Aleksandr s1mple Kostyliev - No. 1 in HLTV 2021

Alisa Barladyan
24 Jan 2022
11:35

Here we are to the final discussion about the results of the HLTV 2021 Best CS:GO Player of the Year ranking. With joy and without doubt, we declare that the strongest cyber athlete of the discipline is the Natus Vincere sniper Aleksandr s1mple Kostyliev. The Counter-Strike legend is on the first line of the ranking for the second time. This time, he didn't leave a single chance for the competitors. Aleksandr himself wrote on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that it was very boring to be top 1 beforehand. Why is there no intrigue this year? Let's break it down in order!

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s1mple

Last season could be safely called a transition from online to LAN tournaments. Natus Vincere is known as a strong LAN-team. Therefore it is not surprising that online, the rivals Vitality, Astralis, Heroic, and the dominant Gambit imposed their struggle on NaVi. Once the IEM Cologne triumph ended, the teams mentioned above forgot about winning tournaments where Natus Vincere was present (the only exception was RMR IEM CIS Fall). Born to Win defeated their opponents at all LAN-events, including the most important PGL Major Stockholm, and registered an Intel Grand Slam with a prize of 1,000,000 dollars. At virtually every winning tournament, it was s1mple who became the strongest player. His stats at the tournaments are beyond the reach of anyone else.

s1mple stats
s1mple stats

Turning to the titles Kostyliev and his team won, the only tournaments NaVi didn't win were IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League Series 13. The team has dominated LAN competitions since March 2020, losing only once to the recently "dead" squad of Team Liquid. As we mentioned earlier, Aleksandr has been the strongest player in all of these tournaments, allowing him to claim 8 MVP awards, breaking Nikolay Ridtz's all-time record of 7.

s1mple awards
s1mple awards
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s1mple himself admits that the staggering success is down to each team member, and he calls the current squad the best of his career. We couldn't agree more; every member of the NaVi squad stepped up to the plate in 2021. Now, this is a team where the outcome of fights is in the hands of one Aleksandr or him and Denis Sharipov. The modern Natus Vincere is a squad where any squad member can bring the necessary result for the victory by taking over the game, including the team's support Ilya Perfecto Zalutsky and captain Kirill Boombl4 Mikhaylov. Riflemen b1t and electroNic repeatedly led NaVi to the championship when the main star was not playing. With such a team, s1mple feels most relaxed about the result.

Natus Vincere
Natus Vincere

In previous articles, we compared the stats of the online players and on LAN. Aleksandr looked more powerful in the second part of the season. Therefore, it's interesting to look at the 2018 and 2021 stats.

s1mple MVP 2018
s1mple MVP 2018

As you can see, the stats are extremely similar, but the achievements are quite different (4 titles vs 8). This demonstrates that Kostyliev is still playing at the highest level, but now he is joined by teammates capable of taking titles one after the other. The s1mple is, in several ways, the strongest player on the planet.

s1mple MVP 2021
s1mple MVP 2021

The s1mple is, in several ways, the strongest player on the planet.

HLTV stats
HLTV stats
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Yes, Natus Vincere has been more convincing than their rivals in eight tournaments, but one tournament was special. The one that Aleksandr had been on his way to winning his entire career, stumbling twice at the most decisive moment. He did not give up, promising that he would not leave NaVi until he reached his goal. This time, the stars were aligned as s1mple lifted the PGL Major Stockholm trophy, securing his name forever in Counter-Strike history. Kostyliev conquered the Major on his third attempt. Natus Vincere didn't give a single map to their opponents at the main event of the year, and Aleksandr himself, of course, received the MVP medal. Along the way, the team defeated 6 of the seven playoff participants.

NaVi are the winners of the PGL Major Stockholm
NaVi are the winners of the PGL Major Stockholm

The main opponents, according to HLTV, for Kostyliev were Nikola NiKo Kovac from G2 Esports and Mathieu ZywOo Erbo from Team Vitality. But what kind of opponents could they be if none of them has ever beaten Natus Vincere along with their organizations in 2021? The s1mple himself believes that on the second line after him should have been Dmitry sh1ro Sokolov from Gambit Esports, but the organizers provided only the fourth line for the Russian sniper.

s1mple
s1mple

Best Highlights

The Natus Vincere era continues, they have a big lead over their rivals, and their top ranking is not threatened by anything so far. Will the Born to Win map pool change after interrupting their unbeaten streak of twenty matches at Nuke? Will we see Vertigo as promised by Andrey B1ad3 Gorodensky? The next big tournament, IEM Katowice 2022, will start on February 15 with the qualifying rounds. We'll find out soon enough whether NaVi will be able to continue their unbeaten streak at LAN events, considering the decisions of many squads. In the meantime, it's time to be proud of the champion from the CIS region who regained the title of World Player of the Year.

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Denis "electronic" Sharipov — No. 7 in HLTV 2021
Denis "electronic" Sharipov — No. 7 in HLTV 2021
Dmitry sh1ro Sokolov — No. 4 in HLTV 2021
Dmitry sh1ro Sokolov — No. 4 in HLTV 2021
Abay HObbit Khassenov — No. 6 in HLTV 2021
Abay HObbit Khassenov — No. 6 in HLTV 2021
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