Natus Vincere officially signed Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy from Syman to its CS:GO roster today. The 20-year-old Russian will replace the veteran Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács.
GuardiaN was reportedly benched last week, and since then, Na’Vi has tried to sign a young player. Evgeny “FL1T” Lebedev from forZe was Na’Vi’s primary target but the organizations didn’t reach an agreement. The Ukrainian organization then turned its eyes toward Perfecto and reportedly acquired him for $200,000.
This ends GuardiaN’s second stint with Na’Vi, which lasted only four months. He played on the team from 2013 to 2017 and helped the squad win several titles, including ESL One New York in October 2016, before he signed with FaZe Clan in 2017.
After two successful years on FaZe, he returned to Na’Vi in September 2019 and took over the AWP from Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, the best player in the world in 2018. But the change didn’t pay off since GuardiaN struggled individually. Na’Vi’s best result with the Slovakian sniper was reaching the semifinals at ESL Pro League season 10 in December.
“A few days after the EPICENTER, we spoke with the players and agreed that the squad did not have the synergy we expected to reach by the end of the year,” said Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy, Na’Vi’s head coach. “One of the reasons is the language barrier, which was especially obvious during the game against tier-one teams, where the quality and speed of communication is of great importance.”
With this change, s1mple will be Na’Vi’s main sniper again. Unlike GuardiaN, Perfecto barely has experience against tier-one teams. The 20-year-old, however, was statistically Syman’s best player during the StarLadder Berlin Major New Challengers stage in September 2019, according to HLTV.
“Despite the lack of experience, Perfecto fits in our team perfectly due to his personality, manner of thought and playstyle,” B1ad3 said.
Perfecto will make his debut with Na’Vi next week at the ICE Challenge, starting on Feb. 1.