The solution to Na’Vi’s stagnation was s1mple after all. With new firepower in the form of a fan-favorite super talent, Na’Vi finally win a tournament after a six month drought.
Na’Vi’s seemingly permanent second-place position could not have been scripted any better. First, they were behind fnatic, who were winning every event they attended with ease, and later behind SK (formerly LG), who emerged as their fiercest opponent. As Thorin said at the analyst desk, the stagnation was a sign of their tapped out potential. And as we can see now, nothing short of a roster change would let them break through the barrier.
It’s worth noting here that Na’Vi still have to display more consistency for this result to be more than just a fluke. After all, the tournament prior to ESL One New York (StarSeries) was a disaster. They lost to Tyloo and Astralis and failed to make it to the playoffs. It will take Na’Vi more to show us that their success in New York was a more profound representation of their form than just a magical tournament run.
s1mple’s fragging ability takes pressure off of Flamie and Guardian. Zeus‘ role as an IGL meant that he wasn’t expected to frag as much as the other players. But once starix became the IGL and results stagnated, Zeus became the player to replace.
s1mple often improvises during important games as a result of his intuitive approach to the game. With the combination of a highly tactically trained 4-man core, s1mple is in a perfect position to make plays without leaving his team vulnerable.
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Plus, he does things like this.
Psychologically it’s relevant to note that s1mple and the rest of Na’Vi have been hanging out whenever they could at LANs. This shows that they already had a very healthy social relationship before they started playing CS together. The Na’Vi roster benefits from s1mple because his talent can be added without much social adjustment. But most importantly, s1mple benefits from the roster in the sense that he can finally play with a group of players that he wholly respects.
Are all the pieces in place?
Peacemaker really did all the prep work. It would be hard to imagine s1mple from HellRaisers playing with Na’Vi today. Yet s1mple reaped the rewards of transatlantic training, which, combined with his innate talent, truly sets him apart from all other players in the world.
The puzzle looks complete for Na’Vi. Let’s see if it can be maintained.