Legendary NAVI player Oleksandr s1mple Kostyliev gave an exclusive interview to Players reporter Sofiia Pikhalo after the IEM Katowice 2024 finals.
We talked about his break, a potential move to other teams, the state of CS, NAVI teammates and his new project ALL STARS Promotion.
When you took a break, did you think it would take so long?
No, I expected it to be at least 3 months, but I don't think it took too long because I had to do the paperwork to officially stay in Europe and I was doing it all this time.
How difficult was it psychologically to stop playing on the pro scene?
At first, it was very easy, but after I saw the first official CS2 tournament in Australia, which I didn't attend, it became a little more difficult.
What do you miss personally? Working with the team, bootcamps, performing at LAN events in front of a large audience?
Now? I really miss attending tournaments and the atmosphere that I had with the team before... When I see esports players and people I've been seeing for the last 8-10 years, it's the saddest story that can be told.
You actively practice and spend a lot of time in CS (as well as streaming other games). How close is your form to optimal now?
I don't play practice matches because practice matches are played only with a team. As for other games, I might have streamed Valorant once in the last 3 months. Some people think that I play a lot of Valorant, but that's not true. I played CS about 3 times in the last month. The last time was when they made an update. There was no update for about 2 months and they improved the game. I really liked the update they made.
I will say that it affects the form very much. But the form is gained when you play with your team, when you play practice matches and when you attend tournaments. That's how you get in shape.
Recently, there have been many rumours about your move to Cloud9, were there any such conversations between the organizations?
There were no such conversations at all. I would never join Cloud9 when there are 4 Russian players there. I don't know whether Ukrainians understand this or not. I think every Ukrainian should understand this. There were no conversations.
You were one of the first pro players who started to criticize Valve for the state, bugs, and lack of readiness of CS2 for the pro scene. Since then, the developers have released a lot of patches. Has the game improved for you?
Yes, when I took a break, I told all the people that you have to wait about 3 months to enjoy the game if you want to play Competitive. There was a patch recently. I didn't play for a month and after this patch, I even tweeted a tweet. I apologized to X of "our favourite" Elon Musk.
I said I was very glad and happy that they made this update. Because they fixed the advantage of the player who picks first. They made the game easier for AWP and other players as well.
What else do you think needs to be improved?
Interesting, interesting... At the beginning of the game, everyone was talking about tick rate, but now I talk to different players from different teams, even if I'm not playing. They all say that there are problems with ping on the Internet now, but when you play on LAN, the game feels smoother. So I don't even know what to say.
I think they should do something for those people who want to log in once a week and play with their friends. Now they have made a case study, and it has become very interesting. A new case, new skins. They also added the Arms Race. I have never played Arms Race. They should add something similar to The International Pass in Dota 2. More activities, something interesting.
I've been playing this game since 2013. Every year there was an update when you look at it and say "Wow"! Whether it was a winter update or some other. Something is missing for people who just play this game for fun.
What do you think about w0nderful, is it a worthy replacement?
If we're talking about replacing me, then no, but this is my personal opinion. I was very impressed with the way he played. I understand that the problem with the losses is 100% not his fault.
What do you think of jL, many say that his positive attitude has helped to ease the atmosphere in the team, do you agree with this?
What can we compare it to? When we played with electroNic, Perfecto, or Boombl4, it was 50/50, but he's very positive. If we think only about the positive things in the team, it won't affect the result.
But, yes, good vibes come from him. He is still helping our country a lot. I've had this experience with several teammates. When you watch and you are angry, but his facial expression or two phrases completely change everything in your head. Emotions are like the weather, you can't control everything. When you look at a teammate and it supports you, everything changes automatically.
You and your brother launched your academy, how are you doing?
It's not an academy, it's not Zeus Cyber School. These will be courses that will give a lot to all players. Even if you don't want to play Competitive and become a professional in this game, they will give you the opportunity to play with your friends even better.
Who initiated this idea?
My brother was the initiator of this idea.
Have you considered creating your own organization in the future?
It is very difficult. I'm not talking about money but in general. I've been at NAVI for a long time, I know how it all works. I would like to see how it is done, but I understand that it is very difficult. I could not vouch for it all myself.