After a dreadful 2017, things are finally looking up for Na’vi. Armed with a capable in-game leader and two of the best players in the world, the CIS team has now earned the #3 spot (and #2 for a week) in HLTV’s world rankings, which puts them in their best form since October 2016 when they won ESL One New York. Can AdreN make the difference? 

Given this surge of success, it seems strange to talk about rosters moves for Na’vi. Yet this team has both the gift and the curse of having glaring holes in their roster. Curse because it hinders their performance; gift because it’s easily rectified. Stuck in the same glut of performance as Na’vi are Fnatic and mousesports, neither of which have obvious roster upgrades available. Meanwhile Na’vi have only two member, electronic and s1mple, who they should keep under lock and key. All three other members could potentially be removed without leaving the roster in shambles.

Of all the ‘expendables, some are more valuable than others. While flamie hasn’t been in peak form, he’s certainly a good player and could easily be part of an elite team. Accounts of the value of Zeus as an in-game leader vary, but the only only surefire move would be to replace him with Ange1, which seems impossible at the moment. The remaining player, who’s been criticized voluminously, is Edward.

Natus Vincere Na'Vi Counter PIT

Many have suggested that Edward be replaced by former Vega Squadron player mir, given his outstanding performance at the ELEAGUE Major qualifier. For one, mir has shown real signs of talent. For two, Edward has shown real signs of struggle. The former looks good, the latter looks bad; one-for-one, what’s not to like? One may be forgiven for worrying about this move, however. After all, mir followed up his awesome qualifier performance with a team-low rating at the Major itself, and performed poorly in the following matches before being removed. Also, as ceh9 pointed out in an episode of Talk to Thorin, Edward likely contributes more than frags to his team. Being a veteran, playing the dirty roles, you’ve heard the spiel. For what it’s worth, it is true that bringing in another young talent could create a clash of egos as one of them will have to take a significant step back in stardom. Hence, while Na’vi with mir might be improved, it also may not, as personality clashes could haunt the team as they did in 2017.

There is, however, another move available to Na’vi that is not susceptible to the same problems. Replacing Edward with AdreN from Gambit. First, AdreN has been a very strong player for a long time now. Though he’s had his lulls in a turbulent Gambit team, even at his worst he has been better than Edward. Second, AdreN is more than capable of doing the dirty work. While Mir may not want to entry and die repeatedly, AdreN has proved that he’s more than willing to sacrifice himself for his team, not least by becoming in-game leader on multiple occasions. Third, AdreN is an excellent entry-fragger and a very versatile player, so he should be able to slot in wherever Na’vi need him when replacing Edward. Finally, all the veteran smarts Edward may have, AdreN has as well. He has a reputation as a secondary shot caller, and all the arguments in favour of Edward’s intangibles on the basis of his experience apply to him as well, given his tenure in the scene.

AdreN Gambit Esports Dauren Kystaubayev

All in all, AdreN seems like a perfect fit for this Na’vi. A skilled and versatile veteran, he’s capable of filling every role Edward plays while adding greater depth to their firepower. He’s able to fill the void of experience the other may leave behind, and they share a chipper personality. Adding AdreN seems like an unequivocal upgrade.

And now is the time. While Na’vi’s results have been good, Gambit recently bombed Dreamhack Tours, and are now returning to Dosia as in-game leader. At no other point since their Major win have they looked so down. Finally Na’vi have restored their status as the #1 CIS team, and AdreN should be more than willing to escape a sinking ship and join an up-and-coming roster with two elite players. The player to add is AdreN, and the time to add him is now.

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