S1mple, professional CS:GO player, playing at IEM Rio 2023
Photo by Luc Bouchon via ESL Gaming

NAVI keeps s1mple leading CS:GO roster amid 3 major international pickups

NAVI is down to just two Ukrainian players for CS2.

Natus Vincere (NAVI) has signed Finnish in-game leader Aleksib, the Romanian star rifler Ivan “iM” Mihai, and the Lithuanian player Justinas “jL” Lekavicius on June 30 to play alongside s1mple and b1t ahead of CS2‘s release.

Recommended Videos

These new players arrived to take the place of the in-game leader and star rifler electroNic, Perfecto, and the youngster Andrij “npl” Kukharsjkyj.

This marks an unprecedented change in NAVI’s history in CS esports as the Ukrainian organization had never built an international lineup until now. NAVI has been known for making rosters with a majority of Ukrainian players, but now s1mple and b1t will be the only ones to carry the tradition after the pickups of Aleksib, iM, and jL were confirmed.

These roster changes come at a time in which NAVI has been struggling to achieve good results in CS:GO. The team had an understandable dip in form since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February 2022, and it got worse after the organization parted ways with its former Russian in-game leader Boombl4 in May 2022.

ElectroNic was made the new IGL, but the move didn’t pan out. NAVI only won the BLAST Premier Spring Final in June 2022 with him in charge and were inconsistent in tournaments. The promotion of academy player npl in January 2023 only made things worse, and NAVI has now chosen to take a different path. Russians electroNic and Perfecto are out and so is npl, making room for a new trio.

NAVI made some good money with the transfer of m0NESY to G2 in 2022—around $600,000, according to HLTV—and is now putting that money to use with the acquisitions of Aleksib from Ninjas in Pyjamas, iM from GamerLegion, and jL from Apeks.

Out of the three signings, iM is the most interesting one. The Romanian was the revelation of the BLAST Paris Major in May as he helped GamerLegion to make a hell of a Cinderella run all the way to the grand finals while finishing the tournament as the second highest-rated player. The signing of jL is also good on paper as he also had a great run in the Paris Major and was Apeks’ best player throughout their semifinal run.

The only doubt lies in Aleksib’s capability of leading another starred lineup. The Finn didn’t achieve much success ever since he left ENCE in 2019, and left G2 and NiP without winning a single trophy in July 2022 and June 2023, respectively.

The new NAVI roster will debut against Vitality on July 8 in a showmatch.


Dot Esports is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article CS2 nerfs incendiary and T-side plant money, adds skin rentals in May 23 update
M4A4 and A site of Vertigo in CS2.
Read Article Valve’s latest CS2 patch contains a single note—and players don’t know what to think anymore
A selection of barrels and plywood at the top of Banana on Inferno in CS2.
Read Article Gamers agree this CS-turned-Twitch superstar is best FPS player ever—but there’s ‘many GOATs’
The Spodek Arena stage lights up in front of fans for the IEM Katowice 2024 grand final.
Related Content
Read Article CS2 nerfs incendiary and T-side plant money, adds skin rentals in May 23 update
M4A4 and A site of Vertigo in CS2.
Read Article Valve’s latest CS2 patch contains a single note—and players don’t know what to think anymore
A selection of barrels and plywood at the top of Banana on Inferno in CS2.
Read Article Gamers agree this CS-turned-Twitch superstar is best FPS player ever—but there’s ‘many GOATs’
The Spodek Arena stage lights up in front of fans for the IEM Katowice 2024 grand final.
Author
Leonardo Biazzi
Staff writer and CS:GO lead. Leonardo has been passionate about games since he was a kid and graduated in Journalism in 2018. Before Leonardo joined Dot Esports in 2019, he worked for Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte. Leonardo also worked for HLTV.org between 2020 and 2021 as a senior writer, until he returned to Dot Esports and became part of the staff team.