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“We want to show that we can compete on LAN”: Doki on NAVI's up and down 2021

NAVI crashed in Mexico, but Sweden might be just the opposite.

Image via Ubisoft/@Kirill_Vision

Natus Vincere's 2021 season started with a bang, but ended with a whimper.

Na’Vi went out on a limb in March by replacing Luke “Kendrew” Kendrew and Joe “Joe” Crowther with Nathan “Nathan” Sharp and Rickard “Secretly” Oloffson. The gamble initially paid off, as the team was crowned EUL Stage 1 champion, just ahead of BDS Esport.

Such a beginning was later proven to be just a mirage. Na’Vi has been in the doldrums since then, as a third-place finish on Stage 2 was followed by an early group-stage exit in Mexico. After mathematically missing out on the Sweden Major, the team was on the verge of losing its spot to compete at the European League Finals – which they kept away from Vitality’s hands despite the French final sprint. 

“We just started missing out on some things, we started having problems that we didn’t have on the first stage. I wouldn’t say we played badly, we just slipped off,” said Jack “Doki” Robertson. 

In all likelihood that is something that condemned the squad in Mexico. Natus Vincere’s results were extremely tight, but yet managed to go home winless – with the best example being their 7-8 defeat to FURIA Esports, where the Brazilians clutched three rounds.

“It was unfortunate. We got a bit nervous, we didn’t have the experience. We made some silly mistakes, we didn’t play so well individually, especially myself, so that’s hopefully going to be fixed,” Doki explained.

Doki explained that the team sees Mexico as a tournament where the group gained lots of invaluable experiences, so the boys’ job is now to learn from these. Looking at how the year ended, the results aren’t encouraging, but that’s nothing that time and work can’t fix, according to Doki. 

Luckily, we are talking about one of the biggest organizations in the old continent. Natus Vincere has helped its players by providing them with a bootcamp to practice before traveling to Sweden. The squad, who is now working in Berlin, has two weeks ahead of hard-work before traveling to Sweden.

A bootcamp might be what this team needs. Communication is key, and some of Natus Vincere’s mistakes might be linked to this. For Doki, having the chance to be in a bootcamp is “very valuable”, which the team lacked before traveling to Mexico. In recent times we have seen teams like FaZe Clan or Team oNe winning international competitions, teams that decided to work on synergy and team structure, which later on proved to be pivotal in their path to success. Na’Vi might need the same mix of experience and synergy, while building a bond between players.

“We have to be a good team outside of the game before focusing on the inside of the game, we are spending much time together, in our previous bootcamp we went to laser tag for example, that helps building a good synergy,” said Doki.

“We definitely want to show we can compete on LAN, especially after having a poor performance last time,” admitted Doki. That’s Natus Vincere’s essential goal, some kind of redemption after Mexico. The roster wants to show the progress behind the cameras, and with that work, the SI 2022 could be the event where we see those steps forward. Although progress is surely being made, it is very important to see it in results, especially on the big stage, and that’s in the players’ hands. 

Natus Vincere will be competing in Sweden from Feb. 8 to Feb. 20 at the Six Invitational 2022, the team’s second appearance in the biggest event in the Siege scene since taking part in 2020’s edition.