Natus Vincere have announced that CS:GO captain Kirill ‘Boombl4’ Mikhailov will not take part in the first group stage gmes of ESL Pro League Season 15.
The Russian in-game leader returned a positive test ahead of the trip to Düsseldorf and will miss the team’s first games. Replacing him will be academy player Daniil ‘headtr1ck’ Valitov, who has been spotted practising with the team ahead of their March 30 match against AGO.
Boombl4’s absence will come as a blow to NAVI, who have been placed in a tricky ESL Pro League group that also includes Heroic, Astralis, Complexity, Evil Geniuses, and AGO.
NAVI are looking to use this tournament as a show of unity amid the war between Ukraine and Russia. After IEM Katowice, the team’s members went in different directions, with the Ukrainians remaining in Poland, while the Russians went back home.
In a March 28 interview with the Washington Post, NAVI CEO Yevhen Zolotarov made it clear that the organization will not work “with people who live in Russia and who pay taxes to the Russian Federation.”
— NAVI (@natusvincere) March 29, 2022
Boombl4 and Denis ‘electronic’ Sharipov, NAVI CS:GO’s Russian players, have not announced whether they plan to relocate to another country.
In NAVI’s latest VLOG, posted on March 29, Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev said that he remains hopeful the war will not lead to roster changes. “I don’t know, it’s a difficult situation,” he said. “But I think there won’t be. I guess it’ll be okay. I hope so.”