The Story of s1mple
"I've followed Counter-Strike for a long long time, all iterations of it.
I have rarely seen a player with the raw talent and raw ability of S1mple"
"The most annoying thing was when he was toxic."
"There were a lot of time when EliGE and s1mple would get into disagreements.
S1mple would really really get in EliGE's face about it."
"So maybe the answer is the actual problem is s1mple, not the team."
Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev started playing Counter-Strike at the age of four, under the supervision of his brother "Alexey" while growing up in Ukraine.
Alexey would handle keyboard, and s1mple would be responsible for the mouse.
As s1mple grew older, the two brothers would constantly fight over the household's only computer.
s1mple's mom(Angelika Kostylieva)
Well, Sasha , he was a super active child.
He was like a propeller.
He would always fight with someone. Always!
Also, he was into these computer games.
After staying at a computer club until late hours, the next day he would get up at 7 am, go to school , and get good grades.
s1mple was only 15 when Counter Strike:Global Offensive released in 2012.
And a year later, he'd make his semi-pro debut with a Ukraine team called the LAN Dodgers, Primarily as a rifler.
S1mple joined Courage Gaming in early 2014, and started to gain a reputation around Europe for being an up-and-coming talent.
shortly after StarSeries, s1mple left Courage due to internal issues and rejoined the DODGERS, who later rebranded as Amazing Gaming.
It was at this time that s1mple first picked up the AWP.
S1mple got his big break midway through 2014 as a 17-year-old, when he joined the likes of Markeloff and Dosia on HellRaisers.
The team had seen his performance at StarSeries and taken notice of his undeniable talent.
HellRaisers' most notable achievement with s1mple came during the Group Stage of DreamHack winter 2014. There, S1mple and co.
defeated the best team in the world - Fnatic.
While the win was big, the team ultimately bowed out in the quarters where they lost to Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Early-on in his professional career, s1mple was characterized as a young prodigy.
A generational talent, who showed signs of brilliance, and still had a lot of room to learn and grow.
" I've followed Counter-Strike for along long time, all iterations of it.
I have rarely seen a player with the raw talent and raw ability of s1mple."
s1mple's climb up the ranks of EU CS:GO was steady up until that DreamHack event.
But just a few months after, he was abruptly banned from ESL and was forced to part ways with HellRaisers.
While he was banned, s1mple signed on with the almost entirely Ukrainian Flipsid3 Tactics.
The team made a commitment to s1mple that HellRaisers wouldn't, and agreed to find stand-ins for him at ESL events.
He stayed with Flipsid3 until July 2015, when his relationship with the team ended again because of "internal issues" - a sign of things to come for s1mple.
"About s1mple I can say that, the most annoying thing was when he was toxic.
you could see that he was really toxic during the game, and he was trying to infuriate you."
Markeloff would later elaborate on what caused the break.
Markeloff said s1mple was always yelling and arguing and too critical of his teammates, "damaging their team chemistry."
Markeloff thought that the loss was not as big as the community was making it out to be.
It was here where the s1mple-effect was born, foreshadowing the next two years of his career.
But amidst the breakup, even Markeloff admitted that s1mple had godlike aim and incredible in-game confidence.
This was starting to be s1mple's reputation around the CS:GO community.
His talent was undeniable.
He played with more confidence than almost any young player the game had ever seen.
And he executed plays that were, simply, unbelievable.
He played with the same arrogance his teammates always associated with his personality and it lit up the scoreboard.
After leaving Flipside, s1mple's career went through a sporadic few months that saw him bounce in and out of different lineups.
In July 2015 he announced he'd be taking a break from CS:GO to focus on finishing university, but then just a few weeks later joined Evolution.Dark.
He then spent some time standing-in for HellRaisers after Dosia abruptly left, as well as for Flipsid3.
While stamdomg-in with Flipsid3, s1mple fprmed a strong bond with longtime North American pro Hiko, which would pave the way fpr his future career decisions.
"He has full faith in me to make the right play, and get my kills.
I don't think he's really had that in another teammate ever in his career probably.
He knows almost no matter, he can say anything he wants to me and I'm not gonna be mad at him and I'm not gonna hate him for it."
On Jan.2, 2016, s1mple signed with one of North America's largest esports organizations - Team Liquid.
He was 18 years old and he decidesd to put his education on-hold and leave Europe to chase a Major title.
Just a month after joining Liquid, s1mple's ESL ban expired.
Surrounded by a strong team and big org, the world was ready to see just how good s1mple was.
" I don't want to say he's the Michael Jordan of CS:GO but he has the same superstar mentality where, he expects everyone to show up on time, he expects everyone to show up at their best performance.
He wants to win every practice 16-0.
He holds himself to a high standard, he holds everyone else to the same standard that he holds himself to."
And this was where his relationship with Hiko would come into play.
Hiko was arguably one of NA's best talents at the time and Liquid had a roster to be reckoned with.
It didn't take long for Liquid to find success.
"With the management of Liquid helping out and with myself really trying to work on making sure he stays focused and he stays at a level head.
I hink he's getting better.
Outside the game he's great, I think he's really funny I get along with him really well."
They made it to the semifinals at MLG Major Championship: Columbus 2016, just a few months later.
S1mple was named to the all-star game at that event, and was also ma,ed the all-star MVP.
Liquid would then carry that momentum into the next Major, ESL one Cologne 2016 - but with one catch - it would be s1mple's last time playing with Team Liquid.
"s1mple is probably one of the best teammates I've ever had.
As far as individually skilled goes I don't think there's a better player maybe in the game that has as much skill as s1mple does, it's gonna be sad seeing him to go."
Shortly before that event, s1mple went back home to Ukraine and abruotly decided that he would not be returning to North America to play for Liquid.
Luckly for TL, he did end up playing as a stand-in at Cologne.
Liquid lost in the Grand Final to SK Gaming, beating Fnatic in the semis.
At the time, it was the best performance ever for an NA team at a CS:GO Major.
But just as soon as Liquid realized how good they could be with s1mple on their roster, their Ukranian star was gone.
s1mple did leave Liquid with a parting gift in the form of one of his most famous plays,
The Falling AWP.
S1moke had everything he'd ever asked for.
One of the best NA talents in Hiko.
Two solid riflers and a quality AWPer in JDM.
He accomplished what he set out to do, he surrounded himself with talent and then carried his team to the top, of the Counter-Strike world.
And then he turned around, he went home.
"It was very hard to play in Liquid, in another city without parents without friends.
For me it's very comfortable, to be in home."
After Cologne, news about s1mple's relationship with Team Liquid took the CS:GO community by storm.
"As time went on he saw AdreN, maybe not as focused as he would have liked.
Missing easy shots that in s1mple's mind s1mple would never miss.
There were a couple time when EliGE wanted quit the team.
He didn't want to play with s1mple at all, he tried a couple time to say if s1mple's on the team I don't want to play anymore."
Just like with Flipsid3 and HellRaisers before them, the s1mple effect had plagued Liquid.
At this point s1mple's reputation as a toxic teammate was common knowledge, but his reputation as one of the best players on the planet was equally ubiquitous.
The move to Liquid was certainly daunting, but in-game s1mple handled ot without a hiccup.
He took a typical NA team and made them a contender.
With two Major Top4 appearances, s1mple gave NA results they'd never seen before.
He was truly one of the best on the planet.
Even without a Major title, many in the community were pracing his raw talent and confident gameplay adove the likes of Niko, Olofmeister and Coldzera.
The gods of CS:GO.
Then, in August of 2016, s1mple replaced Zeus on Natus Vincere, his hometown team.
With an almost entirely Ukrainian roster, it seemed like a perfect match.
Before he left, Zeus was the team's primary player shot-coller, but they largely relized on their coach Starix to lead at the time so Zeus was a natural cut.
There was some concern about the accuisition though.
Flamie and Seized were known for issues with their temperment, just like s1mple and many were worried about how these extreme personalities would mesh.
But, just a month after acquisition, Valve made major changes to the rules regarding in-game shotcalling.
Coaches were no longer able to communicate with players on comms during games to shotcall for them.
Because of this, Starix, NaVi's coach, was removed from his role and was unable to call games for the team.
With Starix out and Zeus gone, there was nobody left to wrangle team's brightest stars - s1mple and GurdiaN.
In his first premier event with NaVi, s1mple and his new teammates won ESL One: New york, emphatically making their presence felt as a force in the EU scene.
During that event, s1mple was +54 with 197kills over nine maps and was named MVP of the entire tournament.
S1mple would then be named the Red Bull esports' 2016 player of the year and managed to avoid controversy with NaVi.
As the 2017 season was avout to start, s1mple had his eyes set on that elusive Major title.
" I want to win every tournament in the world.
I want to help create a new era of Natus Vincere."
NaVi camp up short at the ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta, finishing in the Top 8.
That performance was followed up with a top 16 finish at PGL Krakow.
S1mple was still playomg like a superstar, but just like all of his previous teams, NaVi had become the s1mple show.
Redeye(the score Esports Podcast)
"There is just a little edge, of something different avout s1mple that makes you think "I actually believe this guy can do anything in the game"
He was without a doubt carrying the Ukranian squad.
And the internal issues that had plagued his past were rearing ugly face once again.
The team previously played around GuardiaN's AWP, playing slow and allowing him to secure picks.
Now with s1mple's hyper-aggressive playstyle, GuardiaN was trying to fit into their new system and with Starix gone, NaVi was spiralling.
"And well you can tell the disappointment via shiny eyes overthere on NaVi's side.
And well, they got so far in Cologne as well and you can tell that they were shattered at their loss there.
And to not make it out of the groups here at the Major, this is a disaster for NaVi."
Shortly after Krakow, both Seized and GuardiaN were placed on the transfer wire.
GuradiaN left the team for FaZe Clan in July and Seized would eventually step down from the starting lineup in October.
After Krakow, Na'Vi started to slump.
They had a string of consistently mediocre results and were no longer thought-of as a Major contender.
Despite stellar numbers, 2017 was a pretty disappointing year for s1mple in terms of results.
Prior to the ELEAGUE Boston Major at the start of 2018 NaVi added another young phenom in Electronic.
The team made it all the way to the Top 4, with their electronic-empowered lineup a steller performance from framie and s1mple doing what he did best.
Since then, s1mple has managed avoided bad press.
NaVi has been inconsistent, but still impressive and seems to be getting along.
They recently played mousesports in the finals of StarLadder and s1mple once again showed the world how good he is.
S1mple, who turns 21 this year, had 90kills in three games during the finals, sporting a +37 +/- rating.
He carried NaVi when were down, and showed up bif when they had the momentum.
It's starting to feel like s1mple may have finally settled into a team, But we'll have to wait and see if NaVi will end up surviving the s1mple effect.
"I learned a lot.
I learned that you souldn't be angry at your team.
have a lof of respect for your teammates.
I learned how to be always calm.
because I know for myself if I'm so emotional in game I'm gonig to play very bad and we're going to lose.
I learn it after I lose a lot of tournaments."
There is no question that s1mple is one of the most uniquely talented players in the history of CS:GO.
But< in exchange for stunning AWP picks and clutch after clutch, you get s1mple behind the scenes.
Combative, destructive and unpredictable.
The upper-rchelon of the CS world is currently dominated by players that have bought-in to a team-first system.
Powerhouses like SK gaming and FaZe Clan have assembled star-studded rosters that aren't afraid to play for their teammates instead of their start line.
Will s1mple find this balance with NaVi?
Or will he be relegated to pile of talent, impressive but ultimately wasted.
Ledt without results.
Is the s1mple effect a blessing or a curse?
Only time will tell.