As of June 27th, 2018 HLTV.org has determined based on past results, that Natus Vincere is the 3rd best team in the world right now. So how did a team that was hovering around the top ten mark in February become one of the best in the world? One major factor is the Na'Vi talisman Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev becoming the indisputably best player in the world. In the past 3 months alone, s1mple has a 1.35 HLTV rating with an outstanding 0.90 kills per round. Between the highlight plays and the sheer skill that s1mple shows off every match, it would be a sin for this team not to be within the top 3 right now.
S1mple’s supporting cast is… lackluster depending on the matchup. While Denis 'electronic' Sharipov is fairly consistent and can back up s1mple almost every game with his 1.23 HLTV rating, other players such as Egor 'flamie' Vasilyev and Ioann 'Edward' Sukhariev are very inconsistent.
The level of inconsistency from the supporting cast can range from being vital to success to gigantic liabilities. While Edward sometimes is a good player, Flamie’s consistency is completely based off who he is playing. Flamie will blast a team like NRG or Heroic, then get pummeled by a team like NiP or Mousesports.
Natus Vincere has leadership in spades. Danylo 'Zeus' Teslenko plays a very distinct role within Navi and has presumably helped to cultivate electronic and s1mple to becoming extremely good at their respective roles. The utilization of their star players has contributed to Natus Vincere becoming a team that deserves respect. Zeus is grossly underrated as well, while sometimes he tends to whiff a crucial flank, he does much more than most other in-game leaders internally. Without Zeus, the team seems as if it would fall back to its former self where the IGL was bounced between several players and never was going to place higher than top eight at a major LAN.
One of the main reasons why people continuously question whether or not this iteration of Navi can remain a top team for an extended amount of time is the fact that a lot of the teams right now are not playing close to 100%. Except for Astralis, most of the teams that were “better” than Natus Vincere has made a significant roster change.
Teams like mibr, Fnatic, Cloud 9, and FaZe have all made some sort of roster change which has resulted in them becoming weaker. Even if some of these teams go on runs, Navi will not give their spot in the top three easily. Due to Zeus' leadership, the team seems to have a consistency of making grand finals or at least top four and that is what is most important
Natus Vincere has shown every indication that they are a team that is built to last. With several offers from organizations like FaZe and SK Gaming plus the giant buyout for s1mple, the core of this roster should not change. On the other hand, Natus Vincere is one roster move away from becoming the best team in the world. If they are able to get a player that fits their needs that Edward has struggled to meet, Natus Vincere is almost guaranteed to become the best team in the world.
The best part is that they don’t even need a player that is more skilled than Edward (although a massive drop off in raw skill would be a problem) they just need someone who can do exactly what Zeus wants. Natus Vincere has almost always been one good roster move away from being one of the best teams in the world. This current iteration is no exception.
Comment below if you think Na'Vi will perform in ESL One Cologne.