A costly duo for the Ukrainian organization

UPDATE: Cybersport claims NAVI reportedly paid $1.35M for fragging duo, NAVI refutes

The Ukrainian org splashed the cash on their squad revamp.

Editor's Note: Natus Vincere CEO Yevhen Zolotarov told Dust2.us that the numbers reported by Cybersport in the article were at least "two times greater" than what was actually paid to Apeks and GamerLegion for Ivan "iM" Mihai and Justinas "jL" Lekavicius, especially with the latter having one month remaining on his contract.

One of the most interesting moves this offseason was Natus Vincere moving away from their Ukrainian-Russian roster into an international squad featuring two of the 2023 BLAST.tv Paris Major's best performers. The organization decided to place Denis "electroNic" Sharipov and Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy on the transfer list, with the former almost joining Evil Geniuses at one point. Both players were eventually acquired by Cloud9 for a reported sum of $2.0 million USD.

According to a report by META Cybersport, NAVI used a hefty amount of that sale in acquiring Ivan "iM" Mihai and Justinas "jL" Lekavicius. GamerLegion reportedly wanted close to $1.0 million USD for iM after his performance at the Major catapulted him to rockstar status. However, Natus Vincere was able to negotiate the price down to where the final cost was only $900,000.

As for jL, Apeks was able to successfully negotiate a $450,000 price for the star rifler. Apeks have had no trouble replacing jL, signing Aleksandar "CacaNito" Kjulukoski who was out of contract since leaving BlUEJAYS in February.

After publication of the article, Natus Vincere and Apeks informed Dust2.us that the Cybersport report was inaccurate in the amounts listed for each player. Apeks confirmed that jL's contract was set to expire within one month of the acquisition by Natus Vincere. Additionally, the reported amount for iM was significantly larger than it was in actuality.

The Cybersport report did not contain information regarding the sale of Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen, the former Ninjas in Pyjamas IGL who was at the helm for nine months at the Swedish organization. The IGL has a long history of representing several organizations, with his breakout happening while on ENCE in 2018. He would later join OG, then G2, before moving to NIP.

Natus Vincere are still in a transitionary period as they are moving from a Russian-speaking squad into an English-speaking team, thanks to the international additions. The team finished 4th-6th at the BLAST Premier Fall Groups and qualified for the Fall Finals. At IEM Cologne 2023 they finished in 7th-8th, being eliminated by Astralis.

The team's next appearance is Gamers8 in just over a week where they will be facing FURIA in an opening BO3 match. Following that, the team are set to play in ESL Pro League Season 18 over the month of September.

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#1(With 0 replies)
August 9, 2023 03:49PM
that doesn't make sense, thought the reason they got jL and iM was due to them being more inexpensive than other options
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