Prior to the team’s presence at the IEM Rio Major in November, Liquid has confirmed the permanent addition of Latvian rifler Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gainskis, while Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, 25, has inked a contract extension with Natus Vincere that will keep him with the squad for an additional three years.
The Yekindar Addition
Given that YEKINDAR has been stepping in for Liquid since June, covering the void created by Richard “shox” Papillon’s benching, the news shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The addition of the 23-year-old rifler immediately paid off for the North American team, as their performances quickly improved. Starting with a 5–6th place finish at IEM Cologne and continuing into the second half of the season with a runner-up finish at ESL Pro League Season 16, Liquid achieved their highest offline finish since the BLAST Pro Series Global Final in 2019.
All of the Liquid players gave YEKINDAR credit for raising the team’s level throughout that run with planning and revised strategies. Liquid’s form continued at the IEM Road to Rio Americas RMR, where they took first place.
Over the past four months, players on the team have repeatedly expressed their desire for YEKINDAR to formally sign with them, but the task has been made challenging by Liquid’s inability to directly buy him out of his contract with Virtus.pro due to the organization’s connections to the Russian government and US-imposed sanctions on it.
The Latvian prodigy declared on Friday that he has bought himself out of his contract, ending the impasse and making him a free agent. There was no doubt that Liquid would be his final stop, despite the fact that the phrasing of his Tweet allowed room for ambiguity regarding the team he would join.
S1mple stays home
S1mple, who joined Natus Vincere in 2016 from Liquid, has played a crucial role in the team’s accomplishments over the last six years, helping them win multiple S-tier competitions and their first-ever Major in CS:GO.
The Ukrainian superstar has consistently been ranked among the top 20 players since making the switch, finishing fourth in 2016, eighth in 2017, first in 2018, second in 2019 and 2020, and reclaiming the title of best player in the world in 2021.
Natus Vincere won 11 trophies at major competitions like ESL One New York 2016, IEM Cologne 2018, and BLAST Premier Spring Finals 2022 with the “Undertakerassistance. “‘s Additionally, his services helped the squad win the third installment of the Intel Grand Slam as well as the PGL Major Stockholm.
Prior to the IEM Rio 2022 Major, Natus Vincere secures their franchise player with this extension: The announcement from the Ukrainian group stated that “Brazil will be the site for s1mple to once again become one of the architects of NAVI’s success.”
Natus Vincere won the European RMR in Malta and qualified for the Legends Stage of the next Major by taking the top spot on the podium. As usual, s1mple played a significant role in their accomplishment, earning a rating of 1.48 and an effect rating of 1.55.