Natus Vincere is the latest esports outfit to decide this wizard poker thing is probably going to stick around, and form its own professional team. Na’Vi’s initial roster is made up of three players—Xixo, Hoej and Ostkaka—who had been free agents (see below). All three will be familiar to fans of the competitive Hearthstone scene, and feel like strong pickups from Na'Vi. Though it’s fair to say each player probably has something to prove in order to kick on to the next level.
“The players are extremely motivated”, said team manager Pavel "Koldyn" Skripko, “and this means that all the rest depends on luck. Support us and wish us as much luck as possible". Mentioning luck twice in a single quote suggests that Koldyn is well aware of how capricious Hearthstone can be at the top level.
Na’Vi join Cloud9, Team Liquid, and (to a lesser degree), Team Solo Mid, which only has Trump in terms of tournament players, as esports organisations better known for competing in other games who are now taking Hearthstone seriously.
The newly formed team will also need to pit their skills (and Pilotted Shredder rolls) against organisations whose main focus is Hearthstone, like Reynad’s Tempo Storm, Amaz’s Team Archon, and the Lifecoach-led Nihilum, which won the ATLC last weekend. You can see six of the most exciting games from that tournament right here.
SEBASTIAN 'XIXO' BENTERT
Probably best known for racing to legend overnight at the start of each season, and holding #1 legend on the NA, EU and Asia servers at once, Xixo was recently released by Team Archon after the team’s ATLC exit. (It’s not clear what caused the split, but here’s his statement and the team’s one.) Xixo is also notable for pioneering the use of Sea Giant in Zoo and annoying Reynad in their ‘grudge match’ (opens in new tab).
FREDERIK 'HOEJ' NIELSEN
Hoej’s breakout performance came at the Viagame House Cup 2 in March this year, which he won having come through the open qualifiers, beating well known invited players like Firebat and Thijs along the way. A virtual unknown at the time, since then he’s remained a free agent though GosuGamers’ sources suggest not for a lack of offers.
SEBASTIAN 'OSTKAKA' ENGWALL
Perhaps the least familiar of the three players, but a well known to other pros and arguably the most exciting of the signings. Ostkaka is very much seen as one to watch, and is a proficient ladder warrior, finishing #4 on the NA server last season. Yet to have his breakout tournament performance, but did finish 2nd behind Team Archon’s Orange at the Seat Story III cup.