NAVI star Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev has rejected the notion that his team have started their own era after winning PGL Major Stockholm.
NAVI and s1mple finally broke their Major duck earlier in November following a flawless run in Stockholm, further cementing their position as the best team in the world.
The CIS side have been at the top of HLTV’s world rankings since July 19 and won their last three international events, two of which held on LAN. In September, they also became only the third team in history to complete the $1 million Intel Grand Slam, joining Astralis and Liquid in achieving the feat.
But despite NAVI’s stranglehold on titles in 2021, s1mple believes that his team are still a long way from establishing their own era, pointing to Astralis’ success in 2018 and 2019 as the standard they need to be chasing.
“If you compare it to Astralis, we need to stay at the top for at least three, four, five months more to start a strong era like Astralis did,” NAVI told reporters at a media round table. “They won a lot of tournaments.
“We have been top 1 in the world for the last five months in HLTV’s ranking, but I want more. Five months is not a long period, if you compare it to Astralis.”
NAVI will have the chance to add to their trophy case this week as they will be attending the BLAST Premier Fall Final, where the Major losing finalists, G2 Esports, and Gambit are the most notable absentees.
Heroic captain Casper ‘cadiaN’ Møller recently told Dexerto that he believes his team to be the only one capable of beating NAVI, alluding to the recent history of close matches between the two teams.
S1mple, for his part, sees other teams above Heroic in the pecking order.
“It’s not true,” s1mple said when asked about cadiaN’s remarks. “We’ve had harder games against Vitality and G2 than Heroic.
“Their advantage is that they have a similar map pool [to ours]. Our strongest maps are their strongest maps as well. We have won 18 Nukes in a row and some of those games have been very close. Their Nuke is good as well, maybe that’s why they think this.
“In terms of individual skill, it’s much harder to play against Gambit. Or for example, Vitality.”
The CIS derby between NAVI and Gambit at the Major fell short of expectations as s1mple’s team ran out comfortable 2-0 winners, dropping only 11 rounds throughout the series.
It was such a resounding victory that it seemed like a match between two teams from different levels. However, s1mple still sees Gambit as NAVI’s biggest threat.
“I’d still say Gambit,” s1mple said when asked about NAVI’s main competitor. “They didn’t play their own game at the Major. We just played our best game and destroyed them mentally.
“If they get more experience in front of a crowd – they’re young – they’ll be even better. If they don’t change any players, that is. And NIP as well, I think they can play better. I expected them to be in the Major final, but they lost to G2 in the quarter-finals.”