Natus Vincere took the time to retain key pieces of its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squad this weekend when it signed both Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov to contract extensions that would keep the players with the organization throughout the 2022 CSGO season.
As cornerstones of one of CSGO’s oldest and most successful organizations, both electronic and s1mple have produced consistently for Na`Vi since their arrival. The two are key components of a team that rose in both CSGO’s rankings and in popularity, starting this year with a dominant IEM Katowice 2020 win. Although Na`Vi struggled to reproduce that presence over the rest of the year’s online tournaments, fans are guaranteed exciting games and the occasional blowout win while the two remain on the roster.
The top tier of professional CSGO is currently on a competitive break until the middle of January, so many teams are taking that time to make sure that its rosters are solidified heading into 2021’s first tournament. Scheduled to begin on January 18, the BLAST Global Challenge will feature Na`Vi and seven other of the world’s top teams to kick off 2021’s CSGO schedule.
s1mple is widely considered to be one of the most talented players in the game, so it’s no surprise that Na`Vi wanted to lock him down quickly after a tournament season pervaded by hassles and uncertainty. His competition for the number one title comes from another fantastic talent in Vitality’s Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, who signed a three-year extension with the team earlier this month.
While both players put up significant numbers throughout the year, s1mple has shone in nearly every match he has played. While the extension isn’t a surprise, it is a testament to a Na`Vi team that finished 2020 on a high note despite a loss to Astralis at the IEM Global Challenge to close out the year. With its two essential players now taken care of, s1mple and the rest of Na`Vi will continue to be a strong playoff candidate headed into the new year.