching their In-Game Leader and despite the roster change, Navi are still one of the top teams at IEM Cologne 2022. They faced off against Mouz in their Group A opening match, a series that saw the CIS squad dominate and rise to the occasion. 

It is important to note that the IGL role on Navi has received a change with electronic taking on the mantle. Navi brough tin sdy for the squad and so far he has delivered, filling in most of the roles that boombi4 had on the squad.

In the post-match interview, Navi’s Head coach, B1ade had words of praise for electronics, but also said the new IGL has ways to go in terms of adapting to his new role. When asked what he thought about electronic’s leadership so far, here’s what B1ade had to say

Now, not a lot of progress. It’s like turbulence. Think he understands better now. The main positive thing is that he is more involved now in trying to control the situation all the time. I think he needs more time before he becomes more comfortable in this position. Because sometimes it’s all about his concentration and focus because he was the star player all these years and trying to find gaps in the defense. 

B1ade on the electronic’s leadership abilities at IEM Cologne 2022.
Credit: ESL.

Navi vs MOUZ

A strong start by MOUZ, but a stronger comeback

Mouz had a strong start on Nuke, at one point up 7-3. The first half ended with a 9-6 score for Mouz on their T side. On the flip, however, Navi seemed to be extremely comfortable with their own T-side. B1t stepped up on several occasions stealing rounds for Natus Vincere with relative ease.

Alogn with B1t, s1mple also stepped up on multiple occasions, some great individual performances by the Navi players as they attempted their comeback. Navi won teh first five rounds, clearly comfortable demolishing the MOUZ CT economy. MOUZ never eally looked comfortable on the CT side especially with both S1mple and b1t performing extremely well on the T side. Navi gained momentum and a lot of individual standout performances later, Navi secured Nuke with a 16-12 score. Navi’s performance on Nuke allowed them to gain a 1 map lead in the series.

Map 2: Fortunes reversed

After winning MOUZ’s map pick, the series looked prime for Navi 2-0. Navi are one of the strongest teams on Mirage and it was evident in their preparation for the IEM Cologne 2022 game.

But despite being such a strong team, the Navi coach, B1ade feels like they are falling behind when it comes to map pools. Map pools are very important in the current meta said apEX in his post-match interview after the win over ENCE. 

I think we have a weakness sometimes in terms of map pools. We’re starting to not give everything (away) to finish the tournament. It’s more about our mentality to not underestimate our opponent at any time during any round of the match. We need to focus all the time

After gaining a lot of confidence on Nuke, S1mple went ablaze in the early rounds on Mirage. He kept peeking aggressively and more often than not it turned out to be in his favor. The fear of S1mple was struck in Mouz’s players as they had to play around him and try to counter his aggressive plays. 

After a 9-5 start, Navi lost the final round of teh first half. Mouz had a respectable 6-9 score, a score from which they mounted their comeback in the second half. 

But after securing three of the first four rounds on their CT half, Navi did not have an answer for the Mouz aggression. The key part of MOUZ’s aggression was evidently Dexter’s preparation for this map. He found key holes in the Navi defense, managing to force them to scrable around for resources and map positioning. 

Map 3: b1t and electronic steal the show

On Inferno, electronic and b1t went dominant with 28 and 23 kills respectively. Electronic top scoring for the team on Inferno highlighted his potential as a player-cum-IGL. He proved himself despite being a top tier IGL for the squad. 

Navi came into this tournament without much practice. Most of the players are still moving around and finding places to stay due to the personal problems cause of the Russia-Ukraine war. 

We always focus on winning the trophy even if we have 1 or 2 stand-ins. When you have S1mple, electronic on the team they are really hungry for wins. And especially during such big events. If it was a smaller event such as Valencia for example, I don’t think we would be so calm. If there are such big events it’s always helpful to improve your prestige. 

Despite the problems, Navi always aims to win, even with a standin. The team won BLAST Premier Spring finals despite featuring a stand-in and Navi are determined to repeat the same at IEM Cologne 2022.

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Rohan - Content Editor


Content Editor | Twitter: @rohan_esports | Twitch: rohan_3105

Started esports with Dota, moved to CS, then OW, back to Dota 2 and now a bit of Valorant. I love city-building games, have spent hours in Cities:Skylines only to have the traffic defeat me. Love travelling, an admirer of fine movies, writing a sci-fi novel in spare time and coding (Javascript)