Natus Vincere bounced back after a crushing defeat at the DreamLeague Season 11 and took 3rd place at ESL One Mumbai last weekend, taking home $35,000 dollars. Andrey “Mag” Chipenko talked about their performance there.
The last few years in DOTA 2 were less than successful for the Ukrainian organization. Four-time The International attendees and three-time finalists NaVi find themselves desperate for top positions lately. The last win for the team was over 18 months — a first place finish at Adrenaline Cyber League. And even that was with a completely different lineup.
These days NaVi have a much younger, less experienced roster. According to team owners that was at least partly intentional — the players are still growing, but they are improving quickly.
At DreamLeague, however, NAVI suffered defeats against Evil Geniuses and Vici Gaming in the group stage and a crushing loss against Clinton “Fear” Loomis’ J.Storm in the Loser Bracket Round 1.
Last week’s ESL One Mumbai 2019 was meant to serve as a way for the CIS team to bounce back. Even though they started the event with a loss against Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao’s TEAM TEAM, they quickly came back with two straight wins against compLexity and TNC Predator.
After defeats against Mineski and Keen Gaming in the playoffs, Natus Vincere had to make do with a third-place finish at the Indian event. But considering recent performance, this could still be a great result for the team. In an interview with cybersport team’s coach Andrey “Mag” Chipenko talked about the event.
How do you like the tournament in India? Were there any concerns about the quality of the tournament?
Probably everyone had their concerns about the tournament but in reality, we got a sick hotel, there is very good cuisine, everything is organized well and comfortable. There are practice rooms in the hotel. There are no issues and everything is great. In my memory, this is one of the best hotels that has been provided for the tournament.
Did you manage to try something from the local cuisine?
I don’t really want to try the local cuisine. Even though I lived for two months in Malaysia, I don’t really like spicy food. At the tournament, we have some fresh delicious fruit. Personally, I eat here rice and fish.
There is also a swimming pool on the tenth floor. If you have free time, 15-20 minutes in the evening after the games or early in the morning you can just go there and chill out there.
Do the locals like Dota 2?
I can not speak on that yet, we haven’t gone anywhere. We will be at the venue only tomorrow, we’ll have an autograph session. It seems to me that there are quite a lot of Dota fans out there, and for them, this is a first major event.
How much did you manage to play with Mikhail “Misha” Agatov? Did you have a bootcamp before the tournament?
There was no bootcamp because the team just finished playing qualifications for the Minor (bootcamp was during the qualifiers), and there will be no bootcamp with a stand-in before another tournament — we had to rest.
We played online with Misha for about six days after qualifications. Had time to strategies some stuff. Evgenii “Chuvash” Makarov previously played with Misha for a quite some time in Comanche. So between the supports, there is a good synergy.
As a coach did you have to change strategies and picks because of a stand-in? Or did he adapt to the role of Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev and his duties on the map?
You can’t just adapt and take the captain’s role. Imagine that a player just comes in and takes the role of Puppey (laughs). But I can say that Misha was perfectly able to fit in our team in such a short period of time, and he was able to bring something of his own views.
The first days of online practice I tried drafting, then Misha volunteered. I decided to give him such an opportunity, and I, in turn, tried to advise and help. And watched how it would turn out.
Who makes calls in-game currently?
They all do calls themselves. Without Akbar, they began to take the initiative. At first, we didn’t do very well, but there is already some progress. During this time, we have improved the understanding of the game plan for the first 10-20 minutes, due to this it has become easier to play, we have a general understanding of what we want on the map at any given time.
What went wrong in the match against us TEAM TEAM?
We were leading by 5k in the first game, we could easily win with the Hex on the OD, we just performed poorly. There was a moment where we made a mistake in mid, and lost about 3 or 4k net worth advantage, after that, it was harder to play.
The main mistake was that one of the carries had to play more greedily, but we were playing an all-in build — one went for Hex and the other got Diffusal blade and Manta style. And when the enemy got BKB’s, we did not have enough damage. We did not have a clear plan for the game, we made a mistake and lost.
And in the second game?
In the second game, there were difficulties with Ember. We didn’t have any “catch”. We could only kill him with Doom’s Ult, we were not ready for this hero. Because according to Dotabuff they didn’t play much with Ember, but they took him at this tournament, and we faced some difficulties.
But we had a chance to win the game — to the point that we went on to the throne, but something somewhere didn’t add up, used our buttons poorly, we died without buybacks. If we would have used our skills better we would have killed the opponents and closed out the game.
We then analyzed these games, broke down our draft, made some changes, came to the next day and already played better.
What knowledge did you have about the opponent before approaching the game against Keen Gaming?
They have a 100% win rate with Dark seer, Disruptor and 90% with Doom. It all went from there. We understood that they were favorites. I initially considered them the main favorites of the tournament, because they entered the top 6 of the previous Major.
We surprised them in the first game. They did not expect Dark seer from us. We understood that if we didn’t take him as the first pick, they would most likely take him. They weren’t ready for that, and we managed to win the first game.
The second game we got outdrafted. We could have taken other heroes … and it was difficult to play, we got crushed.
In the last game, we had a good draft, but they managed to do better on the lanes, and so we faced some difficulties. But they didn’t have a hard carry. They have Tiny Ursa, Death Prophet — and so you know that they are on time limit.
They do not have a save for the DP — this is a huge weakness. And so DP is hitting the rax with the Cheese, we jump on her, and no one can save her. We killed her even before she managed to use Cheese. That’s when we started coming back.
The first game gave us confidence because it was a victory against a strong team. Everyone understood that this was a serious opponent, but thanks to the victory, the barrier was removed, and we realized that we can easily win this series.
What do you think about Mineski?
We played scrims vs them. In fact, what is there to say… It is my former team (laughs). Of those guys with whom I played with left only Michael “ninjaboogie” Ross. I caught up with him, chatted a bit. Mineski plays well. We still need to prepare for the drafts. I think we can win. We’ll see how it goes.
You had a few days rest before the finals began. How did you prepare?
We did not rest. We had an autograph session scheduled, and after that, we planned to play scrims in order to prepare as much as possible for the finals of the upper bracket. In practice matches, we only played against teams from Southeast Asia or against those teams that were there. In this regard, there weren’t many options.
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