More than five years after first joining NAVI in a highly anticipated move, Denis “electroNic” Sharipov will leave the Ukrainian outfit as one of the best riflers in the world.
Hailed as one of the best riflers in the world for years, electroNic will leave Natus Vincere as the Ukrainian organization has chosen to leave the CIS scene for the first time in its history. Joining from FlipSid3 as one of the hottest prospects in the scene, the Russian rifler rapidly adapted to tier-one competition and became a driving force in NAVI’s long-standing presence at the top. From talent to titan, from teammate to captain, electroNic has left a deep mark on the history of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. As the game approaches its last months, the Russian aims to take his talents elsewhere and bring another lineup to international glory.
With electroNic leaving NAVI after almost six years, in what is shaping up to be a highly anticipated move, let’s go over his time in the Ukrainian squad, which saw him secure a Major title at PGL Stockholm.
2017-18: A rookie year to remember
electroNic joined NAVI after a rapid climb through the ranks, which culminated in the starlet leading FlipSid3 to another Major appearance at PGL Krakow 2017. He finished the event as a top-ten player despite a 2-3 record, leading the Russian rifler to be immediately snapped up by a Natus Vincere, aiming to rebuild after a year of disappointing performances. Led by a newly crowned Major winner in Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko, the Ukrainian-Russian squad hit the ground running and secured a title at DreamHack Open Winter 2017 before securing a top-four placement at the ELEAGUE Major in Boston.
With an exceptional Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Egor “flamie” Vasilyev in career-best form, NAVI became the main contender to the legendary Astralis quintet. The Ukrainians won back-to-back-to-back LAN titles at StarSeries i-League Season 5, CS:GO Asia Championships and ESL One Cologne, with electroNic performing as an incredible partner to s1mple. The rivalry with the Danes reached its highest point at the Grand Final of the FACEIT Major in London, a tournament electroNic finished as the highest-rated player. It wasn’t to be, however, as Astralis dominated the final to win their first title with Emil “Magisk” Reif.
NAVI remained a top contender for the rest of the year but faltered on multiple occasions and only secured another title at the infamous best-of-one-only BLAST Premier: Copenhagen. electroNic’s exceptional rookie year in tier-one earned him the fourth spot on HLTV’s Top 20 Players list for 2018 thanks to a staggering nine EVP performances across the year and incredible T-side rifling.
2019: Becoming a superstar
The team’s success was not to be repeated in 2019; however, as flamie’s game showed more and more cracks and Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev’s decline continued. NAVI failed to keep up with the higher standard of play required by the new elite teams like Liquid, NRG, Vitality and ENCE, as the Finnish outfit upset electroNic’s team in the IEM Katowice Major semifinals. The team recovered to win StarSeries i-League Season 7, but that would be their only title of the year.
As the summer rolled in and electroNic continued his exceptional form, NAVI started integrating future IGL Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov into their roster, with Zeus openly planning retirement. At the StarLadder Major in Berlin, electroNic was once again the highest-rated player, dragging his team to a narrow quarter-final loss against NRG. However, the event only served to further highlight the Ukrainian outfit’s rising impotence against the world’s best. These issues were further compounded by the uninspiring addition of AWPer Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács in Zeus’ place, which did little to improve NAVI’s form even as the Russian flourished into one of the most impactful riflers in recent history.
A handful of top-four finishes followed at DreamHack Masters Malmö, BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen and EPL Season 10 Finals, but NAVI were unable to match their 2018 highs. The NAVI duo were not to blame, however, as they did not falter in comparison with rising stars, such as Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski and Keith "NAF" Markovic, and s1mple and electroNic placed at #2 and #6, respectively, on HLTV’s Top-20 list for the year. In the Russian’s case, he dominated key events and showed impressive consistency.
2020: Progress and stagnation
NAVI understood that mediocrity was not an option and immediately cut GuardiaN in favor of Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy, creating a powerful core. electroNic’s elite form only improved entering 2020, as the Russian rifler dominated the opposition at ICE Challenge and finished the event with a 1.12 rating lead and despite NAVI’s second-place finish, he secured his only MVP medal to date. While the COVID-19 pandemic started ravaging Europe, the Ukrainian organization dominated IEM Katowice by beating FaZe, Astralis, Liquid and G2 on their way to the title, even with a relatively muted electroNic.
The move to online Counter-Strike, however, prevented NAVI from trying their hand at a Major title, and the team’s sporadic international appearances came in the form of more top-four finishes at ESL Pro League Season 11, DreamHack Masters Spring 2020 and BLAST Premier Spring. The team looked to finally make their big break in September, as they reached the Grand final of ESL Pro League Season 12 with a 9-1 series record. Once again, however, NAVI crashed head-first into Astralis, the Danish outfit recovering from a 0-2 deficit to reverse-sweep electroNic’s team and save a match point in the process.
NaVi would record another Grand final heartbreak at IEM Beijing-Haidian Europe, closing the year as one of the main contenders for big titles, but with a single international LAN win for the second straight year. However, the biggest piece of news would be the introduction of a six-man roster with the soon-to-be starter Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy joining the team. While team results were disappointing, electroNic still ended the year as the 6th best player, collecting eight EVP nominations and once again shining the most in playoffs and key matchups.
2021: From excellence to world dominance
2021 was the year NAVI’s puzzle of roster moves finally fell into place, with electroNic leading the charge in the rifling department and Perfecto and b1t developing into elite players. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, however, as despite a title at BLAST Premier Global Final, the six-man roster experiment failed to catch on and saw NAVI exit both Pro League Season 13 and IEM Katowice in the Group Stage. Even electroNic didn’t look exceptional in the team’s first outings, raising even more doubts.
It only took three months for NAVI to figure out the solution, with flamie sitting out multiple events in favor of sixth-man b1t. The results speak for themselves: the team won DreamHack Masters Spring, secured the StarLadder CIS RMR title, and dominated IEM Cologne without dropping maps in the playoffs. Cologne itself marked a turning point in electroNic’s year, as the Russian rifler had maintained a good but below-standard form in the first half of 2021. While not enough to displace s1mple in the MVP race, electroNic’s 1.23 rating was the fourth-highest at the event.
The summer break did nothing to stop NAVI’s continuous rise, as the team won three titles in their four appearances in the last five months of the year. electroNic triumphed at the PGL Stockholm Major, securing the title with a 10-0 record in maps and recording an exceptional 1.27 HLTV rating. The Ukrainian-Russian squad then secured both the BLAST Premier Fall Final and World Final titles, solidifying NAVI’s status as the undisputed #1 of the year and building the foundation for an era. As three NAVI players made the top ten in the HLTV end-of-2021 player rankings, electroNic settled at #7, mostly a byproduct of how he wasn’t required to dominate for his team to fight for big titles.
2022: A new challenge
NAVI’s started faltering as soon as the new year began, and even if the team remained a contender, they were unable to stop FaZe from taking the mantle as the scene’s leading team. The final nail in the legendary roster was the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which profoundly disrupted the team’s IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League campaigns. The quintet then reached Antwerp to defend their Major title at the PGL Major, surviving a scare from Heroic to convincingly make their second Grand Final in a row. But, FaZe would come out victorious, denying electroNic his second title in what would be Boombl4’s final event with the team, as the Russian IGL was considered a “high reputational risk” for the organization and subsequently dropped.
With Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev filling the final spot on the roster, electroNic would take another step in his career and take over as the team’s IGL. The Russian star immediately led by example with a 1.25 rating in his team’s winning campaign at the BLAST Premier Spring Final and continued his good form in Cologne as NAVI were narrowly edged out in the Grand Final by arch-rivals FaZe. It wasn’t to last, as leadership duties started taking their toll and soon after, electroNic lived through the worst period of his tier-one career.
As s1mple kept the team relevant, NAVI’s loss in the IEM Rio Major playoffs against home favorites FURIA marked the lowest point of the year. The struggling side tried to replicate b1t’s success by adding academy talent Andrii "npl" Kukharsky to the roster, progressively replacing sdy at BLAST Premier World Finals. The year would mark the end of electroNic’s Top 20 Player streak, with a mediocre individual year capped by the failed leading experiment.
2023: Troubled times and re-discovering electroNic
Coming into 2023, NAVI failed to return to their 2021 era of dominance and regressed into a tournament contender, as electroNic and b1t improved but remained inconsistent. A top-four finish at IEM Katowice was overshadowed by the quintet showing itself as completely toothless against elite teams, failing to pass eight rounds in four maps against G2 and Heroic. A strong performance by electroNic meant another top-four finish at ESL Pro League Season 17, beating Heroic in the process, but this time it was FaZe to stop the Ukrainian-majority squad in the semifinals. The Danish squad got their revenge in Rio, with NAVI falling to Heroic in two maps even as electroNic kept up the good form.
It wasn’t long until NAVI would collapse for the last time, as the Ukrainian organization collapsed out of the BLAST Major in Paris in the Legends Stage after a loss to Liquid, a 0-2 against Monte, sdy’s new team, and a narrow 1-2 loss to FaZe where the team squandered six match points. While npl was the weak link in the team at the French event, electroNic was also unable to replicate the decent form shown in the first half of the year. The failure of the npl experiment led NAVI to reconsider their entire CS:GO philosophy, with the organization opting for an international pivot at the expense of the young Ukrainian and the Russian duo of electroNic and Perfecto.
Rumored to be joining NAVI’s once arch-rivals in Cloud9 alongside Perfecto, electroNic leaves the team after five and a half years of successes, even though NAVI often underperformed compared to the pieces they had to play with. As Boombl4’s time within the organization came to an end, electroNic showed initiative and commitment by taking on the IGL role, sacrificing his outstanding individual talent for the team’s sake. Now with a new game on the horizon and a fresh start, potentially alongside vocal players like Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov and Abay “H0bbit” Khassenov, the time is right for electroNic to show his true colors again.