In a recent turn of events, Na’Vi’s offlaner, Ax.Mo, has been removed from Na’Vi. This comes after he criticised the team in a forum post on dota.ru.
While I feel that Ax.Mo, out of all the players in the most recent Na’Vi roster, has been performing the most consistently, the team still lacks the flare it had only a few years ago. With some moderate success put forward with this most recent iteration, it seems that Starladder i-League was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
In his forum post, Ax.Mo criticises two things specifically: Artstyle’s drafting and the difficulty in working with certain players on his team. He gives the example of Artsyle picking an Anti-Mage for their carry, Ditya Ra, despite the enemy already having a disruptor. While Na’Vi are known for their experimental playstyle, even today, that does seem to display a lack of basic understanding of the game. Secondly, the teammates that he is displeased with playing with are Sonneiko and Ditya Ra. Both of these people came from the same team and his point here has actually been supported by previous teammates of them like ALOHADANCE and Sunlight.
However, while I think his complaints are valid, the way he went about voicing them helps no one. The reason why EternalEnvy has a terrible reputation is, in part, down to his huge rants and raves online about tournaments, teams, games, etc. and it helps no one to improve by just airing your dirty laundry in public. It is a similar situation here. Na’Vi isn’t going to improve if its players are publicly at odds with each other. Thus I think that, despite Ax.Mo’s considerable contribution to Na’Vi over the recent months, the decision to kick him was justified.
That said, I’d like to talk about the future of Na’Vi for a second. They’re in a difficult place at the moment and it’s easy to see why. Every new roster has brought with it some signs of life which, thus far, have all been completely crushed as time passed. Dendi and Sonneiko have both had a few rough patches recently and Ditya Ra and Artstyle have both been incredibly inconsistent. Ditya Ra especially I find makes many questionable plays and Artstyle’s drafts can be very hit and miss, which ultimately result in the lack of coordination experienced by the team.
I think that, if we act as though a total disband is not an option, then in particular Ditya Ra needs to be replaced. It’s not that I think he is a bad player but I think that he doesn’t particularly suit Na’Vi’s new playstyle, which is very much based on an aggressive counter-reaction. He is far too often the first one into a fight that Na’Vi simply don’t need to take and, more importantly, there is a very prominent carry player from the CIS region that is lacking a team, though I’m not personally sure how Illidan would fare in Na’Vi. As for a new offlaner, it is hard to say. Good offlaners come about rarely and, if I were to think of offlaners that I would rate as “top class,” I could fit the number on one hand: Universe, Mag, DKPhobos and Eleven. Zai would also be on this list but, of course, he is taking a break this year from Dota for School, and so these are the top 5 offlaners in no particular order, and none of them are available.
Sonneiko and Dendi need to find their form again and, while I agree that Artstyle isn’t as good a player as many in the scene, I genuinely feel that he is good in pro games and it is only his drafts that need work. I feel like it is safe to say that he can work on this though, and those crying for his removal are just reactionists that aren’t really using their head. I think working through problems as a team is a much better route to success than simply trying to substitute around the problems you’re having.