Last year, ESL One Cologne presented a lot of surprises to the fans, ending with BIG’s entering the finals. But they were not underdogs since the semifinal between Natus Vincere and Astralis was predicted to kick the CIS organization out of the playoffs. Yet, the Danish players continue to occupy the leading positions in the CS:GO field, with Cologne being close to their positions. Several months earlier, NaVi faced a loss in a fight with Astralis in Marseille, which shed light on how the current match in Cologne was supposed to end, although the predictions did not come true eventually.
In Season 5 of CS:GO championships and the Asia Championship series, i-League and StarSeries trophies were those that NaVi managed to win. However, it was not the only success they achieved over the recent tournaments. In Cologne, NaVi also had lots of chances to get the leading position in a three tournament series. And the outcome was exactly as predicted: NaVi got the winning positions. It was when Denis Shapirov, “electronic,” when off to the fullest during the series where he competed against Astralis and went through 16-13 victories in Overpass and Inferno, particularly in the third and first map.
The national hope, BIG, was streamed in the finals, where they became champions and officially won the title. In fact, it was a surprise that the events took place in this way since it was not expected that the winners would be those who ended up as champions. After all that came to an end, Shapirov dropped an interesting line that was not interpreted in different ways initially. He said that could be much better than just simple, meaning that he can overcome the challenges and show a much better performance than others were expecting. Interestingly, the line was neglected by the team at that time since the members were celebrating, surrounded by confetti pieces flying around and bathing in the rays of fame. They were feeling the best team in the entire world, which is a totally understandable and common feeling among the ESL Cologne champions.
But things have changed over the year, and the time has played a role in the situation. Of course, it’s a good thing that the success the team showed the previous year has been so incredible. However, it also changes the position in which NaVi appears in the championship this year. In particular, they have to validate the success they managed to achieve the previous year to support the title they earned.
What is more, the situation is completely different in terms of what kind of obstacles they have to overcome this year, and the fact that they are not similar to last year’s tournament, poses a risk to the winning title of NaVi. Of course, the situation among the competitors has also changed from what is looked like last year. It is evident that Astralis is not occupying the top positions anymore, which might seem to make the situation easier. However, there are a lot of new strong competitors that create new challenges. In fact, some of them have not been heard about much during the last CS match, which was hosted at the Lanxess Arena.
On a different note, there are going to be so many worthy candidates fighting for the trophy in the Cologne championship, such as Mousesports, Team Vitality, and FURIA Esports. In fact, the problem with these is that all of them are rosters, and NaVi is not really used to competing with them. That’s why playing against them is going to be a real challenge. In addition, another aspect is likely to affect the esports betting with regards to how NaVi is going to perform. This is due to Team Liquid, which is a Russian-Ukrainian organization. The issue with it is that the team is recognized to be the best in the world for now. And they are not eager to let their position change on the world arena: they won’t let their current winning steak stop.
Obviously, changes keep occurring in the environment of the championships that alter the ways in which the competitors feel as well as how they are going to perform. Altogether, the environment is pretty competitive, and it has become such only recently, but it is not the only thing that has faced changes. From the perspective of the team, NaVi has also reformed and faced a number of changes over the time since the previous championship. And it is not surprising: earning the title of the champions is not that easy two times in a row.
The pressure keeps growing over and over, and more stakes become involved in the performance of the team. That is why becoming the champion one more time is not going to be easy this time because too many conditions are to be suitable for NaVi in order for the team to achieve success. So when NaVi comes to Germany for the championship this year, the universe is to be at their side to help them win one more time.
Changes Are Needed
All the experience of NaVi and the challenges ahead make it necessary for the team to have some changes. It was not that obvious for the team over the recent several months that it needs to advance, yet the team definitely needs to create a strategy to how it performs in the game. In particular, a more tactical approach oriented on taking certain steps when playing is going to be the needed measure to prepare for this year’s competition. In fact, Oleksandr Kostyliev, “s1mple,” who is recognized to be the best player in the game, could have shown similarly exceptional performance as it was at iLeague StarSeries Season 4, but it would still not be enough to make the winning position secured.
The case is similar with Egor Vasilyev, “flamie,” also to had to make his contribution to making NaVi a suitable competitor. Danylo Teslenko, “Zeus,” and Ioann Shukariev, “Edward,” made the opposite impact on the situation: most of the time, they appeared to be irrelevant when comparing the statistics and analytics. Putting it differently, the two made the most negative effect on the performance of the team, particularly ended up holding it back.
The past experience of Danylo Teslenko, “Zeus,” proves the need for making changes to the situation. He played with an iron fist but hardly ever relied on sticking to a particular tactic to overcome the competitors in the matches. Instead, the approach the player tended to take to winning has become known as “s1mple, go kill,” which is now a popular meme. Eventually, the player’s negative impact on the performance of the team as a whole made his team members lack the desire to continue working with Zeus. In fact, the player has realized his mistakes himself and announced that he is going to retire from the sport this year, with no detailed explanation when he is planning to do so. Yet, until this happens, Zeus is staying in NaVi as an official team member.
Zeus’ approach to the playing used to be fascinating to other players and the fans, and he was even asked to be the teacher for others, including Kirill Mikhailov, “Boombl4.” He was supposed to pass his knowledge on leading the team to the Ukrainian start before retiring. The situation seems to be favorable for the team, but as for now, two players appear to occupy the same spot in the team. This actually appears to create confusion in how the roles and duties are divided within the team, which makes the fact that Zeus is about to retire pretty beneficial to the team.
As a matter of fact, it is even a good thing that the team is going to miss a member after they have records of such a successful performance over the past couple of years because changes are just essential for them to secure their winning position in the series of tournaments.
Although the need for changes has been recognized, the team is still in a somewhat uncertain position. The reason is that they need time to get used to each other in terms of the new member list in order to learn their strengths and weaknesses and prepare for the performance. Another thing that the team members are to improve is the communication inside the team: the more players interact with each other, the more support they feel and trust develop towards each other.
Poor communication can lead to conflicts between the team members and eventually put NaVi behind the rivals during the championship in Cologne. They have been training together for some time now, but playing at the championship is a different thing that takes place under much more pressure than training does. Let’s hope that the miraculous nature of the Lanxess Arena will help the team not to step off their path and show similarly great performance as they did earlier.