In the most recent episode of ‘Pop Flash’, hosts Richard Lewis and Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields explained how the only team currently capable of taking down NAVI is NAVI themselves.
It’s been a red-letter year for Natus Vincere.
In the latest episode of ‘Pop Flash’, the Dexerto-produced show covering all things Counter-strike, Richard Lewis, Thorin and co-host Auguste ‘Semmler’ Massonnat previewed the 2021 BLAST Premier World Final.
The trio quickly got round to the discussion of the tournament favorites – and all three unanimously agreed that NAVI are the team to beat.
The event, which will take place from December 14-19, will be NAVI’s final chance to cap off a year of incredible success. The roster has gone from strength to strength throughout 2021, becoming the first team in CS:GO history to win a Major without dropping a map at PGL Stockholm and, more recently, smashing Astralis’ record for most prize money won in a calendar year.
No breaks for NAVI
Lewis explained that, in his opinion, NAVI have reached a point where their only real opponent is their own mentality and work ethic. “The only way I can see this lineup not dominating all of 2022”, he explained, “is if they do something stupid like take a month-long break.”
The nature of breaks in Counter-Strike has been a hotly-discussed issue throughout its lengthy history. The international calendar for Counter-Strike is undoubtedly one of the busiest in esports. It offers very little time for players to take any kind of extended break.
Lewis explained that taking breaks can often be at a detriment to a roster’s performance, citing Team Liquid’s 2019 Intel Grand Slam victory as the result of consistent tournament attendance. “Once you take that long break, it can really seriously affect you- you might never get back to that equilibrium that you’re in when you’re at your best.”
NAVI took a break after the BLAST Fall Final, with coach Andrey ‘B1ad3’ Gorodenskiy highlighting the need for players to reset for “7 to 10 days” because of the system in place. But does that mean that there will be some rust to sand off?
“NAVI are hot favorites to win this,” Richard Lewis said. “Personally, if I were BLAST, I’d save money and cut them the cheque.
“But maybe a two-week break is enough to disrupt their flow. I don’t think it will be, but anything is possible.”
NAVI’s only real opponents are themselves
The ‘Pop Flash’ trio were quick to predict a finals spot for NAVI, and Thorin went on to explain that these matches are the only time the team look like they can lose- but not for the reasons you might expect.
“The only matches that actually look close are when NAVI is in the final, and they’re essentially playing themselves,” argued Thorin. “In these finals, the nerves and the pressure start to creep in for NAVI. They’ve been so incredibly dominant in 2021 that this nervousness is the closest we’ve seen to a real opponent for the team.”
- NAVI 1.089 to Liquid 6.589
- Gambit 1.457 to Heroic 2.603
- G2 1.456 to NIP 2.609
- Vitality 1.522 to Astralis 2.421
NAVI will begin their BLAST Premier World Final campaign against Team Liquid, a “dead team” that will undergo multiple roster changes at the end of the year. Be sure to catch up on all the results of the BLAST event with our official hub.
Odds correct at the time of writing.