Every competitive game has legends. Generational talents that don’t just excel in their sports, they mold the games around themselves and bend it to their will. Basketball had Michael Jordan. Smash Bros. has Joseph “Mang0” Marquez. Tennis has Serena Williams.
But CSGO is special. CSGO gets to watch Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev on an almost daily basis, and it’s not exactly clear what fans have done to deserve him.
It’s probably safe to say that even casual fans of CSGO esports have seen s1mple’s unbelievable AWP clutch from ESL One Cologne 2016. Those who have taken the plunge into his less famous clips remember countless others. s1mple gets these flashy kills all the time, like his calm yet insane one-versus-four clutch against NRG Esports last year. And with CSGO’s transition back to online tournaments now all but complete, fans get to see more of s1mple than ever.
CSGO is a difficult game to learn, let alone master to the level that s1mple has. With over 16,000 hours played, no one could ever argue that s1mple hasn’t put in the time. But somehow the 22-year-old Ukrainian CSGO prodigy hasn’t just conquered CSGO. He’s made the CSGO into something that everyone else who plays it agrees Counter-Strike definitely isn’t.
He’s made it frustratingly easy.
In less than three seconds, s1mple quickly and quietly maneuvers into Nuke’s upper vents, grabs the ladder, and does absolutely nothing. That’s not exactly true; he does lean back and take his hand off his keyboard and raise what looks like a wireless travel mouse in front of his camera while he explains exactly what’s going to happen next.
A rough English translation of that explanation is more complicated than the play itself:
“It’s like this. You get into vent, hold your mouse in your hand like this, and then just… kill,” s1mple said, clicking as he finished and nabbing an easy knife kill in exchange for absolutely zero effort.
It’s unclear whether s1mple was even looking at the screen when he clicked. At his flashiest, fans get s1mple clips that look like this, but there has always been a sense that s1mple was deeper than that.
Now that fans have what might be the smoothest knife in the players history, one thing is clear. This is just s1mple’s world, and everyone else is the poor T dropping vents without a clue.