S1mple brings Natus Vincere DH Masters glory – Can the hype sustain?

Natus Vincere pulls out another godlike performance and wins DreamHack Masters Spring 2021. The BLAST Global Final champions finally get their redemption arc against Gambit, who stole their Katowice and EPL glory. Just as the focus shifted away towards Heroic and Gambit, S1mple and the boys pull out a miracle run and defeat the highest rated teams this spring to climb back to the top.

It once again all went down to Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev to deliver glory, with only occasional blasts of brilliance by the remaining NaVi roster. Are we heading towards a return to Natus Vincere domination or are we going back to the standard pattern of win two lose one? It will once again all depend on S1mple’s performance.

S1mple

All sunshine and rainbows this weekend

S1mple pulled out a glorious 1.38 rating in the victory over Gambit at the DreamHack Masters Spring 2021 Final, topping the scoreboard on Dust2 and Overpass. In the entire DH Masters showing he had greater than 1.20 ratings in 12 out of 15 maps played, on top of being top three across most categories. We once again witnessed one of the best CSGO player in the world pull his team over the finish line.

While Navi beat both Heroic and Gambit in consecutive series, one huge parallel wasn’t drawn from the entire experience. The clash of new and old styles and how teams are built and operate. NaVi plays the tried and trusted control match with slow pacing and individual duels to hold the line. They also largely rely on one player performing to pull out the wins. Heroic and Gambit both play the new style fashioned by Astralis, that relies on all five players systematically outpacing the match against their opponents. This past weekend, it was the old style that came out ahead.

The one player show

Anyone who knows the star player will revere them. In CSGO, our incredibly exciting star player, the cream of the crop, S1mple, has been unable to get out of loop, where his individual performance determines the faith of Navi. DH Masters was another great showcase where Sasha performs, and NaVi looks like the best team on the planet. But ProLeague was only weeks ago and their previous match against Gambit only days ago, and we all know how they looked back then.

It is no secret that S1mple was labeled as toxic early on in his career. He has clearly put in a lot of work to change that around. He is now seen by many as a good example in his behaviour and how he plays the game. Because of these behaviour changes, it seems as if he has done a complete 180 and will no longer say a bad word about his teammates. But we all see the playercams, and we can all notice him going on tilt with his teammates when NaVi doesn’t perform. Every time his face changes NaVi’s performance goes down.

The S1mple from years gone by would have been vocal about getting rid of Flamie/b1t in favor of someone who will put in the work and perform. If this were Flipsid3, it’s almost certain we would have heard about internal (and maybe external) disagreements between S1mple and Boombl4, leading to changes in the team.

How many terrorist rounds do they have to throw away due to poor time management before their coach helps them prepare strategies and tactics to avoid this? It can’t always fall back on the star of the team. Would he have been better in not changing his toxic ways?

How long can the hype be sustained this time?

It is not only the results that suffer when the team does not make any alterations. When performances have been sub-par, it is the hype around the team that dies as well. Na’Vi have been in the top 15 in the world since S1mple joined. Currently they are likely climbing to #2 on the rankings after DH Masters Spring.

Despite this, the storylines surrounding Natus Vincere have become rather stale. It has become the same old conversation every single time they come up on the analyst desk. Can S1mple and Electronic perform and carry the team? Can S1mple single handedly drag his teammates to another 16-14 win? Or will he outperform everyone on the server only to come up short again? After many years of hearing this it turns to ash in both the viewers and analysts mouths.

In light of everything, S1mple continues to be the best player in the world day-in and day-out. With fun highlight clips to watch after every game he is a part of, it is incredible that Na’Vi have not been able to find their form and deliver consistent performances. The ESL Cologne and PGL Major certainly give NaVi time to turn the ship around and break the curse of the star player.