After completely dominating the professional CS:GO stage in 2021 and enjoying impressive results in early 2022, Natus Vincere lost its title as one of the top teams globally.
Currently, the Ukrainian organization is undergoing a significant overhaul, making significant changes to its roster, and trying to establish a successful formula for their new playing style. However, we understand that the csgorank is subject to change and it may take time to see the first positive results.
For the s1mple’s team, the goal of the rebuild is to achieve peak performance before the Paris Major or later in the year. That said, we have already taken a first look at the NaVi’s performance at the BLAST Spring Groups and IEM Katowice events, and now we want to examine what these events reveal about the new NaVi.
New Addition to the Roster
After the departure of Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev, Natus Vincere started the year 2023 by welcoming Andrii “npl” Kukharskyi into their roster. Despite this addition, the change did not go smoothly, as npl struggled in his first appearance at the World Final in Abu Dhabi. Coach Andrii “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy acknowledged that the departure of sdy resulted in a “struggle” in terms of having a deep map pool.
Impact on Players’ Roles During IEM Katowice 2023
The addition of npl has also brought about changes to the roles of all five players on the team. There are uncertainties surrounding the riflers, including:
- b1t’s ability to adjust to a specific role
- perfecto’s performance in active positions
- npl’s adjustment to top-tier competition
- continued use of electroNic as the IGL
- s1mple’s durability and current form
Let’s delve into each of these concerns.
b1t as the Main CT’s Anchor
The most noticeable change is with Valeriy “b1t” Vakhovskly who now takes on the role of the primary anchor on the CT side. This includes positions like B on Mirage, with Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy, who was named HLTV’s Anchor of the Year in 2022, being moved to a more proactive role.
At first glance, placing b1t in these positions may seem odd, but there is a reason behind it. His exceptional aim makes him ideal for
shutting down rushes and disrupting spacing.
Perfecto’s New Role
Despite holding the reputation of being the best support player globally, Ilya Zalutskiy has taken on a more dynamic role in B Short on Overpass. This change was also evident in NaVi’s first match on Anubis, where he was seen playing in the B Connector, while sharing the role with Håvard “rain” Nygaard and Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis. This could indicate that Perfecto’s role has evolved from being solely a support player.
npl as the True Support Player
Andrii Kukharskyi has assumed the role of the primary support player for the Ukrainian team. As the most frequently traded player, npl boasts high opening kill attempts on the T side, but not so much on the CT side. His aggressive playing style is utilized to set up b1t and Perfecto.
electroNic’s New Direction
Denis Sharipov has taken on the responsibility of the IGL, and his role has changed to the point that he was the second most aggressive player at BLAST Spring Groups in terms of opening kill attempts (31.2%). Despite some adjustments to his CT positions, electroNic has been given more autonomy to make plays. The organization fully supports this new direction, with B1ad3 serving as the primary shot-caller.
The Blueprint for Natus Vincere’s New System
Natus Vincere’s recent changes in their roster and tactics have shifted the team closer to the style of FaZe Clan, with more well-defined roles and clearer responsibilities. The Ukrainian organization is putting in the effort to get back to their dominant form, but the process is slow.
Despite a drop in their world rankings, NaVi still managed to captivate audiences at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups and IEM Katowice events. The team accumulated a total of 4.4 million hours of viewership and had a high average viewer count per match, surpassing even G2 in this regard.
To sum it up, while Natus Vincere may be facing some struggles on the field, they have made a lasting impression as the fan favorite at these recent events, earning record hours watched and average viewership.