The veterans gilded with gold

The story of Na'Vi – Part 1

CS:GO
natus vincere winning esl one cologne 2016

Image credit: Natus Vincere

Natus Vincere or just Na'Vi is an esports organization from Ukraine. They are one of the best Counter-Strike teams with a rich history and a hefty sum of achievements under its belt. Na'Vi were the first team to ever win 3 Major championships in the same season. The first team to reach $1 million in prize rewards. The team with the largest esports fan base.

How did they become one of the most beloved teams and what is the secret of their success? Stay tuned and read the full untold story of team Natus Vincere and their way to the very top.

Pre-CS:GO era | Na'Vi as Arbalet.UA

The idea to crate the Natus Vincere organization pre-dates CS:GO. The team was officially created in 2009 by Marat “Arbalet” Zhumashevich and Sergey “starix” Ischuk. Starix was entrusted to form the org's first Counter-Strike roster. Initially, the team was called Arbalet.UA.

The first Na'Vi lineup was composed of former players of KerchNET; Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev, starix, Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko, Yehor "markeloff" Markelov, and Arsenii "ceh9" Trynozhenko. Every single player from this list was already a professional and had a lot of experience in this game. At the very beginning, they were already one of the best teams in the 1.6 version of the game, the so-called CS 1.6.

Natus Vincere: Born to conquer

Arbalet.UA did not stick for a long time and they were soon renamed into Natus Vincere, also known as Na'Vi. The name "Na'Vi" was inspired by James Cameron's movie Avatar. Zeus and Edward were influenced by that film and the fictional race in it, which was called “the Na’vi”.

As a result of that, they decided to name their team after Na’vi race. The team was called Na'Vi, short for Natus Vincere (from Latin: “born to win/conquer”). After a while, a competition was conducted among more than 2000 fans to choose the team name. The fans were united on this matter and decided to call it just Na'Vi.

team na'vi holding the ukrainian flag and their prize check

Natus Vincere in 2010. (Image credit: DreamHack via Twitter)

Way to the top

The beginning of every great team is hard and results do not come so easily. However, Na'Vi was initially composed of great players and they did not have such problems. As the team name said, they were born to win. They were born to be the best and nothing less than that.

In their first year, team Na'Vi won 12 medals, of which 8 were gold. Markeloff was the best player of that year, Zeus received a title as the best coach, and starix and Edward were placed as the 4th and 5th player of the year respectively.

That season was perfect for Na'Vi and they became the first team in Counter-Strike history to win three Major tournaments in one season. However, those achievements were accomplished in 2010, long before CS:GO. So don’t get confused, they didn’t win a single Major in this version of the game yet.

Transition to CS:GO and first Majors

At first, the transition to CS:GO was very difficult for the whole team. Na'Vi was composed of old veteran players that were already used to outdated game mechanics and tactics. New teams came and they did not know how to deal with them. It was hard and painful for every fan to watch their team perform like this. The team that got used to victories and trophies started losing one match after another at every single tournament.

A year after the release of CS:GO, the first official Major was held – DreamHack Winter 2013. Na'Vi were one of the favorites to win it, but yet, they did not win a single match. They realized that the game had evolved and they had to evolve with it. Changes were inevitable, so they finally decided to react.

Following the disappointing results at DreamHack Winter, Na'Vi signed the likes of Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács, considered to be the best AWPer in the world, and Edward. However, despite the roster change, the results very much stayed the same. The next Major was also a complete disaster and they once again did not win a single match.

Natus Vincere's Edward

Natus Vincere's Edward. (Image credit: Yahoo)

The third Major was a little better and they barely made it into the playoffs. However, the next match was against fnatic and Na'Vi got eliminated in the quarterfinals.

The team just wasn’t ready for the new game and they knew it. However, today, Na'Vi is one of the best teams in the world, with the largest fan base and an enviable number of achievements. So how did they make it? Come back for the second part of this story and find out how Na'Vi adapted to CS:GO and what the future holds for them.

And if you'd like to learn more about the star teams in your favorite esports titles, check out our other pieces in our series:

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And as always, keep it here, with EarlyGame, for all news and tips about CS:GO and your favorite games.

Antonio Kaurinovic

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