Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev has weighed in on his oft-dubbed title of the “best CSGO player,” and where he stands compared to Mathieu ‘ZywOo’ Herbaut, after a 2–0 win sealed Natus Vincere’s BLAST Premier Spring Group B victory.
Na’Vi’s veteran rifler, and the rest of the European squad, climbed past Complexity in the Group B final to clinch a spot in Blast’s new-look 2020 Spring Finals, winning out in a stacked bracket alongside Astralis and Team Vitality.
It was an unlikely victory—not over Complexity specifically, but against the full bracket—though s1mple and his team managed to defy the odds in a lower bracket run, edging past Astralis 2–1 before reversing the script to defeat ZywOo’s Vitality 2–0.
The triumph in London re-sparked discussions surrounding the Ukrainian’s place atop the totem pole of Counter-Strike, especially after he managed to break past his French rival at the tournament. Many suggested Na’Vi were “back.”
According to s1mple, who joined the analyst desk at 3 Mills Studio post-victory, the title, and his endless duel for supremacy with Zyw0o has added a great deal of pressure to his game, but it’s not something he’s shying away from.
“I mean, I think people [saying that] gives me extra pressure from it, you know,” he said when asked how he felt about the title, but added he agrees with it. “No, I don’t think ZywOo is better than me, individually at least, no. No one is better, 100%.”
The Ukrainian certainly holds a decent level of respect for the 19-year-old superstar who has risen to challenge his throne. Considering what he’s already achieved in his 14-month stint with Vitality, there can be no questioning him.
“Achievements-wise, I agree with what they say about ZywOo, and with all the results that they have,” he said. “That said, we’re back now. Now it’s all about Na’Vi getting better form, so we can beat them 16–3, or even better maybe.”
— BLAST Premier (@BLASTPremier) February 9, 2020
While the s1mple vs ZywOo battle may be re-sparked at the IEM World Championship in Katowice later this month, the Ukrainian admitted his team is trying to “focus on being the best” rather than becoming embroiled in any ongoing personal contests outside the server.
“I think we can be the best team in the world, when we were asked if it was the best roster, I think yes… with this roster, you have a brighter future, with this roster, and the individual skill we have, we can beat any team,” s1mple said.
“We have each other’s backs. You know when your teammate is going to be covering each other, when you have no flash he’s there for you, and opposite. It’s a really good feeling. Old roster was on individuals, now we have great structure.”
Just as Kostyliev suggested ten months ago when Andrey ’B1ad3’ Gorodenskiy first joined Na’Vi as the team’s esports director, he believes the behind-the-scenes analyst and coach is one of the major reasons behind the CIS team’s revival.
“B1ad3 is a big reason for us [succeeding], yeah,” he said, and admitted it was “satisfying” to relink with the Counter-Strike helmsman after s1mple’s notoriously messy exit from FlipSid3 Tactics saw the pair split back in 2015.
“I was waiting for this moment for such a long time, we always had problems before majors, and now I understand that we have one of the youngest rosters so it’s all about building. We will get results, soon, or eventually. We will get them.”
For mobile readers, the related segment begins at 1:47 in the video below.
S1mple and Na’Vi continue to their quest to “become the best” on February 25, when the Katowice event kicks off at the MCK International Congress Centre.
The team also has its first chance at a major title in 2020 at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro on May 11. s1mple and his team now also have to prepare for the Blast Premier Finals series, to be held on June 19 in Moscow.