In a somewhat surprising twist after a turbulent week of roster news, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev has announced in a statement on X that he will taking a step back from competition following the release of Counter-Strike 2 a month ago. Speculation had been rife after s1mple missed out on IEM Sydney, causing NAVI coach Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy to stand in and the team to place in 9th-12th place.
s1mple has widely been regarded as CS:GO’s greatest player, so his departure from the scene, albeit temporarily will have huge repercussions for the wider landscape. s1mple has been vocally critical of CS2 following its release, even going as far as not replying to Valve’s efforts to get his feedback on how to improve the game to a competitive standard.
The Ukrainian will remain under contract with NAVI, but mentioned he will be open to offers as both AWPer and Rifler, saying in his statement: “About switching to other org: never thought about it but would be interesting to see offers, maybe on rifle since awp a bit not impactful in new game. While nothing decided yet I hope you still gonna cheer for boys in upcoming tournaments.”
maybe on rifle since awp a bit not impactful in new game.
He then followed up a short while after, announcing his own project: “While on break, I’ll be also working on my own CS2 related project. To soon to announce, but keep in touch”. It remains to be seen what this project will be, whether it is a new team or something else.
Per a report from HLTV, NAVI are targeting Sprout’s AWPer, Ihor “w0nderful” Zhdanov, to replace s1mple. w0nderful has posted up a HLTV 2.0 rating of 1.3 over the past 3 months whilst playing for Sprout, so whilst the subjective GOAT of Global Offensive is irreplacable, w0nderful will have a good chance of keeping Navi afloat whilst s1mple is on the bench.