Can Ninjas in Pyjamas Find Their Lost NiP Magic?

by Kevin Hitt

(Photo: IEM)

Is the “Ninja Magic” gone? Arguably the most popular team in the world, No. 5 Ninjas in Pyjamas is in the midst of a seven match losing streak and is 18-20 in the past three months.

Fans of NiP felt a great disturbance in CS:GO, as if thousands of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. They feared something terrible had happened. Obi-Wan could not have said it better himself as thousands of NiP fans threw up their hands in desperation and could not figure out how Vega Squadron dominated their heroes, 2-16 in an elimination match at the ELEAGUE Major Qualifier. They would miss playing in a Major for the first time in franchise history.

It didn't end at the qualifier. The losses are continuing to pile up. There is a certain subsection of people that believe that online matches aren’t any sort of indicator in terms of whether a team is good or not. Disagree. These online matches can give you insight into the mental and physical side of how a team is performing. And right now the indication is NiP is in a bad place.

They lost their opening round ESL Pro League Season 5 match to No. 13 Heroic, 7-16, 11-16, and then dropped their next match to a struggling No. 17 mousesports 10-16, 8-16. Yes, these are online matches, but logic would dictate that after their poor performance at the ELEAGUE Major Qualifier they would want to come out swinging and show the world they can still win. That didn’t happen.

In fact, according to various player rating metrics, only Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg is better than the average professional CS:GO player. The rest of the squad is playing at a replacement level, meaning that at this moment only one of the five players on this team can contribute in terms of K-D at a level equal to the average CS:GO Professional.

Is this just a phase in terms of the performance of this popular CS:GO squad? The Ninjas have gone through situations like in the past, most notably in 2015 and have climbed their way out of the death spiral. They learned how to play as a team and not just as individuals. But now what? They figured out how to win then, what will be their magic formula now?

The Ninjas need a young marquee player that has a fire and a will to compete. The Ninjas need to find the best talent available and teach this talent how play the game the Ninja's way. This group of friends need to realize this is a business. It’s time to look for a player that can be added to the squad that would give a reminder of what drive and determination looks like.

The Ninjas need a young marquee player that has a fire and a will to compete. The Ninjas need to find the best talent available and teach this talent how play the game the Ninja's way.

NiP missed out or simply opted out of the “Rostermania” that went down this past week when there were very talented players looking for a home. There are more than a few of these types out there that would leave their current team to be a Ninja.

Perhaps a great offer could have convinced Simon “twist” Eliasson or Joakim “Disco Doplan” Gidetun from going back to GODSENT. Twist played very well at the ELEAGUE Major with an overall K-D of +3 over nine maps. Disco Doplan is a young up and coming talent, even though his numbers at the ELEAGUE Major weren’t great. Either way, it didn’t happen which means that the Ninjas in Pyjamas believe they still have one of the best teams in the world.

With the argument that online matches do not mean much, fans will get to see the Ninjas in Pyjamas compete at the DreamHack Masters in Las Vegas, Nevada from February 15-19. This will be the first LAN played since the ELEAGUE Major Qualifier. They are in Group C at the Masters and open up against Cloud9 in the first round.

This is a huge tournament for the Swedish team. They need to win and show the world they can overcome adversity in the CS:GO landscape. Immediately after the DreamHack Masters, this group will head to Katowice, Poland to play in the IEM Season XI World Championships. If they don’t perform in these two tournaments, this could very well be the last time we see this group intrepid players take to the mouse and keyboard together.