For some time now Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev has been tipped to become the best player in the world. Whether it was way back on HellRaisers after making the playoffs of Dreamhack Winter 2014 or after carrying Team Liquid to a major final, it was expected that he would eventually be the world number one.
Everyone believed after he joined Natus Vincere that his time was now. And it was, although rather short lived. The team won ESL One New York with s1mple taking the MVP medal. However, Na’Vi would descend into a string of early playoff exits or worse.
The recent roster shuffle brings natural born leader Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko home with a new coach in Mikhaylo “Kane” Blagin. Under Zeus’s leadership is it time for s1mple’s story to come full circle?
Hasn’t he already been the world’s best once?
Mechanically, s1mple might already be the best player in the world. He’s certainly in contention with the likes of Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, Marcelo “coldzera” David and Nicolai “device” Reedtz for that title. However, in last year’s top twenty players he was bested by two of those names, why is that?
The main reason is results. In 2016 Coldzera won two majors among other tournaments while Device consistently reached semi-finals with positive ratings at every event in that year. Secondly, these are regarded as complete players. They can play every role, rifle, AWP even support when need be. These are players that rely less on outrageous plays and more on strong decision making. They have also shown a willingness to work in a system and make sacrifices when needed.
Natus Vincere’s lack of top finishes and inability to find a working formula has put s1mple down the pecking order. The addition of Zeus should hopefully solve both of the problems starting with the latter.
How to best use s1mple?
It is on Zeus to implement a player like s1mple into his system and way of leading. My suggestion would be to let s1mple play outside of the system for the most part. He is best when he’s making wild plays based off of his own thoughts on the state of the game. Zeus could set the team up so that if s1mple wants to play X position on CT then there is a setup for that and if he dies then there is a set reaction from the team. Zeus could do this for a number of spots on a number of maps. This, in a fashion, is controlling s1mple’s aggression whilst allowing him to make his own plays. If it isn’t working reign him in and play a more defensive style holding from the bomb sites on maps such as Overpass and Inferno.
On the terrorist side you can use the same idea. The core four sets up for an execute while s1mple decides how to make an impact on said execute. That could be lurking on the other bombsite or actively trying to entry on the targeted one. I believe this would be an effective use of s1mple’s skill set whilst catering to the needs he demands.
Should he be the main AWPer?
With Na’Vi’s main AWPer leaving it is presumed that s1mple will take on the role full time. Some are skeptical as to whether using s1mple as the main AWPer utilizes his full potential.
My counter-argument would be that prior to the Ukrainian joining, Denis “seized” Kostin started playing as a secondary AWP. If s1mple is going off with a rifle then a flashy playmaking AWP shouldn’t be required. Give Seized the AWP and as long as he hits the shots he should hit then Na’Vi should have no problem allowing the two to switch on occasion.
This again gives s1mple more of what he wants but with the right resources to do so. There’s always a plan for if s1mple decides to change his style of play.
Despite the recent shortcomings S1mple has come leaps and bounds with Natus Vincere. His attitudes towards his team and its members have changed, with him saying that he will never leave and seemingly be showing more respect to his teammates. If Zeus can now come in and change his mindset towards the game in someway then we could see the nineteen-year-old join that list of complete players and cement himself as the best player in CSGO.