In this second part of the Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev series, his 2018 comes under the spotlight. To analyze s1mple’s 2018 is to analyze the best a player has performed individually in one year of Counter-Strike, in history. He carried his team, often alone, as he fought hard for glory. At one point, he was not happy in the team, as ESPN reported him to be close to joining SK Gaming. Kostyliev showed maturity as after the move fell through as he continued to give his all for NaVi. After his magical and mesmerizing year of 2018, his organization will be more than grateful.
s1mple and his team started their year at the ELEAGUE Major 2018. The return of NaVi’s Legends status after a dominant performance from Kostyliev, who carried his team to the semi-finals, was relieving. His 1.23 HLTV rating would be phenomenal for anyone, yet for him, it was his joint fourth-lowest one at LAN over the year.
A Fire Lit
It is hard to place where s1mple’s phenomenal year truly started. Given the choice, it must be after StarSeries S4. On home turf in Kiev, Kostyliev and his team fell to mousesports in the final over a three-map series. This was not just any grand final defeat though. s1mple was more than the team’s redeeming factor; he was inhuman in that match. 1.56 was his HLTV rating, but that does not tell the full story. His team’s next highest rating was 1.06, still respectable, but clearly, it was s1mple that was carrying the majority of the weight. Kostyliev’s Average Damage per Round (ADR) of 98 was ruthless. HLTV’s Impact Rating statistic rated him at 1.93, with anything below 1.00 deemed in the “red” like the general rating.
His MVP award for the tournament did little to comfort him.
As seen in the image above, s1mple looks a man incensed. As we saw in the last piece, Kostyliev is an emotional person. He took that loss to heart. His fury at the defeat would cause anybody with half a mind to steer clear. This loss did more though; it lit a fire inside s1mple. It unlocked his inner beast, one that was baying for blood. Once an ESL-banned, toxicity-accused, Ukranian kid. Now, a man, ready and willing to destroy all in his path in the name of victory.
Briefly packing s1mple’s “inhuman” section of 2018, after the ELEAGUE Major and StarSeries S4, is a tall order. Without fleshing out statistic after statistic, praise after praise, record after record, into thousands of words, understanding Kostyliev’s majesty over 2018 is difficult. In the Astralis Era, he ruled Counter-Strike on individual terms. He did not win every tournament, only winning ESL One Cologne, Blast Pro Series Copenhagen, CS:GO Asia Championships and StarSeries S5. NaVi did not beat Liquid’s roster featuring Keith “NAF” Markovic and Epitacio “TACO” De Melo on LAN, and could not consistently beat Astralis. Despite all these indicators that NaVi and s1mple had a lackluster year, he individually performed arguably the best ever.
All the following statistics will be derived from s1mple’s LAN statistics for 2018. Online matches are more of a random landscape while offline play is the proving ground for quality players. Kostyliev, while remaining an AWPer, had an opening kill ratio of 1.81 and opening kill rating of 1.26. Having almost twice the amount of opening duels won as lost, considering his role does not rely on opening duels, is phenomenal. A K/D ratio of 1.47 is excellent when compared to how simple, well-timed utility and close range duels can cut out any AWPer. Having played 173 maps, and getting 3866 kills, s1mple averaged over 22 kills a map. Team slumps and heavy defeats take place, so that is once again a significant statistic that conveys his importance to the team and how outstanding he was. The reliable statistic often referred to, the HLTV rating, lay at 1.33 over the year. Anything over 1.00 is substantial, and 1.33 over a year offline is inhuman. Against top-tier opposition regularly...obscene. Four HLTV EVP awards, six HLTV MVP awards, and only four in total were from tournaments in which s1mple won. Ridiculous. HLTV rightly acknowledged his sublime year with him making #1 on their world rankings.
Using only statistics would be an injustice, but it would take poetry to highlight Kostyliev’s year and its significance. s1mple was the shining star of the anti-Astralis movement. He personified all the qualities that a Counter-Strike player would want to have while being the sole reason NaVi found any success.
Having looked at s1mple’s career, from LAN DODGERS as an unproven teenager, to stardom, to the best there is, he is the best CS:GO player we have ever seen. He has seemingly overcome toxicity issues and successfully worked past ESL bans to reach his current position, one of being #1 on HLTV’s player list and playing as the solo carry of a top-three team. Averaging over 100 hours on CS:GO for every two weeks, showing excellent work-rate, and eventually sticking by NaVi after a spell where it seemed he would join SK Gaming, s1mple has proven his standout qualities. A rifler turned AWPer, the child turned the man, and great turned to greatest. The King of Counter-Strike: s1mple.
Images Via: HLTV & Starladder