s1mple holding a trophy
s1mple holding a trophy

Ever since s1mple last left the competitive eSports scene back in October of last year when his team lost to MOUZ in the finals of ESL Pro League Season 18, the eSports world has been buzzing with all but one question on everyone’s lips: “When will s1mple make his grand return?”

For those unaware, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyljev is a big name in the Counter-Strike 2 competitive realm, where he has been playing for the popular league “Natus Vincere”, also known as NAVI.

Previously, when people asked him when he would return, his answers were not clear. However, at a grand finale of IEM Katowice 2024, which ended on February 11, s1mple had a brief conversation with James Banks. In this short talk, he said he “hopes” to play again in the competitive CS2 after the “PGL Copenhagen CS2 Major” that is scheduled to take place in March. 

Although s1mple did make it clear he wants to come back soon, we still don’t know exactly when that will be.

When Will s1mple Return to the Competitive CS2?

s1mple sitting on a sofa
s1mple sitting on a sofa

While there’s indeed a lot of talk about when Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyljev will return to playing Counter-Strike 2 competitively, know that he is currently the sixth player for his team, Navi, and he will also be traveling with them for the next big CS2 tournament, the PGL Copenhagen CS2 Major. However, s1mple will only be there as a backup for his team and not play any matches at all.

This, together with a couple of more reasons, has led many to believe that s1mple might leave Na’Vi to join another team. A popular guess was that he would move to Cloud9, considering some of his former teammates are there now. Many thought s1mple would join Cloud9 because he has played with some of their members before, and hence they can achieve a lot more together as the chemistry is there.

But s1mple has made it clear he does not plan to join Cloud9. 

The main reason he cited for this is the conflict happening between Russia and Ukraine, which affects him personally since he is a Ukrainian. Cloud9 has 4 members from Russia and, therefore, s1mple does not deem it “morally” right for himself to play with Russian players.

However, Cloud9 is in need of a good sniper, and s1mple would be just perfect for that. While Cloud9 has strong players from Na’Vi’s past, like Denis “electroNic” Sharipov and Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy, they lack a dedicated sniper player, which is a crucial role in the game. Although Kirill Mikhailov (boombl4) has tried to fill this role, the team can do better.

The reason why many players are struggling with the sniper role in CS2 is that when Counter-Strike transitioned from Global Offensive into CS2, the AWP sniper rifle was significantly nerfed. As such, many non-dedicated CS2 sniper players are having a tough time doing the sniper role. Therefore, s1mple remains the best bet for Cloud9.

On a side note, if you haven’t had the opportunity to play Counter-Strike after its momentous transition to CS2, know that you can always get a CS2 account from Eldorado and hop into the fun instantly!

While s1mple has no problems with his former teammates personally, joining a team associated with Russia would not be right for him, especially after considering what is happening in Ukraine. 

Nevertheless, in spite of these challenges, it’s very likely that s1mple will return to playing CS2 professionally. Whether he will go back to Na’Vi or choose a new team is still unknown. Everyone is looking forward to seeing where s1mple will end up. His skill and strategy make him a valuable player in the CS2 world. Therefore, his decision will be a big moment for eSports fans everywhere.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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