In the upcoming IEM Sydney, the inaugural Big Event of Counter-Strike 2, fans are eagerly anticipating the clash of 16 world-class teams. However, the absence of Ukrainian star Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev from Natus Vincere’s lineup has stirred the community.
Instead of s1mple, coach Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy will step into the arena, marking his return to active play after a hiatus since his time with FlipSid3 in 2018. The AWP duties will fall to Justinas “jL” Lekavicius in s1mple’s absence.
s1mple’s withdrawal raises questions, especially considering his outspoken criticism of the new Counter-Strike. NAVI’s official statement didn’t provide any details regarding his absence. Regardless, the tournament promises intense competition as teams vie for victory at the first IEM event in Australia since the onset of the pandemic.