The GOAT is GONE
Famed Counter-Strike team Natus Vincere has made one of the biggest roster moves in the game’s recent history, signing Ihor “w0nderful” to replace the departing Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.
s1mple has established himself as the unquestioned best player in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but the Ukrainian star’s move to Counter-Strike 2 hasn’t been a smooth one. After his announcement that he’d be stepping back from competitive play, NAVI was left looking for a replacement. Now, they’ve found it.
Why is s1mple not playing with NAVI?
s1mple went public on October 26 with his plan to step away from competitive Counter-Strike with NAVI, instead choosing to pursue personal matters. While s1mple did not go into great detail on the nature of these matters, he did offer a few clues.
s1mple referred to “documents” that needed fixing, as well as the desire to take care of “other people” in his life. Exactly who and what the CSGO star was referring to is not specified, as it seems he plans on keeping some details of the decision private.
The NAVI player also mentioned that he’d be working on a project related to CS2 while he is away from competition. That comes as a bit of a surprise to some fans given s1mple’s very public criticism of the Valve’s new tactical shooter.
s1mple has been perhaps the most vocal out of all pro players in expressing his dissatisfaction with the release of Counter-Strike 2 and its outright replacement of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. This feeling led s1mple to seemingly refuse to even play the game at times. It was been widely circulated that developer Valve went so far as to reach out personally to s1mple to discuss his thoughts on the game, only for the Ukrainian icon to decline.
Who is new NAVI player w0nderful?
w0nderful is the chosen replacement for outgoing NAVI star player s1mple. These are big shoes to fill, but there is some hope that w0nderful might be able to do the job.
w0nderful is an 18-year-old sniper who most recently played for pro team Sprout. Demonstrating deadly expertise with the AWP, the young addition to the team should slot directly into the role left open by s1mple stepping away from competitive play.
w0nderful, who is also from Ukraine, noted that playing for Natus Vincere was his “biggest dream” as a Counter-Strike player. He may have imagined the move coming under different circumstances, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be looking to take advantage of his new opportunity all the same.
Will s1mple return to CS2?
It’s likely that s1mple will eventually return to competitive play in CS2. This is despite his objections to the state of the game and his apparent desire to take a break.
The sniper is already making clear that he’s looking to return to play once his personal affairs are in order. He has spoken about potentially swapping roles when he does come back to CS2, moving away from the AWPer role he has for so long taken on and instead playing primarily as a rifler.
However he decides to play when he returns, s1mple may be able to dictate his terms. His greatness in Counter-Strike is unmatched, and few teams would be able to turn down the opportunity to sign such a player no matter his demands.
Whether s1mple returns to NAVI specifically is unknown. He did say that he was interested in seeing “offers” upon his eventual return, hinting that he may be looking to compete for another team that is willing to make him the right contractual offer.