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Breaking Down Every s1mple Ace at IEM Cologne

Scott Robertson

The answer to the world’s best player CS:GO debate is a simple one. Natus Vincere’s Ukrainian sniper superstar Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev turned Cologne into his own personal playground, climbing to the top of the jungle gym in style. His 1.51 HLTV player rating for the event across 11 maps sits just behind his record of 1.52 at an event with at least five maps played. Even by his own absurd standards, his performance and Na’Vi’s win at IEM Cologne was special.

s1mple MVP trophy

Another well-earned MVP medal and championship trophy combo for simple. (Image via @s1mpleO on Twitter)

Other than being a statistical force, s1mple did what only stars can do, and that’s turn the tide of a match all by himself on multiple occasions. At IEM Cologne, he notched four aces across the entire event, becoming the only player to ever do so at a single tournament. Let’s unpack and appreciate all four of them, shall we?

Putting Renegades down six feet under

Renegades IEM Cologne

Renegades got off to a hot start in Cologne, but couldn’t capitalize on an early advantage over Na’Vi. (Image via ESL)

The first s1mple ace came in Na’Vi’s first series of Cologne, against a surprisingly dangerous Renegades team. The lone representative out of Oceania, the Renegades of Australia has already left a strong impression with their 2-0 wins over MIBR and OG in the Play-In stage. They had stunned Na’Vi on the first half of Inferno with a scorching T-side, leading 11-4 going into their CT side and taking map one decisively 16-10.

Their Cologne run already on the verge of potential derailment, Na’Vi answered back with an even fiercer T-sided first half on Dust2, leading 13-2 at halftime. Renegades took four of the first five rounds in the second half, flirting with the notion of a comeback, before s1mple laid the foundation for his inevitable record.

Na’Vi went into round 21 with less than stellar equipment; half armor on electronic, a FAMAS on b1t, and just a Desert Eagle on Perfecto. But they still put s1mple in the best chance to win; full armor, an AWP, and holding mid with his AWP. Renegades are grouped up in lower tunnels just outside mid doors, and s1mple spots aliStair’s AWP barrel as he switches weapons, catching the newest Renegades as he peeks. After switching angles, he calculates when Renegades will try to peek again, and wallbangs Sico through the doors and through his dome.

He legs Hatz and then removes his head as Hatz tries to jump up on the box. A flash from b1t lets s1mple push through mid doors and forces malta to hide behind the lower tunnel box. Expecting this, s1mple just holds the angle and drops malta as he peeks from behind the box. From lower tunnel, he scans top mid back and forth, and catches INS at the right time at telephone pole. Broke, Renegades lose the next round and the map 16-6, and s1mple and company put the upstart Aussies down on Nuke 16-4 to avoid the upset.

Solo site take versus Astralis

Astralis IEM Cologne

Without their star AWPer, Astralis proved they still have a seat at the big kids table. (Image via ESL)

This may not be the exact same Astralis that has denied s1mple numerous trophies over the years, but he certainly played like they were. Astralis was feeling pretty good heading into this series, having already 2-0’d both FaZe and Heroic and secured a playoffs spot. But they felt less good after their opening map against Na’Vi; a burial on Ancient which saw the Danes trailing 13-2 at halftime, eventually losing 16-7.

The momentum shifted on Dust2, with Astralis jumping out to a quick 3-1 lead. In the fifth round, Na’Vi pushed into the B bomb site with roughly a minute left on the clock, and things looked to be falling apart quickly. Thankfully, s1mple put the attack back together.

Na’Vi loses Perfecto and b1t to Bubzkji in the corner, but s1mple is able to salvage a trade and down the former Astralis sixth-man. He catches a glimpse of dupreeh hiding behind Double Stack, but isn’t able to do anything before dupreeh catches electronic as he sprints past s1mple while switching weapons. However, s1mple is able to catch magisk as he crosses CT mid, and hits a close range flick onto durpeeh.

Unfortunately, he loses boombl4 over on A site, putting him in a 1v2 but at least with the bomb planted on B. His smartest kill this round comes next, throwing a smoke to fake like he’s crossing past the B doors, but then slowly peeking doors in front of the smoke to catch off Xyp9x. He retreats to back plat and just waits for gla1ve to slowly peek into his crosshairs, collecting a much needed round. Astralis would inevitably win this map in overtime, 22-19, but s1mple wasn’t finished with them just yet.

A multi-weapon, low health, force buy showcase on Inferno versus Astralis

Astralis IEM Cologne

Astralis was able to withstand the momentum of one s1mple ace, but not two. (Image via ESL)

Fittingly, a great series between Na’Vi and Astralis was decided on the defining map three, Inferno. Na’Vi came out firing early, with s1mple, b1t, and electronic paving the way for a quick 5-0 lead. But Astralis won three of the next four, forcing a save out of Na’Vi with only one rifle remaining from the previous round. Naturally, they put it in their superstar’s hands, but it didn’t stay there for very long.

With less than a minute left, Na’Vi approaches the B site with s1mple in front, and he sprays down gla1ve at the cost of most of his health. Anticipating a rotate from Astralis, they retreat back to mid, and s1mple hands the AK to a healthier boombl4, then trades his Tec-9 for a Desert Eagle from b1t. Na’Vi attempts a fast A take, but it looks like it’s going to fall apart as Perfecto, electronic, and boombl4 all fall on site and truck side. But I think you know how this ends.

With Astralis focused on the players on A short, s1mple loops onto site through A long, catching Bubzkji on site, then sacrificing b1t to bait out magisk in pit. He gets bomb down as he gets pinched by Xyp9x and dupreeh, but correctly determines that Xyp9x will push first from short, knocking his head off with a Deagle headshot. With just an AWP unsuitable for a retake, dupreeh falls to mantled s1mple before his flash detonates.

Na’Vi would finish the first half 10-5, in part to this momentum swinging round from s1mple, then put up the walls on CT side, going 6/6 and ending the third map quickly 16-5. S1mple went without an ace in their semifinals rout of FaZe

Setting up a G2 shooting gallery during the IEM Cologne grand finals

G2 Esports NiKo IEM CologneImage via ESL.

A superstar showing from NiKo in Cologne, but just not enough this time around. (Image via ESL)

S1mple’s final ace came during the team’s crowning achievement at Cologne, a close but still dominant 3-0 win over G2 Esports in the grand final. For the third time, he wiped everyone out on Dust2, and completed the trifecta of getting an ace on mid, B site, and A site.

The first kill, shown at the end of the clip on replay, is pure absurdity as s1mple sprays down NiKo through smoke from B. He retreats to the care on long A, and then turns short A into a shooting gallery, tapping on the heads of JACK, AmaNEk, and nexa. Sensing history, he hunts down huNter- on catwalk, securing the ace; his fourth at Cologne.

Outside of just this ace, s1mple’s superior play throughout the series paved the way for a 3-0, although G2 made it one of the more closer 3-0’s in CS:GO history. With the win, Na’Vi repeated history on LAN with a grand finals sweep over G2, as s1mple made history yet again. The answer to who the best player in the world is is simple, but the answer to how to stop him is anything but.