NAVI´s First Major-Trophy
Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev is currently 24 years old, participated in an incredible amount of 71 S-Tier events and 10 Majors in his career. With a total of 17 HLTV MVP Awards and the award for the best player in the world in 2018, he is one of the best players of all time and crowned his career last Sunday with the victory at the PGL Major in Stockholm.
The following article will cover his Major history and in the end you can find pictures of his success in Stockholm!
The start of his career
S1mple started his active career in 2014. After only a few months, the Ukrainian joined HellRaisers and therefore his first well-known team. In the next three months with the organization, he already participated in his first S-Tier events and in November 2014 also in his first major, the DreamHack 2014. There, the lineup consisting of ANGE1, Dosia, markeloff, kUcheR and s1mple even qualified for the playoffs as first place in their group, but finally had to admit defeat to NiP in the quarterfinals. Nevertheless, a solid first appearance at a major for the at that time only 18-year-old.
His move to FlipSide3 Tactics in January 2015 should ultimately not pay off. S1mple left the team just six months after signing and spent the upcoming year in various lineups, as well as a standing-in for his former team HellRaisers. However, in early 2016, Oleksandr took the next big step in his career. On Jan. 31, 2016, he played his first tournament under the banner of the North American organization Team Liquid. Together with nitr0, EliGE, Hiko and adreN, he took part in his second major, MLG Columbus 2016, just a few months later. Particularly bitter for the Ukrainian: in the qualifying tournament for the event, the team beat HellRaisers and his old teammates of all people, who therefore failed to qualify for the Major.
While he reached the quarterfinals at his first major at the end of 2014, he even made it to the semifinals at MLG Columbus 2016. Liquid finally had to admit defeat to the later winners Luminosity Gaming. Just three months afterwards, the upcoming ESL One: Cologne 2016 was already on the agenda. After reaching the quarterfinals and semifinals at his first two majors, his first participation in a final followed. After wins against NAVI and fnatic, s1mple faced SK Gaming in the final. The Brazilian top team around falleN stuck to the lineup and only changed organization. Liquid, around s1mple, however, could not prevail against the Brazilians even in the second encounter in the Major Playoffs in a row and lost the grand final.
A new era
Shortly after losing the Major final in Cologne, s1mple joined NAVI. The lineup consisting of seized, GuardiaN, Edward and flamie started well and could already win in their second tournament together, the ESL One: New York 2016. However, the results slowed down a bit until the ELEAGE Major: Atlanta 2017, which took place at the end of January. Nevertheless, NAVI made it to the playoffs at the Major undefeated, but already had to admit defeat in the quarterfinals against the eventual winner Astralis.
The following Major in 2017 was a disappointment. After quite solid performances in the first half of the year, s1mple was eliminated for the first time before the playoffs from a major and finished only 12-14th in Krakow.
Back on track for success
The year 2018 should resume the successful major runs of the Ukrainian. At the ELEAGUE Major in Boston, the team finished 3-4th place and was defeated by FaZe in the semifinals. While in September 2018, s1mple made his second appearance in the final at the FACEIT Major in London. This time, however, it was also not quite enough for the title. In the grand final NAVI had to admit defeat on both maps and cleary lost with 0:2. Little fact: Up to this point, s1mple lost every semifinal and final game he reached at majors with 0:2. Many of these duels were relatively clear, like the one at the FACEIT Major (Nuke 6:16; Ovp. 9:16).
The coming year started with the IEM Katowice 2019 Major and a bitter defeat in the semifinals against the newcomers ENCE. The team battled their way into the Major final as absolute underdogs and therefore almost made the surprise perfect. In the end, however, the victory went to Astralis once again. For s1mple it was already the third elimination in a major semifinal.
A mixed first half of 2019 was followed by the elimination in the quarterfinals of the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019 in a duel with NRG. NAVI had to admit defeat on Dust2 and Mirage and s1mple could not secure the Major triumph even in the ninth attempt. Despite all this, Oleksandr decided to stay loyal to the organization and promised the fans to bring the title home one day. However, s1mple was not to get a chance to do so for over two years due to COVID.
Champion of PGL Stockholm 2021
NAVI qualified first in the CIS region for the Major in this year's RMR cycle and therefore advanced to the "New Legends Stage." During the group stage, they defeated Heroic, Virtus.Pro, and NiP with a round difference of 64-33 and advanced confidently to the playoffs.
In these, NAVI first prevailed over Vitality on Dust2 and Nuke to later inflict arguably the bitterest defeat of the year on their CIS rival Gambit in the semifinals. With 16:8 and 16:3 s1mple and his team decided the duel more than clearly in their favor. In the grand final NAVI faced G2,and after two exciting maps and a sensational comeback on Nuke they were able to secure the victory. Worth mentioning here: Andrii "B1ad3" Horodenskyi was his coach in his first Major participation in 2014 and also the coach with whom s1mple could now win the Major.
NAVI became the first team in history to win a major without losing a map. S1mple was able to fulfill his big dream and was also crowned Major MVP by HLTV after an individually incredibly strong event. It's a long-time dream that came true for the Ukrainian and the scenes after the win were heartwarming.
PGL MAJOR STOCKHOLM WINNERS: s1mple - electronic - Boombl4 - Perfecto - B1T - B1ad3