Natus Vincere continued to struggle at the ESL Pro League Season 5 finals, and the team’s form is perhaps as bad as it’s been at any point since signing Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev last July.
After reaching the quarterfinals of the ELEAGUE Major in January, the team has slowly faded and exited again in the group stage last week in Dallas. Slingshot’s Vince Nairn caught up with s1mple to talk about the team’s challenges, ways to get around them and other things he’d like to see happen in Counter-Strike and esports.
Vince Nairn: I know this was a tough week for you guys, but was the biggest thing you learned from this tournament?
Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev: We got a lot of experience. We understood that we need to fix our CT side. We need to play better in duo on some positions and communicate together. We fixed some problems on our CT side, a little bit our style.
VN: The last few months have been a wild ride for you guys. Did really well at the Major but have struggled since then. What has been the most difficult part of the last few months?
OK: I don’t know, just practice more. A lot are individual problems. For example, GuardiaN has wedding in a few weeks, so he prepared his documents. Sometimes he doesn’t have time to practice his individual skill. Every player has some little problems. We just need a bootcamp. We had a bootcamp before Dallas, but it was only four days. Now we come home and we have two more bootcamps before Moscow and before ESL One Cologne and (the PGL Major).
VN: Do you guys feel like this is more a small thing you can overcome to get back to your normal level?
OK: Yeah. I still think we are the best individual team in the world because of our players. We just need to set up all the roles.
VN: What has been challenging about that?
OK: The most difficult part is when you play in scrims, you just need to try different positions. You need to try something else. For example, we tried on Cobblestone to change our positions, and now we understand how to play on A or B. So when we rotate, we understand each other. We communicate better. If we had more time before Dallas, we would probably have prepared better.
VN: Who is one player or the most difficult for you to play against and why?
OK: Coldzera from SK Gaming. He’s the most difficult. They have really good team play and he has really good game sense and can easily help any teammate.
VN: What’s been your favorite moment of your career to this point?
OK: ESL One Cologne (2016) when I did the double no scope. And second moment was ESL One New York when me and Na’Vi won (our) first big title.
VN: What’s one thing about Counter-Strike or the esport you’d like to see changed?
OK: The only one thing I want to change is M4 from close distance. M4 should kill with one bullet from close distance, not like -95 health points. And I want finally Nike, Adidas as a sponsor to come in esports. It should happen one day.
Cover photo courtesy of DreamHack