iM Gets A Warm Welcome Back Home After Winning The Major

Natus Vincere’s Romanian rifler, Mihai “iM” Ivan,” reached his home country of Romania, greeted by a crowd chanting his... Owen | 2. April 2024

Natus Vincere’s Romanian rifler, Mihai “iM” Ivan,” reached his home country of Romania, greeted by a crowd chanting his name. The fans celebrated his victory at the PGL Copenhagen Major, asking for pictures and autographs.

First Romanian Player To Win A Major

In this day and age, esports players, especially Counter-Strike ones, are being treated as celebrities, especially Brazilian players. It’s nothing new to see fans wait for the arrival of their hometown hero, but it’s always great to see less-popular players like iM receive a warm welcome. 

Romania had never been a huge competitor in the Counter-Strike scene, and Ivan did the job of putting the country on the map. iM became the first Romanian to bring home a Major title, and what a way to do it! 

Natus Vincere truly made a magical run through the Copenhagen Major, fighting through one of the toughest Playoff brackets in Counter-Strike history. Seven teams in the top eight world rankings made it through. The international roster didn’t look too sharp in their Quarter Final match against Eternal Fire, and the opponents only got tougher.

Still, Na’Vi prevailed, defeating G2 in a tight Best of 3 and eventually taking down the founding fathers of Counter-Strike 2, FaZe Clan. 

iM Ignores The Backlash, Uses It As Motivation

Despite Na’Vi having an arduous journey through the Major, nobody in the team had it harder than iM. The Romanian was scouted by his current team after his insane performance in the BLAST.tv Paris Major, essentially carrying a Tier 2 team, GamerLegion, to the Grand Final. iM was the highest-rated player in the team, and his performance was enough to land him a spot in Na’Vi.

However, during his time representing the Ukrainian organization, fans did not get to see the star rifler iM was in France. There were numerous arguments supporting the benching of iM, as he was the lowest-performing player, and a lack of firepower in the team could be seen as a result. 

Before the Major Playoffs, iM mentioned in an interview that nobody would care that he was at the bottom of the scoreboard if Na’Vi won the Major. This fueled more hatred toward the 24-year-old, and some fans claimed he was delusional to think that Na’Vi could win the entire event. However, iM ended up having the last laugh. 

After winning the Major, iM was brought in for another interview. He stated that he preferred being at the bottom of the scoreboard and winning the Major rather than being the best player in the tournament and getting second place, hinting at his stint with GamerLegion. 

iM has indeed transitioned to a more supportive role in the team, allowing the team’s main prodigies, b1t, jL, and w0nderful, to take the spotlight. With the new structure of Na’Vi, iM was never really meant to be the star player he was on his previous team. 

Of all the players at the Major, iM is the only one to have attended back-to-back Grand Finals of the last two Majors, Paris and Copenhagen. It shouldn’t be a fluke that he got there twice. 

Regardless of whether you are a fan of iM or not, it has to be admitted that he silenced the haters and deserved this Major victory, even if he wasn’t at the top of the scoreboard. 

Header: Natus Vincere