Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev has joined Natus Vincere, replacing Daniil "Zeus" Teslenko, who remains on contract with Na`Vi but has been taken off the active roster.
s1mple comes into the team after a short, yet storied, career as part of Team Liquid. The player joined the North American squad on Jan. 2, leaving his home in Ukraine, and his stay was marred by a fair amount of drama, but more importantly, a lack of results.
Things changed at MLG Major Championship: Columbus, as the team miraculously topped their group there, over the likes of Fnatic and FaZe Clan, and defeated Counter Logic Gaming to make it to the semifinals, where they were defeated by the eventual champions, the former Luminosity Gaming squad. This was the first time a North American team was in the Top 4 of a CS:GO Major since the very first Major at DreamHack Winter 2013, almost three years ago.
s1mple and Liquid’s achievement at the Major was followed by another string of poor performances and when the player went back to Ukraine to renew his visa, he decided to stay, effectively removing himself from Liquid’s starting roster, citing homesickness.
Liquid did not find much success in the month after s1mple’s departure and decided to drop their off-and-on player Eric "adreN" Hoag, to play with s1mple at ESL One Cologne 2016. They finished in second place, eliminating Na`Vi and Fnatic during the playoffs, but lost to SK Gaming in the Grand Finals.
Arguably the more significant story in this roster shuffle is Zeus’ removal from Na`Vi’s primary roster. His career with the team spanned both CS 1.6 and CS:GO, taking numerous international competitions in both games. Zeus joined the organization in December 2009 and his benching effectively ends a nearly seven year span on the primary roster.
Though Na`Vi have been considered one of the strongest and most consistent teams in CS:GO for a long time now, a Major championship has always eluded them. They finished second at the DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca 2015 Major and the Columbus Major, but according to a statement from the team’s manager Eugene "ugin" Erofeev, these losses hurt the most.
“The loss in the final can affect the morale a lot harder than when you fail to advance out of the group,” ugin said in Na`Vi’s press release. “I am not saying that Daniil is the reason why it all happened, of course not. Here everyone played his part — we were winning and losing together, after all.
“Perhaps, we could go without this change, but in the world where the competition is so tough we have to be ready to undertake such measures. And it is normal, because eSports becomes more professional.”
What’s currently unknown is how the team’s setup will be affected by s1mple’s inclusion, namely, who will be the team’s primary AWPer. s1mple took up rifling remarkably on Liquid’s lineup, but the player often expressed his preference for the AWP.
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
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