Usually, when a team underperforms in a big tournament, fans’ spidey senses start tingling, expecting a roster change. When the Dota 2 team of Natus Vincere started losing, some kind of a change was almost inevitable. Well, it happened. The scope of the change, however, is beyond expectations. Instead of trying to replace the weakest player or the one who is creating most of the problems the team is experiencing, the Na’Vi management decided to scrap the roster altogether, only keeping two of the current players, Danil “Dendi” Ishutin and Victor “GeneRaL” Nigrini and dropping Dmitry “Ditya Ra” Minenkov, Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev, and Ivan “ArtStyle” Antonov.
Even while keeping their spots, Dendi and GeneRaL weren’t kept safe because of their ingame skills. Instead, they simply convinced the management that they are willing to follow the program Na’Vi has been trying to implement for a while now. In the Pilot episode of Na’Vi Inside, the team’s eSports Director Eugene Zolotarev and Dota 2 Team Manager Igor Sidorenko answered fans’ questions about the current Na’Vi situation.
There were three common themes, which kept being brought up throughout the (almost) 40 minute long video (LINK HERE). First of all, Zolotarev spoke about professionalism in the team. The Director debunked the notion that you should be able to play with the people you like to play with. In his opinion, pro players should look at playing Dota2 as if it was a job, leaving personal issues out of the game. Players should treat the whole thing as if it was a job. They should practice with the teammates they are given, fulfill sponsor responsibilities to ensure their continued financial health and not let petty personal squabbles between players influence the outcomes of games.
The second problem to be talked about was the psychological qualities of the players. A good point about the differences between Dota2 and CS:GO teams’ players has been brought up. According to the Na’Vi representatives themselves, where CS:GO guys can just curse each other out and get over it, the Dota 2 guys were way more introverted, keeping small problems in and letting them grow until the problem reached such a scale that it was almost impossible to fix, leaving only one option available to the management of Na’Vi — complete roster overhaul.
Finally, the longview when running an org was also talked about. Where most teams swap out players like they were Dobby with a pair of new socks, trying to find which combo works better, Na’Vi intend to hold a roster for a long time, finding and attempting to fix problems before roster changes are considered. With an almost nonexistent roster change in the Na’Vi CS:GO team, that actually sounds believable.
With such an unusual, even revolutionary (for Dota2) idea about how the team should be run, another problem pops up. How do you even make it happen? It’s all well and good if you’re starting from the ground up and can just tell your new team how it’s going to work. What do you do if the players have been doing things a certain way for a long time? In such situations, forcing change is Herculean effort.
All things considered, with the team not performing due to purely psychological reasons and inside conflicts, with most of the players resisting the changes that are planned by the owners, the only recourse left was to axe anyone who wasn’t up to getting onboard and getting several new players to start fresh and begin the next leg of Na’Vi’s journey on a good foot. Dendi and GeneRaL are the only two players on the now former roster who agreed to play ball whatever the new rules are. Now, the only thing left is to fill out the roster and start competing.
About the method Na’Vi plans to use to do it… They won’t hold tryouts at all. The candidates will be chosen by their in-game performance and position first of all. Then, they will be invited to talks. The management will then try to figure out the best three players who can follow the new Natus Vincere Program of Professionalism and long-term progress, while talking about problems when they come up, even if it’s upsetting, instead of just letting it fester, which was the entire problem of the former Na’Vi lineup.