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Daria Belous | 4. August 2022

Natus Vincere signs junior Dota 2 roster 

A way for the young! Ukrainian esports organization Natus Vincere announced that it has signed a Junior Dota 2 roster. The players’ age varies from 15 to 17 years and all of them entered the top 300 players on the world leaderboard of Dota 2. 

Natus Vincere has chosen Ivan “Artstyle” Antonov, one of the organization’s veterans, a coach for the team, who was also responsible for roster selection. Amiran “ami” Rekhviashvili, Head of Esports of NAVI, is a curator for the Junior division and he already saw success in creating and mentoring NAVI Esports Camp and NAVI Junior CS:GO.

NAVI looking to replicate the success of Junior CS:GO team

It seems like Natus Vincere seeks to repeat the success of its amateur CS:GO team, which “raised” a perfect fit for the main roster — Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi. B1t played in the Junior division for almost two years and thanks to his performance, he was transferred to the main squad, where he continues his esports career now. With b1t, NAVI have won numerous prestigious events, including the CS:GO Major in 2021. Now the team occupies the second spot in the CS:GO world rankings by HLTV.

Amiran “ami” Rekhviashvili, Head of Esports at Natus Vincere, stated: 

NAVI Junior Dota 2 is our new project aimed to develop the youth scene in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Looking back at the success of our CS:GO academy, we realize that we can promote world-class players who will be loyal to the club and with whom it will be easy to work in the future. 

I believe that other big clubs will follow our example to boost the Dota 2 academic scene and improve the discipline’s ecosystem. That’s exactly what we did in CS:GO”.

Main Dota 2 roster in troubles

Another reason for signing the Junior Dota 2 line-up can be that the org’s main Dota 2 roster is currently going through hard times. In past, Natus Vincere was one of the strongest teams on pro scene who won the first International and entered the finals for three consecutive times. However, they didn’t perform in a major event since 2021 as they simply couldn’t qualify. 

The squad experienced constant roster changes, with Vladislav “laise” Lais and Georgii “swedenstrong” Zainalabidov being the last additions to the team in 2022. The team managed to qualify for the ongoing Arlington Major 2022, which will be a challenge for two NAVI newbies, for whom this will be the first Major of their esports careers.

With such uninspiring results, an amateur roster feels like a logical decision, because it can help the organization bring up loyal players and train them from scratch so that they can build a top-tier roster again. 

NAVI Junior Dota 2 roster:

  • Taras «gotthejuice» Linnikov
  • Ričards «Ri4man» Kalniņš 
  • Yurii «pma» Prots 
  • Tamir «daze» Tokpanov 
  • Stanislav «Riddys» Mitroshkyn 

Header credit: Natus Vincere