NAVI signs 14-year-old Dota 2 prodigy

cover art featuring the logo of NAVI JuniorNAVI Junior

Ukrainian esports organization NAVI have announced the signing of a 14-year-old Dota 2 prodigy, who will be playing for their academy squad, NAVI Junior. Here’s everything you need to know about this player.

NAVI have unveiled 14-year-old mid laner Artem ‘Niku’ Bachkur as the newest member of their academy team, called NAVI Junior. Formed in August 2022, the Dota 2 roster has participated in two TI qualifiers and even played in the second division of the Eastern European DPC league.

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Niku will be stepping into the shoes of Askar ‘toshiyb’ Zhumagulov, who leaves the team just one month after joining the team for the TI qualifiers.

NAVI Junior signs 14-year-old midlane Dota 2 prodigy

Niku will be the youngest player on the NAVI Junior roster, where everyone else is either 17 or 18 years old. With the season already over for the team, the roster will have quite a bit of time before it starts facing off against the powerhouses of the Dota 2 competitive scene.

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cover art featuring NAVI Junior's Dota 2 coach, Artstyle.NAVI
NAVI Junior can make a remarkable performance in the upcoming season with Artstyle as the coach.

According to NAVI, Niku’s best heroes include Invoker, Puck, and Ember Spirit — three picks that are commonplace among aggressive and mechanically gifted mid laners in the Dota 2 scene.

Niku is currently ranked extremely close to the top 100 on the European Leaderboard, an incredible achievement for someone who is only 14 years old, especially considering that pro players from all over the world are currently playing on the European servers because of DreamLeague Season 21.

It remains to be seen how Niku will perform in a team environment, but NAVI have a proven track record for unearthing talent and developing esports players, with Ilya ‘m0NESY’ Osipov, Valerij ‘b1t’ Vakhovsjkyj, and Danyyl ‘headtr1ck’ Valitov some of the CS:GO players who came through NAVI’s academy ranks.

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