Since the MLG Major Championship: Columbus, where Natus Vincere lost in the Grand Final to Luminosity Gaming (now SK Gaming), Na’Vi’s results were steadily getting worse. They lost to Team Liquid in the Quarter-finals of ESL One Cologne and to their nemesis, Fnatic, in ELEAGUE Playoffs. It’s been obvious for some time that something needs to change if Na’Vi want to compete for trophies once again.
On the other side of the equation, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev was signed to Team Liquid in the beginning of 2016. Playing for the North American organisation, he had some difficulties trusting his teammates and dealing with homesickness. While his skill as a player was never in question, s1mple’s personality and suitability in a team environment was. The story seemingly ended with s1mple going back to Ukraine, refusing to play for Liquid. Jumping forwards in time, ECS Season 1 Playoffs and ESL One Cologne were coming up and Liquid needed some firepower. They convinced s1mple to represent them for these two tournaments. What happened next is legendary. Team Liquid, with s1mple in the front lines, became the first North American team to compete in the Grand Final of a Major tournament. And yet, despite the team’s success, s1mple was not going to stay.
What happens when the best Ukrainian CS:GO team needs some new blood to continue competing at the highest level and the best Ukrainian CS:GO player in the world needs a new team to compete for? The whole corner of the Internet where CS:GO is ze sheet goes abuzz with rumors of the two coming together, joining forces and seeing what happens.
As it turns out, the rumours were correct. Both Team Liquid and Natus Vincere announced yesterday that Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, one of the best players in the world, is joining their lineup. When one player comes in, however, someone needs to back out to make room. While most players on Na’Vi aren’t performing up to their highest potential, witnessed at various points in their careers, Na’Vi’s former IGL, Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko is probably the weakest link on the team. His lack of ingame impact could be explained by pointing at his IGL duties in the past, however he only had to shoot enemies for a while now, yet his performance still dragged behind. As you might have gathered, Zeus is getting replaced by s1mple. He’s not being released from Na’Vi, however. Instead, he’s just going inactive. This is probably a good way for the organization to have a backup plan in case s1mple’s personality doesn’t work with the rest of the team and they believe the weaker firepower with Zeus on the roster to be better than the turmoil s1mple can create once he’s not happy about something.