‘World of Tanks’ Grand Finals 2016: eSports Event in Warsaw Dominated by Team Navi, Ukraine Team Wins $150,000

The latest eSports championship for World of Tanks has just finished, and they have crowned their 2016 champion: Team Navi from Ukraine.

Hosted by Wargaming, the 2016 World of Tanks championship took place in Warsaw, Poland, this weekend. After the candidates battle through Season 2, 12 teams got to the finals, where they fought their way through getting their share of a $300,000 prize pool. The event was streamed live on Twitch.tv.

The quarterfinals happened on Sunday, April 9. With the event getting international hype, the 2016 World of Tanks eSports championship actually held an open audience for 8,000 people, compared to the 700-seat audience they had before, according to Fortune.

“Poland has fantastic fans that are very knowledgeable about the game,” says Oscar Miranda, head of eSports at Wargaming North America. “They really get behind the gameplay, cheering when a tank gets destroyed and even when a tactic develops and forces engagement. Poland also offers solid infrastructure, making us feel like we’re in the West while maintaining all the charm of the East.”

Though World of Tanks is not as big as Valve’s Dota 2 or Riot Games’ League of Legends, the PC game is gaining its market share in the gaming industry with over 145 million active eSports players.

The championship came down to two teams with seven players who were commandeering the World War II tanks for battle. The 10-minute matches were quite intense. Team Navi was going head-to-head with Team Hellraisers.

At the end of the day, Team Navi was able to win and Team Hellraisers took the second spot. Team Navi won $150,000, while Team Hellraisers won $75,000. Third-placer Team Wombats also got a prize of $35,000.

The fight was quite memorable for Team Navi, since they battled with the other teams last year. In the 2015 World of Tanks championship, Team Navi took home third place, while Team Hellraisers won first place.

Last year’s grandfinals peaked at 150,000 live viewers. Because of the growing success for World of Tanks, the championship event attracted big names for sponsorships like SanDisc, Razer and PayPal.

Team Navi: Natus Vincere

The Team Navi, short of Natus Vincere, has been professional World of Tanks players since 2012. They have won multiple competitions and have gotten different championships from all over the U.S., U.K., and even in Asia.

“We come to every tournament with only one goal to win. This year the tournament format has changed. We cannot make mistakes. We would like to repeat the last year’s success; we would like to be number one again in Warsaw.”

The team is composed of Maxim Mazein, who is 32-years-old from Russia; Dmitry Frishman, 20-year-old from Ukraine; Kirill Ponomarev from Russia; Oleg Romanenkov, 25-year-old from Russia; Dmitry Palaschenko from Russia; Anatoliy Barakov, 18-year-old from Russia; and Andrei Les from Ukraine.

The team developed when they started their first tournament back in 2011. Dmitry Repin said that he used to be a substitute player and now he’s the team captain. He currently manages the entire team.

The team advises gaming aspirants to “train a lot.”

“You really have to spend plenty of time training. Also you have to work to on self-development to become a multifaceted person. World of Tanks is unique for its easy-to-learn and easy-to-play gameplay. Also it really gives me comfort when I know that I control a really heavy machinery.”

As for their eSports pro goals, they said that the really wanted to compete with “the strongest players around the world.”

“It really motivates me to train and to get the best results.”

[Photo via Wargaming.net/YouTube]