CSGO star s1mple slams Virtus.pro after shock RMR player swap


NAVI superstar Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev has lashed out at Virtus.pro following their decision to change a player in the middle of the European RMR.

Heading into Saturday’s crucial match against MOUZ in the European RMR, and with their qualification hopes hanging by a thread, Virtus.pro shockingly replaced Aleksandr ‘⁠KaiR0N-⁠’ Anashkin with benched player David ‘⁠n0rb3r7’ Danielyan.

The announcement came as a shock in the CS:GO scene, not least because KaiR0N- had been brought in just three months earlier. The team had decided to move on from ⁠n0rb3r7 despite their recent victory at the IEM Rio Major while playing as Outsiders.

Article continues after ad
Michal Konkol/BLAST
KaiR0N-‘s Virtus.pro future in doubt after RMR swap

In announcing ⁠n0rb3r7’s return for the elimination match, Virtus.pro CEO Nikolai Petrossian suggested that KaiR0N, 19, had struggled to cope with the pressure. “Young players do not immediately adapt to the pressure of LAN events, especially important ones like RMR,” the CEO said.

With ⁠n0rb3r7 back into the fold, Virtus.pro lost to MOUZ 2-0. This means that the team will not defend their Major title in Paris, with questions hanging over KaiR0N’s head before the 2023 edition of IEM Rio, which will start in a week.

Article continues after ad

s1mple slams Virtus.pro over shock swap

Shortly after the RMR was over, s1mple, whose NAVI team qualified for the BLAST Paris Major with a perfect 3-0 record, posted a series of voice messages to his Telegram channel talking about various topics.

In some of those voice messages, he openly criticized Virtus.pro for replacing KaiR0N- mid-tournament and laying the blame on the player.

“I think they acted like pieces of sh*t,” s1mple said. “To change a player before an elimination match in a qualifier for a Major, pick up a sub, buy him tickets and still f*** up.

Article continues after ad

“First, they made up excuses about documents [visa] and then said that he was nervous. Yesterday we talked. We were standing with [NAVI Head of Esports] Amiran in the smoking area. ⁠KaiR0N- came over and we asked if he was nervous or something. He said, ‘Nah. The team decided so. What can I do?’ And I’m thinking, ‘What a great team you have.’”

KaiR0N- is regarded as one of Russia’s most exciting young players. This is his first tier-one challenge after he played for teams like EC Brugge, Spirit Academy and Aurora earlier in his career.

Article continues after ad

In a recent interview with HLTV.org while at IEM Katowice 2023, KaiR0N- had claimed that his settling-in process was going well. “I knew that it was not going to be as hard as people think,” he said.

After this, though, it remains unclear if he will play for Virtus.pro again. In a Vlog recorded before the elimination match, team captain Dzhami ‘⁠Jame’ Ali said that he felt the roster change at the start of the year was “a mistake”.

Article continues after ad

“To sign a contract with Outsiders you should do it for a maximum of a year,” s1mple said. “Otherwise, this org, if you can call it that, will eat you. Such an attitude towards the players is unacceptable. How can you sign a deal with Satan?

“After we spoke to him, I thought, ‘This guy is actually capable of something, and they treat him like this.’ I can’t recall such bullsh*t happening in the history of CS:GO, of 19 Majors, that such a sh*tshow happens in a qualifier. Well-deserved f***up on the part of the organization, which doesn’t give a sh*t.”

Article continues after ad