Exactly six years ago, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev played for Natus Vincere for the first time. As a part of this team, the Ukrainian AWPer has not missed any CS:GO tournament, except for the ongoing BLAST Premier: Fall Groups. In the group stage of the event, Kostylev was replaced by Daniil “headtr1ck” Valitov, the only known player in the community from the current NaVi Junior team who managed to play with Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov.
Before the tournament, there were a lot of questions for the CIS organization revolving around the S1mple’s return and the team’s performance without him. As it turned out, NaVi finished first in the group stage of the event, with Headtr1ck becoming the main sniper and Sasha returning to the team for the Playoffs.
Even though the Ukrainian team was playing without its star AWPer, it was considered a favorite in the group stage of the event, according to https://gg204.bet/en-ca/, where NaVi beat Complexity, G2, and Liquid. Let’s see how the squad managed to dominate Group B with its academy player Daniil “headtr1ck” Valitov instead of s1mple.
NaVi Trusted Headtr1ck: Match Results
As we have said earlier, NaVi was left without a main sniper for the first time since 2013. It is also worth noting that Daniil always played the second number, and the difference between these roles is huge. The main sniper should always take the initiative and play aggressively, while the second one only needs to play passively somewhere under point B.
That said, the CIS side decided to use their academy player instead of s1mple. And the 18-year-old Ukrainian was definitely not bad as a stand-in. He boasted a 1.12 overall rating in the first division of the event, according to HLTV, where NaVi had to face Complexity, G2, and Team Liquid.
NaVi vs Complexity: Upper Bracket
Starting from the first match against Complexity, Daniil was given AWP. However, the young Ukrainian was worried at the beginning and therefore, often ran away from positions and played as carefully as possible.
Then Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi was allocated to him as support, after which point A became incapable for the American opponent. In the first match, headtr1ck has already become the best in the team, although NaVi lost the battle and went to the lower bracket.
NaVi vs G2 Esports
The most important match for Natus Vincere was the first round of the lower bracket against G2. First of all, headtr1ck and m0nesy, two of their best academy talents, had to face each other. Second of all, the match was set to determine which of the two top teams would finish the first stage without a single victory.
In the first round, Daniil managed to replace s1mple in all positions. His defense was the ideal supporter of point A. He made entry frags from the jungle from the CT side, but also helped under point B. Apparently, Daniil watched a lot of Kostylev’s demos. In the last round, he saved his team from overtime with three beautiful frags in a row.
NaVi vs Complexity: Lower Bracket
The rematch against Complexity showed us how NaVi could learn from their mistakes: the same map and side, but a different style. Daniil began to play a little more passively, which gave a greater result for the CIS club. Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi took the front position and byte the opponents on himself while the sniper shot them.
This deadly combination led the entire team to victory with a 16-3 score. In the final match, headtr1ck won the 1vs2 clutch, proving that he can play at Tier 1 level and shoot even with ordinary weapons.
NaVi vs Team Liquid
Just in a few days, Daniil “headtr1ck” Valitov managed to adapt to the role of the best player after spending the entire game day without serious mistakes. On two maps against Complexity and one against G2 Esports, he shone but started to go out against Liquid.
Fortunately, the teammates won the decisive match against the North American organization without him. Due to this result, Natus Vincere has been placed directly in the third round of the knockout stage of BLAST Premier. As for Daniil, we can say that he is definitely good as the stand-in, but still inexperienced.
S1mple Set to Return to the Team for the Knockout Stage
After a short break due to personal reasons, Oleksandr will be returning to the competitive stage soon. The star AWPer tweeted that he is planning to fly to Denmark, likely in time for the Playoffs of the BLAST Premier, which takes place in Copenhagen. This means he will almost certainly be joining NaVi for the knockout stage of the event.
The CIS giants will play their next match on Saturday, August 27. They will face Team Vitality, G2 Esports, or BIG, depending on which team will make it through the bracket.