TI6: the Rise of Navi?

Navi vs Team Secret in the final game of SLS2 (youtube screencap)
Navi vs Team Secret in the final game of SLS2 (youtube screencap) /
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Navi, a fixture in the pro scene of DOTA since 2010, hasn’t seen a TI6 victory since 2011. Could this be the year they return to the top of the pro scene?

I think I saw the same look on Dendi's face...
I think I saw the same look on Dendi’s face… /

Navi wouldn’t have even pinged on my radar if they hadn’t come back from the lower bracket the other day to win StarSeries S2. Not to say they’re not a top tier team, but it’s been a LONG time since they’ve won a major tournament. I expected them to make things interesting throughout the early and mid phase of TI6, but after seeing their performance at StarSeries, I’m beginning to think they could have a shot at winning the tournament.

Though people love to talk about a losing streak, it shouldn’t be ignored that Navi hasn’t exactly been bringing up the rear of the pack either. Not only have they attended every International since they won the inaugural tournament in 2011, but they took 2nd at TI2 and TI3. More recently, Navi took 4th at Summit 5 and 2nd at ESL One Frankfurt. That’s not exactly a track record to be ashamed about.

Alright, we’re excited. How do their chances look for TI6?

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not going to be an easy feat for them to accomplish. Many of us who have been following the pro scene of DOTA for a long time have a soft spot in our hearts for Navi, if only because it has survived the tumultuous reformations and that have claimed so many of our favorites. However, almost any of the teams involved at TI6 could potentially put an end to Navi’s hopeful streak.

The four big names Navi will have to prove themselves against are OG, Newbee, Liquid, and Wings. Navi has seen mixed success against Wings at Summit 5, but ultimately lost. They’ve failed to best OG on several occasions now (ESL One Frankfurt, Manila Major, DreamLeague S5). And they’ve had a poor showing against Liquid at the Manila Major and Summit 5. So, against the top contenders, it’s not looking great.

My biggest concern for them, though, is Newbee, who they haven’t played against in a while. This could leave Navi ill prepared should they have to overcome Newbee at TI6, but the same could be said for Newbee as well. It’s not like Newbee being a strong contender means they won’t suffer from a lack of scrimmage experience.

Next: Recent Victories, High Hopes