With Natus Vincere wrapping up the year as the dominant team, having won eight titles including an Intel Grand Slam and a CS: GO Major, it’s time to look to the future and explore what lies ahead. Teams like Gambit, G2, Vitality and Heroic excelled in 2021, but will they be able to take on Aleksandr? “S1mple” Kostyliev and Co. in the new year?
(Photo: Stephanie Lindgren / PGL)
We spoke to three Counter-Strike experts from three different continents to get different views on who might be the challenger to NAVI, but the responses we received sounded pretty similar.
Wilton “Zews” Prado, the former coach who now co-streams professional games on Twitch, is a member of the UK analyst firm Sudhen “Bleh” Wahengbam and his CIS colleague Oleksandr “petr1k” Petryk spoke to HLTV.org and shared his opinion on the chances of the current and rumored lineups to challenge Natus Vincere.
zews: “This scenario shouldn’t change unless something big happens”
“If you look at the challengers as they stand today, the answer is a tough no,” zews is decisive when asked whether a current team could challenge Natus Vincere. “And as harsh as that sounds, that scenario shouldn’t change until 2022 unless something big happens.”
To explain why the Brazilian described all of Natus Vincere’s strengths, ranging from five capable fighters and a great coaching staff to their mutual understanding on and off the server, the self-confidence after so many victories and, last but not least, the coupling factor. “They are damn clutchable. Even the rookies, which means they don’t crumble under pressure and can mostly win those clutch situations by just waiting for their opponents to screw it up.”
zews personally experienced NAVI’s major run
“If someone wants to challenge NAVI, they have to improve their game significantly.” Regarding current teams, he believes Gambit has potential, “but they seem more like a NAVI Jr. They may need a change and / or time to develop more of a squad that can challenge Dad a little more … “
On speculative terrain and reported rosters, zews fears the language barrier will be overlooked when talking about Vitality, which aims to bring together the best of the French and Danish scenes. “Maybe when Astralis brings back device?”
Vitality overtakes roster with Astralis trio for 2022 – report
zews is convinced that Natus Vincere will be even more dominant in 2022 than in 2021 if we don’t see any further big steps in the offseason. His greatest hope of stopping this is G2.
“Carlos and NiKo’s G2 seem like one of the teams that want to put their money in to make it a fun year.” Otherwise, he argues, it will depend on players like Gambit, Heroic and G2 fighting on their best days, but Natus Vincere will continue to dominate year-round.
petr1k: “Gambit will be the main competitor in the first months of 2022”
petr1k believes that Natus Vincere’s dominance in the second half of 2021 has forced top teams to make roster changes that otherwise would not have happened. “NAVI has raised the bar. In order to have a chance against them, all teams try to strengthen themselves at all costs. With their form, NAVI motivated the whole world in 2021, leaving their opponents hungry and untitled, so after winter transfers NAVI will potentially have many dangerous rivals. “
The CIS expert believes that NAVI’s internal struggle will be his greatest challenge (Photo: WePlay)
I am from Ukraine, petr1k was able to follow NAVI and other CIS teams more closely than international experts and believes their main competitor will come from the region early on.
“In the first few months of 2022, while the rejuvenated squads form their team play, Gambit will be NAVI’s main rival. This team has a tendency to improve its results in LAN tournaments, so with every new championship and especially with every big stage appearance, they get stronger. In the CIS scene, for example at RMR events, teams like Virtus.pro and Entropiq will ensure that NAVI does not have an easy time of it. “
But what about the rumored European cadres? “When the device returns to Astralis, this team will be NAVI’s # 1 rival.” petr1k thinks. “NIP with a device or Astralis without it may be successful in some tournaments, but in the long run they will hardly be able to defeat NAVI permanently.”
Device: “All these nonsense reports that I left the team are just that, nonsense”
He also has high hopes in G2, but the exact expectations depend on which player constellation the organization ends up. “Of all the proposed options for G2-2022, the most dangerous for NAVI seems to be the one where ropz and m0nesy join the team. If they also change the leader in the game, they have to keep their team play for a long time. Basically, they have to Team to be made from scratch. ” Unlike Zews, he doesn’t seem to mind the language problem in Vitality, believing that “the basic elements of the team, the game leader and the sniper” remain the same and provide a good foundation for work.
At the moment the situation in Tier 1 CS is similar to a Formula 1 race
Oleksandr “petr1k” Petryk
“It looks like the main competitors for NAVI in 2022 will be themselves,” he concludes. “If the team manages to maintain their high level of individual play, motivation and tactical components and to develop their tactical components, their dominance will continue in 2022.” petr1k saysbefore ending with a racing analogy.
“At the moment the situation in Tier 1 CS is similar to a Formula 1 race where all the tires are worn out and you have to make a pit stop – while NAVI and Gambit continue. Yes, these two teams will be way ahead, but with” with with every further lap, their lead is slowly decreasing. “
Bleh: “G2 with m0nesy and XTQZZZ would be my wild choice”
Bleh focused on three lineups that could challenge Natus Vincere next year: one that exists, one that requires a single roster change, and one that is still only speculated about.
The first is the all-Russian side of Gambit, where Bleh sees continuous improvement. “It took them a while to adapt to the LAN environment, but they are slowly but surely becoming more comfortable. I don’t think they have enough firepower to consistently challenge NAVI, but I can imagine they will at least have one in the future Pose a problem. ” Months.”
How dangerous G2 will be depends on money, argues Blah
The team that in his opinion is a change in the squad from dangerous is the Danish powerhouse. “Among the new line-ups, if Astralis gets a real AWPer I think they can make NAVI bleed. Gla1ve is a practical AWPer, but only the insane would think that would be enough to make Astralis a new AWP my bet to possibly dethrone NaVi. “
G2 to launch XTQZZZ in talks with Aleksib – report
Given the problems Astralis faces in finding a Danish-speaking top AWPer, Bleh’s last pick might even be more realistic: “G2 with m0nesy and XTQZZZ would be my wild pick to challenge and even beat NAVI.”
“XTQZZZ has proven that he has a clear idea of how things should be and he will be instrumental in shaping this new version of G2. With NiKo at this level, supported by huNter- und IF m0nesy can transfer its capabilities to Tier 1 CS, this setup can be dangerous. I’m not that excited about Aleksib as an IGL when that happens, but even with Nexa it can work. “