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S1mple Wil Miss IEM Sydney 2023
- Natus Vincere's Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev will miss Intel Extreme Masters Sydney 2023
- Coach Andrij "B1ad3" Ghorodensjkyj will stand-in
- Justinas "jL" Lekavicius will take over as AWPer
NaVi IEM Sydney 2023 announcement (credit: via Twitter (@natusvincere))
On Sunday, October 15, Natus Vincere announced that its star player Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev won't be attending Intel Extreme Mastery Sydney 2023. The team has not shared any details for s1mple's absence.
IEM Sydney 2023 is the first Counter-Strike 2 Big Event since the Counter-Strike scene transitioned to a new game version. However, despite the tournament's importance, NaVi will have to compete in Australia without its star player, s1mple.
In the official release, NaVi didn't reveal why s1mple will not travel to Australia to compete with his team and only confirmed that coach Andrij "B1ad3" Ghorodensjkyj will stand in to fill the gap and that Justinas "jL" Lekavicius will take up the Big Green.
B1ade serving as a stand-in severely harms NaVi's chances to leave a mark at the tournament, considering the 36-year-old hasn't played an official match since July 2018 when he was a part of FlipSid3 Tactics.
As a result of s1mple's absence, Natus Vincere's betting odds to win IEM Sydney 2023 increased to 21.00 from 10.00 before the news got announced. This gives them a mere 4.8% implied probability of winning the event, which will feature some of the top Counter-Strike teams in the world.
IEM Sydney 2023 is set to kick off on Monday, October 16, with the first round of the group stage and conclude on October 22 with the grand final. Natus Vincere got placed into Group A alongside Team Vitality, BetBoom Team, FaZe Clan, GamerLegion, Apeks, MOUZ, and VERTEX ESC.
Natus Vincere's first match of the tournament is scheduled for Tuesday, October 16, at 12:30 local time, when they face off against Apeks, with the winner set to play the winner of MOUZ vs VERTEX ESC.
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