Those dominant times are still unforgotten for fans and players of Na'Vi. 2017 was the first time in TI history that the CIS squad didn't qualify for The International. Dendi’s place in the list of players who had competed in every TI was lost. Several roster resets around the iconic mid laner were unsuccessful.
Lil's points are not enough
With the acquisition of Ilya 'Lil' Ilyuk, Na'Vi's hopes for a TI qualification grew - the Ukrainian Support player carried over enough DPC points from his time with Virtus.pro to bring Na'vi into the top 8.
Although the CIS squad showed some good performances at the end of 2017 by reaching top four at DreamLeague Season 8 and Mars Media Dota 2 League: Macau, Na'Vi couldn't maintain Top 8 in the DPC, especially as multiple Chinese teams surpassed them thanks to some solid Major performances.
The chances for Dendi and his team to qualify for TI began to shrink. They are on 10th place with more than 700 points behind VGJ.Thunder on the eigth place. Na'Vi would have had just two more events to surpass the other teams - almost impossible.
Fresh start for the TI qualifiers
That was the point when Na'Vi decided to try something new: they dropped Nikola 'LeBronDota' Popovic and a new player was added to the roster. From now on, Fedor 'velheor' Rusihin will play position four and Lil has switched to position five.
We're sad to announce that @natusvincere have undergone a roster change. In consequence, they have also withdrawn from #ESLOne Birmingham.— ESL Dota2 (@ESLDota2) 14. Mai 2018
We're currently finalizing their replacement team and will announce it as soon as possible.https://t.co/cekGb8NmCM pic.twitter.com/EjcG7ba5bE
The roster change caused the CIS squad to withdraw from ESL One Birmingham 2018, which starts on May 23rd.
The CEO of Natus Vincere Yevhen Zolotarov explained the surprising roster move, saying that it was done early enough to allow the team enough time to practice for the upcoming TI qualifiers.
Who is velheor?
Roster changes are not a new thing to Na'Vi, but the addition of velheor surprised a lot of fans because he is not well known in the Dota 2 scene yet. This is why Na'Vi introduced the newcomer to the squad and gave us a face.
In the interview, The 20 year old Russian Dota 2 player explains how he got into DotA and alter his early advantages. This reveals that Na'Vi is not the first well known Dota 2 organisation to give him a tryout.
After the collapse of his former team SLOZHNIY MEMAS, he was contacted by Na'Vi - and now we all know the outcome.
In his player profile Na'Vi explains his strength and favourite heroes according to Dotabuff statistics. The position four player is mostly active with Doom, Rubick and Tusk lately.
He is very excited to play for Na'Vi but knows that there is a lot of work ahead for the team. The one thing which will tell if this roster can be successful or not will be the TI8 qualifier.
With that said, his first appearance in a DPC event will be at the China Dota 2 Supermajor in China. Na'Vi can't win any points thanks to the roster change, but it could give us a taste of the squad’s new direction.
Do you think Natus Vincere can qualify for The International 8 with the addition of velheor?