Na’Vi have had a roller coaster of a year. Once the poster team of Dota 2, they have struggled in the last year and a half to find a consistent form. While still world class, they aren’t the powerhouse of a team that they used to be, having chewed up and spit out 2 captains (fng and Goblak) killing a star support player (Vanskor is employed with Na’Vi but is suffering from some lingering health problems) over the course of 12 months, the departure of Puppey and Kuroky really doesn’t seem like much compared to the tumultuous year they have had.
It is now the 2nd day of TI5 and Na’Vi have not had the best run of it. Looking strong in their opening game against Cloud9, they drew the two game series as the underdogs. Then MVP.Hot6, a team who rarely plays outside of Asia, drew with Na’Vi again to give them a respectable 2-2 record. Unfortunately the games that took place today were less successful. They had one series against Team Secret which no one expected them to win, and then another against Complexity, losing both of those games as well. Complexity, who I previously said had little to no chance of doing well in TI5, are playing out of their god-damned minds. Beating Na’Vi caused an upset, but drawing with Invictus Gaming and whitewashing MVP.Phoenix, who really aren’t playing their best Dota, have caused them to be 3rd in their group! The resurgence of EG last year was seen by many as a flash in the pan, giving America one good squad. Now, with Complexity’s showing, America have 2.
But we’re not here to talk about Complexity, except to apologise and say I wish them the best of luck, and actually increase them to 7th/8th place. They’re not flawless, but they are playing with their heads and, in such a high-pressure environment, that might be enough for them. Na’Vi, I think, have been really lacking in the drafting area.
Artstyle, their captain, has made some risky decisions but his team have really played well with them. I think his style suits Na’Vi greatly and, besides their first game against Complexity today his drafts have been okay. The game in question featuring a very poor draft, in my opinion, opening with a Winter Wyvern and Dazzle combo to completely give his draft away and allowing Complexity to counter pick their support duo completely, and then running with an offlane Earthshaker which, we all could see, was powerless against the first pick Tusk from Complexity. The problem he’s having is not the drafts themselves but more how they are so easy to read. Dendi needs his Shadow Fiend or his Leshrac but, this patch, he’s not good on any other heroes besides perhaps QoP of Pain. XBOCT does XBOCT things, to be honest his hero pool is massive, Artstyle gets a farmless hero and Sonneiko gets a Earth Shaker or Winter Wyvern. The only one people can’t predict is Funnick because he can play almost anything at any time, provided it’s not something stupid like Crystal Maiden offlane.
This isn’t so much of a team breakdown like the last, more of a moan on how I think the team is doing in TI5. To have a chance at getting into the winner’s bracket they need to win, I think, 2 of their 3 remaining matches. Complexity could have been considered a confidence match today, so Na’Vi tomorrow need to ramp up their game. I think they actually do fairly well against Chinese teams, so tomorrows matches against LGD and Fnatic might go well for them. I think they have a fair chance to bag a 2-0 against Fnatic but LGD is an entirely different beast. They may run some kind of pocket strategy to catch LGD by surprise. I saw XBOCT playing a Clockwerk in a “behind the scenes” video Na’Vi did, but I’m not sure how viable that is against a professional team.
I think that, to improve, Na’Vi need to stick to what they’re good at and play within the confines of the current meta. Obviously, with bans and counter-picks, that’s not always an option, but when it is they need to do what they’re good at.