The twenty-five year old Ukrainian Oleksandr Olehovych Kostyliev, widely known by his handle s1mple, is a pro CS:GO player and part of the Natus Vincere eSports team who has often been lauded with GOAT (Greatest of All Time) status in his chosen title.
On November 12th at the IEM Rio Major, a panel of 75 of the best CS:GO players in the world apparently voted in favor of confirming this. The outcome of this ballot came by way of a survey conducted by the Electronic Sports League (ESL) in order to determine who was most deserving of the accolade Best CSGO Player of the Decade. There’s little doubt that Kostyliev will prize this acknowledgement, coming by way of his peers, highest among his burgeoning trophy cabinet that includes The Game Awards’ Best Esports Player 2021, and the Esports Awards’ PC Player of the Year for both 2018 and 2021.
Over his time with the game, s1mple has raised the bar for competitive CS:GO and has done much to continue the franchises’ long pedigree as an elite eSport. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which came out in 2012, is the fourth entry in the Counter-Strike series, a franchise that started out as a Half-Life mod in the year 2000 before quickly becoming the gold standard in twitch-style gunplay on the competitive circuit. CS:GO took everything that worked about the core Counter-Strike formula and refined it to the point of near-perfection.
As such it should come as no surprise that in spite of fierce competition over the years from the likes of Rainbow Six: Siege and the Call of Duty games, CS:GO and its headline eSports events, the PGL Majors, have thus far ensured it retains its mantle as the only true ‘S-tier’ competitive shooter out there.
Accordingly, all FPS-oriented teams and athletes eagerly maintain an involvement in its events circuit, viewing victory in the PGL Majors as the ultimate accolade. In light of the prestige that has built up around it, it remains one of the most widely wagered upon eSports in the world alongside League of Legends, which enjoys widespread coverage of free bet offers through leading comparison platforms such as OddsChecker.
All of this is to highlight that s1mple’s acknowledgement by the ESL is tantamount to declaring him the best competitive FPS player in the world, period. What’s noteworthy about this award is the criterion that went into the selection process. After all, s1mple didn’t win his first PGL Major until 2021, so a catalogue of tournament victories likely would not have resulted in his name coming out on top.
Instead, the ESL assessed players on their individual contributions to the CSGO community, the quality and consistency of their play, and their wider impact on the eSports industry. S1mple beat out 12 other players for this award, including dev1ce, FalleN, coldzera and f0rest.