S1mple blames Ukraine war for NAVI’s dip in form

The war has taken a toll on the team.

The war in Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, had a huge impact on Natus Vincere’s form in CS:GO, according to star player Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.

In a press conference ahead of today’s BLAST Premier World Final, the legendary player explained that it was because of the war that NAVI “crashed.” In s1mple’s eyes, the team were building something special by the end of 2021 but the war in his home country took a toll on the squad.

“I still believe that because of the war our team just crashed. It was only because of the war,” s1mple said. “We lost our first LAN event at Katowice where the war started two days before. Its pretty sad, that when you are trying to create an era and winning a lot. And then it is not because we kicked a player or something happened in the team, but because war happened in this world. And when you think about this you say, why? Why did this happen to us?”

The war in Ukraine has now extended to almost a year following Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24. But despite everything that’s happened, s1mple believes NAVI have the tools needed to get back on track for 2023. “I just think we need to practice as much as possible,” he said.

When the war broke out, NAVI were preparing for the playoffs of IEM Katowice. At the event, s1mple gave an emotional speech about how the team were feeling at the time, and how people should “stay humans first.”

Excluding IEM: Fall CIS, NAVI won eight tournaments in a row at the end of 2021, with the PGL Major Stockholm 2021 included.

After the war, NAVI remained on top, claiming second place at PGL Antwerp Major and IEM Cologne, and also winning BLAST Premier: Spring Finals. But despite their best efforts, they dropped out early of the IEM Rio Major, both seasons of ESL Pro League this year, and BLAST Premier: Fall Finals.

They still, however, have one last chance to earn silverware this year at BLAST Premier World Final. Their first opponent at the event will be Team Vitality, who they will face at 9am CT today.

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