NaVi Hearthstone Ostkaka

Image by Patrick Strack via Blizzard (CC-BY)

Its four players—including current world champion Ostkaka—are now free agents.

Four of Hearthstone’s top players are looking for a new home after European organization Natus Vincere (Na`Vi) suspended its operations in the esport today.

Na`Vi has been in the Hearthstone scene for almost a year now, picking up Sebastian “Ostkaka” Engwall, Sebastian “Xixo” Bentert, and Frederik “Hoej” Nielsen on Sept. 18 and expanding on Jan. 21 with Kim “Surrender” Jung-soo. The organization is one of the biggest in the European region, and its Hearthstone department was top-tier, with Ostkaka winning the Hearthstone World Championship just months after being signed, Hoej placing in the top 3 at DreamHack Winter last year, and Xixo taking out first at the StarLadder i-League StarSeries season two in July.

“Despite the success of Hearthstone division Natus Vincere G2A decided not to prolong the contracts with the players and focus on other divisions instead,” a statement from the organization read. “The decision was really hard, as nobody wants to part with the world’s best squad, however, sometimes you need to sacrifice the best to keep moving.”

Na`Vi’s esports director Eugene “HarisPilton” Zolotarev expanded on the decision, saying that the organization wants to focus its resources and efforts on “the top disciplines” and on the region of its main fan base—the countries making up the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The players are still under contract until the end of September, with HarisPilton saying that Na`Vi will help them find new organizations. All four players are hoping to continue playing competitively. Although it appears that none have yet signed, some have already entered talks with new teams.

“It was an amazing year with Na`Vi, a great experience, and we were always treated well,” Ostkaka tells Dot Esports. “I think a few things didn’t line up perfectly with what they wanted though—the game’s development as an esport, and split fanbase with the org mainly in the CIS region. I’m still planning on playing Hearthstone full time, and streaming too.”

Xixo and Hoej will represent Na`Vi for the final time at DreamHack Bucharest from Sept. 16-18.

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