There is one player in the world of Counter Strike that most neutral fans have found themselves rooting for and that is Oleksandr Olegovich Kostyliev or “S1mple”.
S1mple has already had a storied journey through the CS:GO pro scene but one thing is now uncontested, he is the best player in the world.
Some would argue that this has been the fact for some time now, since S1mple first broke into the scene with Lane Dodgers and Hellraisers. However, it was when first arrived at a major organization in Team Liquid that more people began to take notice of the young CS:GO prodigy.
His time at Team Liquid was fraught with issues though, as S1mple could never establish any real confidence or momentum with the team. This was down to a number of different factors but the two Major defeats in the semifinals and finals were certainly significant contributing elements. This is where the mumurring of a curse on S1mple started to take shape as the young prodigy, the best in the world, could seemingly not get a Major trophy under his belt.
With the semi final loss at MLG Columbus and ESL One Cologne still fresh in the memory it was time for S1mple to search for a new challenge. He needed to join a team where the squad could be built around him and he was given that opportunity by Natus Vincere. S1mple was now close to family and friends once more but his time away at Liquid only served to make him the player that he is today. With the NaVi squad now filled out, there was hope that S1mple could lead the organization to multiple title wins.
The first of these wins came at Starladder in 2019, which was S1mple’s first trophy in 2 years. While the joy of winning Starladder was certainly special, S1mple still needed to find that elusive first Major win.
There was real hype around S1mple and his NaVi roster and most were tipping the squad to pick up a Major win in 2020. However, the world was hit by the pandemic and S1mple would have to wait a little longer before the curse could be broken. The time would finally come in 2021 at the Stockholm Major. The Uncrowned King would be uncrowned no more, as NaVi took a clean sweep victory in the final over G2 Esports. Finally, the curse was broken and S1imple has taken his rightful place in the history books.
With this first Major win, will the floodgates open and now allow for S1mple to dominate the scene as he arguably already should have done? Time will tell but we can say for sure that we are tipping NaVi to take the tournament on their calendar. The next tournament viewers and punters can see S1mple at will be the Blast Premier Fall Final. NaVi are tipped as favorites at odds of 1.9 but they have a tough first match against BIG. While NaVi are correctly tipped as favorites, we quite fancy Team Vitality as an outside chance to win the whole tournament. With odds of 7.5, it may well prove to be a shrewd bet.