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Credit: Valve | Dota 2

TI1 Champions: NAVI – Where are they now?


The International Dota 2 Championships 2011 will forever hold a special place in our hearts because not only was it the debut of a $1,600,000 tournament, but also the evolution of DotA – a game that was heavily neglected by Blizzard for years.

Valve Corporation saw the opportunity and took it upon themselves to develop the popular Warcraft3 mod and turn it into the esports behemoth it is today.

TI1 was officially unveiled at Gamescom 2011 in Cologne, Germany in a tiny space allocated at the venue hosting teams across the globe including Europe, China, North America, Southeast Asia, and more.

Against all odds, NAVI etched their names in the history books by winning the first ever The International 2011, and fetched a whopping $1,000,000 in prize money – the highest ever in the history of esports.

But where are the TI1 winning players now? Let’s find out!

Arstyle

Image Source: ESL ONE Frankfurt

The first ever captain to win The International, Ivan “Artstyle” Antonov, heralded NAVI to their only TI victory.

Widely regarded as one of, if not the best, minds during that time, Artstyle led the Ukrainian team to victory with the unique early game “push” meta as opposed to China’s traditional late game.

Artstyle left NAVI shortly after TI1 owing to a dispute with the management, and went on to play for Darer, Team Eclypsia and other less prominent teams, only to return to NAVI in 2015 and play until 2017.

He decided to finally hang his boots as a pro player and turned to coaching. Since 2017, he has coached various teams such as Virtus.Pro, Winstrike, PuckChamp, and now is currently back at NAVI as their head coach.

Dendi

Image Source: B8 Esports

The face of Dota and arguably the most famous player to grace the scene is an apt way to describe Dendi.

The charismatic mid player was an integral part of NAVI for 9 years and stuck through good and troubled times with the organisation.

He left NAVI towards the tail end of 2019, and briefly played for Tigers in SEA before forming his own organisation – B8 in January 2020.

Despite struggling, Dendi is still trying to make an impact and compete at the highest level.

XBOCT

Image Source: NAVI

The flamboyant carry made a big name for himself with his incredible and innate plays throughout his time at NAVI, and has been instrumental in delighting the Dota fans with a lot of vague but exciting plays.

One of the most expressive guys to have ever graced the scene, XBOCT always wore his heart on his sleeves.

After winning TI1 and finishing as runner-up at TI2 and TI3, he slowly started to fade into obscurity.

Since then, he has coached NAVI and now is a staple at prominent tournaments including The Internationals, Majors, and others as a Russian talent/analyst.

Puppey

Image Source: Valve

The G.O.A.T is the perfect way to sum up the humongous Puppey .. literally! He started his DotA career back in 2007 and featured in prominent team iterations since then.

Winning TI1 with NAVI and finishing second place at TI2 and TI3, Puppey went on to form his own organisation – Team Secret.

Ever since Secret’s formation in 2014, Puppey has seen plenty of ups and downs, and has won numerous tournaments including Majors and other tier 1 events.

Team Secret’s biggest achievement till date came at TI10 wherein they placed third. With the new DPC year already started, Puppey is looking to capture the elusive Aegis of the Immortal once again.

LightOfHeaven

Image Source: Starladder

LOH aka The Robot, was an integral part in NAVI’s quest on becoming the lone crusader against the siege of Chinese teams who were long thought to be superior at DotA and at TI1.

His plays by the book with impeccable precision and superior prowess made him into a fearsome opponent and rightfully so won TI1 in the process.

Throughout his career, LOH has given us memorable moments to cherish but unlike his allies, he understood that his time as a professional player was up and hung his boots in 2015.

Ever since then, he has been a consistent face as a broadcast talent and analyst across different tiers of events, including TI’s.