The cathedral of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive handed yet another trophy to Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, but it wasn’t the one he was hoping for.
IEM Cologne marks the third time in s1mple’s career that he has won the MVP trophy without winning the tournament. The medal came after a narrow loss to FaZe Clan in the grand finals. s1mple’s outstanding performance in Cologne with .84 kills and 82 damage per round demanded the MVP award regardless of the silver medal. Still, it’s hard to see the greatest player in CSGO hold up a trophy he doesn’t even seem to want.
The grand finals of IEM Cologne 2022 will be remembered as an extremely close battle that came down to just a few key rounds. Eventual champion FaZe Clan fought tooth and nail to win map five on Nuke just 16 to 14. Every map was too close to call until the very end, with the shortest still lasting 25 rounds. All along the way, s1mple consistently put up excellent numbers with a few big highlights.
s1mple’s emotions ran high after IEM Cologne. As part of expressing his disappointment, he immediately took off his silver medal and threw it into the crowd for a lucky fan to grab. He did not repeat the same with his MVP medal, though part of him may have wanted to.
IEM Cologne 2022 is third s1mple MVP despite losing
The first time s1mple won MVP after losing was at StarSeries Season 4 back in 2018. With Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko as the shot caller, Natus Vincere narrowly missed a grand finals victory 1-2 against mousesports. s1mple actually put up better stats at StarSeries Season 4 than IEM Cologne with .85 kills and 85.7 damage per round. HLTV celebrated his performance in true CSGO fashion with a frag movie.
His second MVP award as a runner up came at DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018. Marseille arguably marked the start of the Astralis era, and Na’Vi went down 2-0 in the grand finals to the Danish overlords. s1mple performed beyond his high standard, earning a 1.52 HLTV rating and a flat 1.00 kill per round. He maintains the stoic calmness of the first photo, though he appears somewhat annoyed.
IEM Cologne 2022 marks the third time s1mple has earned both the MVP award and a silver medal. Fans once worried that s1mple’s motivation would wane after winning a major in 2021. However, his reactions to the award prove that the greatest player in CSGO is still hungry for more trophies.