It looks like Natus Vincere just isn’t done yet with their last-minute roster shuffle, parting ways with their captain and position 5 support player, Akbar ‘SoNNeikO‘ Butaev.
Natus Vincere announced the departure themselves earlier today, along with a statement from their CEO Yevhen Zolotarev.
Because of SoNNeiko’s departure, Natus Vincere’s Dota 2 roster is currently one man short. However, in their announcement, the CIS organization did clarify that they are going to announce their fifth and final player on February 5. February 5 will also be the deadline for teams to register their final rosters. Afterwards, teams will no longer be able to change their players until after The International 8 in August.
Any team that plays with a different player or roster after the roster lock will incur significant point penalties, as explained here.
Who’s Going to Replace SoNNeiko?
This is the third time in three years that SoNNeiko has left Natus Vincere. Each time he’s left, he has always come back to don the black and yellow just a few months later. However, his latest departure seems like it came off of rather negative terms.
Now, the question is who’s going to replace him as team captain and as their position 5 support. Their latest addition, Ilya ‘Lil‘ Ilyuk, could take on the role, but that’s looking highly unlikely right now. Especially if we’re going to go by what Natus Vincere’s CEO said in his statement.
Having said that, some of the names that have come up in the hours after Natus Vincere’s announcement include the 27-year-old Nikola ‘LeBronDota‘ Popović; Ilya ‘ALOHADANCE‘ Korobkin, who most recently played with Vega Squadron, and gained prominence with Team Empire back in 2015; Mihal ‘Misha‘ Agatov, who last played with Spartak Esports.
Of those names, Misha stands out the most likely replacement; Natus Vincere have reportedly long coveted the 20-year-old position 5 support player. Either way, with February 5 only a few days away, we will definitely know who will replace SoNNeiko soon enough.
Where do you think SoNNeiko will end up playing? Who do you think Natus Vincere will pick to replace him as team captain? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.