Natus Vincere’s Egor “flamie” Vasilyev has announced free agency on Thursday, September 16, ending his six-year-long stint with the Ukrainian esports organization. The 24-year-old is said to remain with the organization’s academy team but is free to explore his options.
A Six-Year-Long journey
Flamie joined the prominent CIS esports organization in March 2015 as a replacement for Sergey “starix” Ischuk, who stepped down from NaVi’s active roster to take over as a coach. Flamie was at the time regarded as an up-and-coming rifler, and he didn’t need long to prove his worth.
During his stay with NaVi, flamie collected two MVP medals and two top 20 Players of the Year awards. Besides his individual accolades, flamie also helped NaVi win 14 notable LAN events and was a part of NaVi’s roster, which spent 27 weeks as the no.1 team in the world.
Unfortunately, flamie lost some time in NaVi’s active lineup in December 2020, when he got replaced by Valeriy “B1T” Vakhovskiy, who arrived from their academy team. The team rotated the two players depending on the map, eventually deciding to continue with B1T.
In April, Valve announced rule changes, which would punish teams who swap out players during Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournaments. This ushered in the decision for NaVi to bench flamie and announced B1T as their official fifth player.
With B1T on the team, NaVi reclaimed their spot as the best team in the world. They built on that success this month by claiming the coveted Intel Grand Slam, effectively proving that they no longer need flamie.
“We have made this decision based on the team’s successful results recently and the specifics of the RMR system, which effectively doesn’t allow a sixth player in the roster anymore,” said Aleksey “xaoc” Kucherov, COO of NaVi.
“Despite the fact that Egor is a NAVI veteran, he is young, motivated, experienced, and has a fantastic aim.”
Flamie Joins NaVi Academy Roster
Although Flamie is no longer with NaVi’s main CS:GO esports team, he will remain with the organization. As revealed by xaoc, flamie will join NaVi Junior, who he will help at the upcoming WePlay Academy League.
Although flamie got placed in NaVi Junior, this is only a temporary stop for the 24-year-old while he waits for another team to sign him. The decision was also made to give flamie a chance to regain his individual form and help with the development of the youngsters.
NaVi Junior attended the first season of the WePlay Academy League in August and finished in fifth place. They have made it to the finals of the Play-In stage, where they lost to Fnatic Rising, who denied them a spot in the main event.
Still, the team performed well and have made a name for themselves as serious contenders. Much of their success over the tournament was thanks to AWPer Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov, who averaged the league’s highest performance rating (1.64).
NaVi Junior will look to build on that success in the second iteration of WePlay Academy League. However, WePlay Esports has yet to announce the dates of the tournament, leaving flamie uncertain when he will get to return to action.
Flamie was last seen competing with a Russian stack, Bebra Esports, at the INSANE FASTCUP #1. Together with another CS:GO legend, Mikhail “Dosia” Stolyarov, and three relatively unknown Russian CS:GO pros, flamie reached the semi-finals, where Bebra Esports lost against Team Spirit.
INSANE FASTCUP #1 marked flamie’s first official CS:GO tournament since April 2021, when he attended ESL Pro League Season 13. NaVI finished that tournament in ninth-12th.
Shortly after, NaVI swapped flamie with B1T and have since not placed worse than fifth across six events.