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Published: October 27, 2023

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • The Ukrainian player said he needs to take a break to “fix documents and take care of other people in my life”
  • He is one of the best players in the world and has spent more than seven years in Natus Vincere
  • He has not revealed any potential return date but suggested he’s open to trying other roles

In the wake of Natus Vincere’s elimination from IEM Sydney, Oleksandr “⁠s1mple⁠” Kostyliev announced he will be taking a break from competitive Counter-Strike.

S1mple Takes a Break

Oleksandr “⁠s1mple⁠” Kostyliev is by far one of the most popular professional Counter-Strike players in the world and is one of the members of the equally famous and strong Natus Vincere. This is why it came as a surprise to many when the 26-year-old Ukrainian pro announced that he will be taking a break from the competitive scene.

S1mple went onto Twitter to explain his reason for this decision is the fact he needs to “fix documents and take care of other people in my life”. He also said it would be interesting to see offers from other teams and even suggested he would be fine with trying another role, such as a rifler.

The player’s break marks the end of a seven-year run on NaVi’s active roster. During this time, s1mple won 17 notable trophies including the PGL Major Stockholm 2021, and also got an Intel Grand Slam among his achievements as well as a plethora of individual accolades.

What Else Influenced S1mple’s Decision?

It should perhaps not be too surprising that the superstar CS player decided to take a break as he has already been going strong for years, which could lead to burnout. Additionally, s1mple saw his personal form dip as 2023 came around, although he still sits in the top 20 on LAN this year.

The player’s announcement comes in the wake of NaVi’s elimination from IEM Sydney at the hands of FaZe, so perhaps this was the final sign the player had to decide to rest, even though he missed the event due to visa issues. NaVi’s elimination happened even though the team went for quite a substantial rebuild in the summer of 2023.

The Ukrainian organization brought aboard new IGL Aleksi “⁠Aleksib⁠” Virolainen alongside Justinas “⁠jL⁠” Lekavicius and Mihai “⁠iM⁠” Ivan, becoming an international roster communicating in English. The team finished second in ESL Pro League, suggesting they were on the right track, but their relatively early elimination from IEM Sydney may be evidence of the contrary.

He has also been a vocal critic of Counter-Strike, calling it “shit” and advising aspiring pro players to wait three months whilst the game was updated and the initial teething issues being ironed out.

It is rumored that NaVi would bring Ihor “⁠w0nderful⁠” Zhdanov from Sprout to replace s1mple, but none of this has been confirmed at the time of writing of this article. If the here-says turn out to be true, then NaVi’s roster would look like this:

  • Aleksi “⁠Aleksib⁠” Virolainen
  • Mihai “⁠iM⁠” Ivan
  • Valeriy “⁠b1t⁠” Vakhovskiy
  • Justinas “⁠jL⁠” Lekavicius
  • Ihor “⁠w0nderful⁠” Zhdanov
  • Andrey “⁠B1ad3⁠” Gorodenskiy (coach)
  • Oleksandr “⁠s1mple⁠” Kostyliev (benched)
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