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NAVI: Boombl4 out of first ESL Pro League games after tested positive for COVID-19

Ukraine-based professional esports organization Natus Vincere (NAVI) recently has announced their captain for CS:GO gaming division Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov, will not be attending the ESL Pro League Season 15 group stage after being tested positive for COVID-19.

NAVI explained Boombl4’s situation that while he will certainly miss the first matches, representing NAVI in the tournament, Boombl4 is set to join back with his team as soon as he has recovered. Additionally, the organization has revealed Boombl4’s replacement in his absence, which was taken directly from NAVI’s junior team, Daniil “Headtr1ck” Valitov.

“Before the flight to the ESL Pro League Season 15 venue, Kirill “BoombI4” Mikhailov did a PCR test for COVID-19, which turned out to be positive,” NAVI in the statement.

“Because of this, BoombI4 will miss the first matches of NAVI in the tournament, but will be able to join the team after recovering. Until then, his place will be taken by Daniil “Headtr1ck” Valitov, a player of the NAVI Junior team, who urgently flew to Dusseldorf. Headtr1ck will play matches separately from the rest of the guys, being in isolation.”

Ahead of ESL Pro League Season 15, replacement

Boombl4 is a Russian professional CS:GO player playing for NAVI as captain and team’s entry fragger. He alongside fellow teammates on the roster, namely head coach Denis “electroNic” Sharipov, Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy, Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi, and Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev is set to make their ESL debut this season at Merkur Spiel-Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany.

However, ahead of making their debut from March 30 to April 3, Boombl4 will have to be forced put on the sideline following his COVID-19 test results. This has affected the team much since NAVI is quite in a tough spot in the competition’s group stage.

Notably, this is not the first time Boombl4 has been tested positive for COVID-19. The player, as reports suggest, in only less than two months has been tested positive, rendering him unable to participate in two esports tournaments so far. Previously, the Russian professional player was forced to play isolated from matches during the IEM Katowice group stage.

The captain’s absence from a few matches in the competition could potentially be risky for the team. Moreover, NAVI is placed in Group D, competing against the big names of esports such as Astralis, Evil Geniuses, AGO, Complexity Gaming, and Heroic.

Regardless of finding Boombl4’s replacement ahead of the competition, the said replacement player, in this case, the 17-year-old Ukrainian player Headtr1ck who reportedly catch a flight to Düsseldorf, the youngster is required to undergo quarantine or isolation as a result of his travel.

Difficulties in group stage matches

This could highly affect the team’s coordination onwards, as Headtr1ck will have to play separately in isolation from his teammates in the upcoming matches. Additionally, since the match opener is set to begin early as NAVI will be playing AGO on March 30, Headtr1ck will have to adapt with the rest of the members on short notice.

Regardless, while Boombl4 might be away for some time, NAVI’s fans perhaps may rejoice since the organization is fairly diverse and not pushing away Russian players, in this case, Boombl4 himself and electroNic who appears to have decided to stay with NAVI, regardless of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Back on March 28 in an interview with the Washington Post, NAVI CEO Yevhen Zolotarov stated his “preference” to not work “with people who live in Russia and who pay taxes to the Russian Federation.”