Sources: NIP secure headtr1ck for BLAST Premier Spring Groups
NAVI academy graduate Daniil ‘headtr1ck’ Valitov is part of the lineup that NIP have submitted for the BLAST Premier Spring Groups, Dexerto has learned.
The 18-year-old Ukrainian has been included in NIP’s seven-man lineup for the tournament in a strong sign that a deal has been agreed on by the two organizations and that an announcement is close at hand.
headtr1ck is expected to fill the vacancy created by Patrick ’es3tag’ Hansen’s benching on December 21. The Danish player has been given permission to explore his options just 14 months after joining from Complexity.
NIP academy duo Linus ‘nilo’ Bergman and Max ‘maxster’ Jansson are also part of the lineup submitted by the Swedish organization for the BLAST Premier Spring Groups. The tournament, which will run between January 19 and 29, will mark the beginning of the 2023 season.
Who is headtr1ck?
headtr1ck is one of the hottest prospects to come out of the famed NAVI Academy, which has helped to produce players like Valeriy ‘b1t’ Vakhovskiy and Ilya ‘m0NESY’ Osipov in recent years. He was part of the organization’s academy project for two years, initially playing for the Youth squad before making the step up to the Junior team in August 2021.
Last summer, headtr1ck stepped in for Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev as the NAVI superstar missed the start of the BLAST Premier Fall Groups due to personal reasons. It was his second stand-in appearance for the main team after also briefly playing for the side in ESL Pro League Season 15 as a replacement for Kirill ‘Boombl4’ Mikhailov.
On September 2, NAVI announced that they were open to offers for headtr1ck as they wished to give him the opportunity to continue his development elsewhere. He went on to help NAVI Junior to a third-place finish in WePlay Academy League Season 6 with a tournament-high 1.36 HLTV rating.
headtr1ck is expected to take over AWPing duties from Fredrik ‘REZ’ Sterner, the third player to fill the AWP role in 2022 after Love ‘phzy’ Smidebrant and es3tag. With this move, the Swedish organization hopes to solve what has been a chronic problem for the team since December 2021, when Nicolai ‘dev1ce’ Reedtz stepped down from the starting lineup. (The Danish player was later sold to Astralis for an undisclosed fee.)
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