Winning the PGL Major 2021 in Stockholm, the Natus Vincere CSGO division is undoubtedly the best team in world esports at the moment. S1mple, who is considered to be one of the best CSGO players of all time is the driving force behind the team and its success. The mostly Russian and Ukrainian roster is filled with other prominent names too, such as electronic, boombl4, perfecto and b1t.
Latin for Born to Win, the definition can be taken quite literally, as NaVi has sailed through the years mostly remaining on top in CSGO while enjoying some spotlight in DOTA 2 as well. NaVi has always been a very famous brand, if not the most, in esports history. They currently have rosters not only in CSGO and DOTA 2 but a variety of FPS games like Rainbow Six Siege, LOL, PUBG.
In this article, we will go into the history of the organisation and how it came to be such a big name in esports. Meanwhile, if you are interested in team NaVi’s CSGO settings, check out our article on the same or check out their rival Astralis’s organisation history. You can also check out various other teams’ CSGO settings.
Natus Vincere Counter Strike Division and DoTa
Kazakh businessman and patron Muhamet Zhumashevich announced the idea of creating an organisation at IEM Dubai 2009. This came at a time when esports was rising in status with more and more competitions being announced along with big prizes for their winners. Muhamet, also known as Arbalet, stated that he would be the main sponsor and will take financial responsibility for every little expense. Starix was the first guy to show interest and thus was trusted with creating the star team for the organisation.
NaVi’s first Counter-Strike line-up consisted of Edward, markeloff, ceh9, starix and Zeus with Alexander “ZeroGravity” Kokhanovskyy as the manager. A very talented bunch of players were bought together, with some having lots of previous experience in CS 1.6 tournaments.
2010 was a big year for the new organisation as they won 12 medals in total. Gaining a massive number of fans as their legendary CS 1.6 plays impressed many people worldwide. Some of markeloff’s plays and highlights are still watched across the world today on youtube. 2010 also saw NaVi become the first team to win all Counter-Strike majors in one calendar year.
The NaVi DoTa team was fully rolled out in early 2011, and rose to the top pretty soon as they invested good amounts of money and signed some good names. They even got invited to TheInternational that year as they made a reputation for being a strong team pretty quickly. Surprising everyone yet again, they actually won the competition beating the tournament favorites, EHome, conclusively in the grand finals. Winning the biggest esports event of the year, the players had their names etched in the all-time history of esports. The following years saw them consistently participating in TI events and their Dota division is a tough fight for other teams ever since they entered.
NaVi also tried creating their presence in other games like StarCraft II, FIFA and League of Legends but weren’t successful and disbanded the respective teams after failing to meet expectations. 2012 saw the Counter-Strike 1.6 team switching to the then newly launched CSGO. The switch wasn’t a comfortable one as the games are a bit different when it comes to overall gameplay and intensity. In 2013, the main players markeloff and Edward left the org to join another CSGO team called Astana Dragons making them sign seized and kibaken to complete the roster. The entire year saw mixed results with a very disappointing end as they came last at the major in Jonkoping, Sweden. Following this, kikaben’s contract was terminated and Ceh9 retired and switched to streaming.
Slovakian AWPer GuardiaN was signed just before 2014 and the year’s first major had NaVi faltering again. Although they qualified for the EMS One: Katowice 2014, they got knocked out really quickly by Clan-mystix and LGB-eSports. The team management decided to give a few more chances to the line-up and the team proceeded to win Starladder Star-series IX. They failed to win other big tournaments that year but ended up getting into the play-off stages in most of them.
2015 was the year NaVi player starix ended his role as a player and transitioned into the team’s head coach with Flamie brought in to fulfill starix’s former role in the team strategies. Apart from others, they managed to win Intel Extreme Masters X – San Jose after beating Team SoloMid 2-0 in the final.
Oleksander Kostyliev, who we now know as s1mple joined the organization after the ESL One: Cologne in 2016, having first played against them in the finals and beating them. Around August 4, s1mple was given Zeus’s position on the roster and thus began his journey at NaVi. Even though the first result was a last-place exit at StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 2, they managed to beat Virtus.Pro and win ESL One: New York.
After the first major in 2017, starix stepped down as the coach and his position was subsequently given to team analyst Andrey “Andi” Prokhorov. The year saw many failures following which GuardiaN decided to leave the team and went on to join FaZe clan. Seized returned to the first team for a brief period before NaVi acquired electronic and replaced him again. NaVi also brought back Zeus from Gambit Esports along with the team coach “kane”.
The changes helped as 2018 was the year NaVi came back to be one of the top CSGO teams again. They narrowly lost to other teams in the final stages, always keeping to 2nd or 3rd place in most competitions. On 8 July, Na’Vi even won the ESL One Cologne 2018 beating BIG 3-1 for the first Intel Grand Slam win.
Edward was replaced by Boombl4 in mid-2019 and zeus announced his retirement after the BLAST Pro Series: Moscow 2019. zeus had attended every CSGO major till that point, even winning one with Gambit Esports. The management then decided to make Boombl4 the in-game leader after his retirement. NaVi re-acquired GuardiaN in September and brought in the current coach b1ad3 to replace kane.
A Ukrainian prodigy from NaVi junior squad, b1t, got promoted to the main team as the 6th player in 2020. Post pandemic, NaVi closed out 2021 by winning PGL Stockholm 2021 which was the first major in 2 years. They even became Intel Grand Slam winners after winning 4 competitions in a cycle, joining Astralis and Team Liquid.
NaVi and Ukrainian Esports
NaVi has a lot of clout in Ukraine and contributes to the development of e-sports in their home country in plenty of ways. Back in 2010, the prime minister of Ukraine met with the team members in the cabinet building in Kyiv. The development of the IT industry in Ukraine was one of the major things discussed and the PM promised to hold open cups and support young talent. NaVi also cooperates with Hator, a company that makes gaming equipment to organize esports events in different cities in Ukraine.
Today, Natus Vincere is one of the most renowned names in the world of esports with even casual gamers knowing about the org due to its reach and reputation across a variety of games. CSGO player S1mple and the team’s incredible game-play moments continue to make an impression and inspire future e-sport stars. The extremely talented roster has many fans worldwide who travel across continents to see their team play live.