Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostylev’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive career started when he was fifteen years old, in 2013, with the team LAN DODGERS. He was discovered in 2014 after a string of impressive online performances for his team at the time, which was Courage Gaming. After some time, s1mple left Courage to rejoin LAN DODGERS, which later on became Amazing Gaming.
In late 2014, s1mple’s performances in the various online tournaments paid off, as he signed for HellRaisers, and played alongside some prominent CIS players, such as markeloff, Dosia and ANGE1. Under the HellRaisers banner, s1mple was able to compete at notable tournaments such as Dreamhack Winter 2014 and ESWC 2014. At Dreamhack Winter 2014, s1mple impressed. In their opening group stage match against Cloud9 on Inferno, HellRaisers dispatched of the North Americans swiftly, ending the match 16-5, with s1mple finished the match with 21 kills and 11 deaths. In their next match, HellRaisers had to face Fnatic, and, to the surprise of many, HellRaisers came out on top, finishing their match against the Swedes 16-14 on Mirage, with s1mple having 27 kills to 18 deaths. HellRaisers and s1mple were halted by NIP in the quarterfinals, after the Swedes beat them 2-0.
S1mple’s tenure at HellRaisers was short lived. In January 2015, s1mple and markeloff were replaced by AdreN and flamie.
In February 2015, s1mple, alongside bondik, B1ad3, WorldEdit and Markeloff were signed to FlipSide Tactics. FlipSide finished in the top four of the Copenhagen Games and the StarLadder StarSeries XIII tournament and in the top four of ESWC in 2015. Aside from these results, FlipSide were rather underwhelming, yet, s1mple continued to perform at an exceptional level in the offline and online environment. In the middle of July, 2015, s1mple departed from the FlipSide roster, and was eventually released from his contract on October 23.
On January 2016, s1mple was brought to North America to play for Team Liquid. S1mple’s first major tournament under the Team Liquid banner was, in fact, the MLG Columbus Major. The Ukranian was a pivotal player for Team Liquid throughout their Columbus campaign, putting up impressive numbers against teams such as Fnatic in a best of one, CLG in a best of three, and Luminosity in the semifinal best of three. In the next two bigger tournaments, Liquid failed to perform as a whole, and as a result, s1mple’s performances suffered, and he was not at that consistently high level he was used to displaying. The next tournament that Liquid made a deep run at was ESL One: Cologne 2016. He was a crucial part of Liquid’s campaign at the Cologne major, however, he shone above his teammates in the playoff stages of the major. Against Na’Vi, s1mple finished with 67 kills, 54 deaths and 87.9 ADR across three maps. His strong performance carried over to Liquid’s 2-0 win over Fnatic in the semifinals of the major, where the Ukranian hybrid finished the series with 55 kills, 40 deaths and 95.4 ADR. The finals of the Cologne major, which saw Liquid toe to toe against SK Gaming, saw Liquid and s1mple end their campaign in Cologne on a disappointing note, as SK were able to beat the North American side 16-7 on Train and 16-6 on Cobblestone.
After his time at Liquid, s1mple linked up with Na’Vi, with Zeus moving to a backup role. Na’Vi crashed out early at the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 2, however, the CIS side were able to bounce back from that victory by clinching a rather convincing victory at ESL One: New York. The CIS side beat Liquid in their opening match 16-9 on Mirage. They went on to beat Virtus.pro 16-9 on Train and swiftly dispatched of SK Gaming 16-6 on Mirage. In all of these best of ones, s1mple was key in helping his team secure the victories required to qualify from the group stage with a perfect 3-0 record. Home nation hopefuls, Team Liquid, stood in the way of Na’Vi’s progression into the finals of the tournament. Na’Vi were triumphant over the three maps, which were Cobblestone, Train and Dust2. The hard hitting prowess of s1mple and flamie were key in securing Na’Vi the win that granted them a match against Virtus.pro in the grand finals. Once again, it was another series that stretched across three maps. Virtus.pro took Cobblestone comfortably, dispatching of Na’Vi with a 16-3 scoreline. Na’Vi were able to bounce back and take Train with a 16-8 scoreline. The third and final map, Mirage, was a hotly contested affair, which ended in favour of Na’Vi with a 19-17 scoreline. This time, GuardiaN and s1mple were the key performers. Na’Vi had won the grand final, and, for the first time in his career, s1mple had lifted a trophy from a top tier tournament.
To close out the year, s1mple and Na’Vi competed at EPICENTER 2016, where they placed in the top four. Na’Vi fell short at ELEAGUE Season 2, falling to SK Gaming in the group stage, and failing to qualify from the group stage of IEM Oakland. The trend of s1mple being a strong, if not the strongest performer on the team throughout Na’Vi’s campaigns continued into 2017.
The new year ushered in difficult times for Na’Vi, and in particular for s1mple. Na’Vi had limited success throughout 2017. Na’Vi were able to qualify from the group stages, but were unable to progress from the first round of the knockout stages, barring a few occasions, such as the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals in April, where they finished in the top four. The same result was replicated at ESL One: Cologne 2017, in July. With the re-addition of Zeus and the addition of electronic, Na’Vi were able to clench the Dreamhack Winter 2017 title with a win over mousesports.
2017 in general was a year of change for Na’Vi. For starters, starix departed from the team, seized and GuardiaN were placed on the transfer list, GuardiaN was eventually acquired by FaZe Clan. Zeus and kane joined Na’Vi after Gambit’s win at the PGL Major and electronic joined the roster.
At the start of 2018, Na’Vi attended the ELEAGUE Boston Major, and were able to secure a top four finish, qualifying from the New Challengers stage with a 3-2 record, then from the New Legends stage with a 3-1 record. Na’Vi beat Quantum Bellator Fire to reach the semifinals, only to be sent home by FaZe Clan.
At the StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 4 Finals, Na’Vi had a good run. They were able to secure qualification from the Swiss BO3 group stage, with wins over HellRaisers, Gambit and Heroic. Losses to FaZe and SK Gaming meant that they qualified with a 3-2 record. A nice win over Astralis in the quarterfinals and a surprising win against FaZe in the semifinals saw Na’Vi go up against mousesports in the grand finals. A cumulative of 90 kills and 90.8 ADR was not enough to secure Na’Vi the victory in the grand finals, as mousesports clinched the finals with a 2-1 victory over the CIS side.
It goes without saying that s1mple was the key, consistent player throughout Na’Vi’s campaign at that tournament.
Throughout all of the tournaments Na’Vi played in, their results were up and down, however, s1mple’s individual results remained consistent. To most players, players that have consistency like rain, NiKo, coldzera and s1mple is almost impossible. These players are able to do the impossible and consistently perform at that heavy hitter, star player level, and s1mple has done so since the beginning of his career. The most remarkable aspect of s1mple’s career is, as he climbed from team to team and competed against higher level opponents, he was able to adapt and play quite well, better than most players would be able to.
The biggest question of them all is a simple question that nobody can answer:
“How does a player of such calibre perform so well, yet constantly miss out on silverware?”
A question like that has a few answers, however, it is near impossible to hard carry a team to a top flight title. Yet, s1mple was nearly able to do it at StarLadder. In s1mple’s career, the constant theme has been his team unable to keep up or, for lack of better terms, letting him down.
The story of s1mple is simple and straightforward in terms of trajectory, yet it bears it’s own complexities. A player that was a player of immense potential has fulfilled his potential and some more. The story of a human constantly putting in inhuman performances against any opponent in any team environment seems rather simplistic. S1mple improved as a player as time went on, and became a consistent top flight star player putting in incredible performances on the regular. The complexities lay in his team being unable to keep up, or holding him back from victories, which was evident in the StarLadder finals versus mousesports.
Over time, s1mple has been able to refine his skills. He has always been a player of immense talent and, has fulfilled his potential and some more at the current time. Prior to his maturation as a player, during the early days of his career, s1mple’s aggression would get kills, but often cost his teams rounds.
As time went on, his career progressed, and he developed into a player that was able to balance aggression with other aspects of the game. He is able to get the early picks, or get the entries and fall back accordingly, and then play out the mid and closing parts of the round. His underlying aggressive nature combined with his game sense and incredible raw skill makes him a lethal player in almost every situation in the game, and a name to be feared in the server.
S1mple’s hunger for glory increases as time goes on, and. he needs his team to pad his monstrous performances in order for that hunger to be satisfied, albeit satisfaction is more than likely temporary.
Nevertheless, s1mple is an extremely talented player, and it is only a matter of time before s1mple is rewarded for his incredibly high level of consistency, and whether that reward comes from Na’Vi or from a different team, only time will tell.