NAVI star Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev has confirmed that Denis ‘electroNic’ Sharipov has become the new team leader ahead of the BLAST Premier Spring Finals.
The confirmation comes just two weeks after Dexerto revealed that NAVI was considering handing over the reins of the team to electroNic following Kirill ‘Boombl4’ Mikhailov’s removal from the starting lineup.
electroNic will have his first big test as the team’s IGL at the BLAST Premier Spring Final, which NAVI will attend with former Spirit player Viktor ‘sdy’ Orudzhev as a substitute.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference during media day, s1mple stated that electroNic should perform well in the lead role in the game given his extensive knowledge of the game. He also noted that the team will stick to the system that has been in place for years.
“We still have our old setups, we just changed some roles,” s1mple said. “I think electroNic has more ideas [than Boombl4]and your understanding of the game without the help of B1ad3 is much better.
“But Boombl4 worked with B1ad3 for so many hours and B1ad3 taught him so many things that electroNic doesn’t know now. So he needs a little more time.”
With an understudy who hasn’t played at the highest level in months and a new leader in the game who is still getting used to the role, NAVI has a tough task repeating their grand final appearance of BLAST Pro Series Lisboa 2018.
s1mple revealed that the team only had one week of practice for this event, which they hope will be enough to make it to the playoffs. “I’m pretty sure the crowd will cheer for NAVI and we’ll try to win if we get there.”
future fifth player
NAVI’s lineup beyond the BLAST Premier Spring Finals is uncertain, as the team will use this event as a measuring stick for the lineup with sdy. According to s1mple, the former Spirit player is “doing a great job in practice,” but they still need to see how he performs in the big games, which will determine if he stays with the team.
One player who has been tipped as a potential replacement for Boombl4 is Virtus.pro’s Timur ‘buster’ Tulepov. But one obstacle to the Kazakh player’s move is the fact that NAVI is unwilling to do business with Virtus.pro, a Russian organization with suspected Kremlin ties.
This means that Buster would have to find a way to be released from his contract, although Virtus.pro has made it clear that he will not allow any of his players to leave “unless a suitable fee is paid”.
“I’ve never played with him,” s1mple said of buster. “Perfect knows him better. The main problem is that NAVI cannot buy a player from a Russian organization because Virtus.pro pays taxes and we know what it means to pay taxes.
“We asked Buster at the beginning if he could cancel his contract. We are still deciding who will play [at IEM Cologne].”