It wouldn’t be a Major without NiP, would it? The Swedes are returning once again to the StarLadder Berlin Major, to challenge the best in the world. Their spot was secured after a playoff appearance at the Katowice Major, where they fell to the eventual champions Astralis 0-2.
Last Six Months Stats (on LAN)
Team K/D: 0.95
- Nuke – Played 14 times, 57.1% win rate
- Mirage – Played 17 times, 47.1% win rate
- Overpass – Played 13 times, 46.2% win rate
- Train – Played 9 times, 44.4% win rate
- Dust2 – Played 14 times, 35.7% win rate
- Inferno – Played 6 times, 16.7% win rate
- F0rest – Rating 1.11, K/D 1.11
- REZ – Rating 1.06, K/D 0.99
- Lekr0 – Rating 0.95, K/D 0.89
- GeT_RiGhT – Rating 0.92, K/D 0.87
NiP are in a confusing situation here. Due to the Major rules, they aren’t allowed to user their real fifth plopski at the StarLadder Berlin Major, as he previously competed in the European Minor with Team Ancient. As such, they’re using Golden, on load from C9.
This raises some interesting questions. Is Golden in game leading? My assumption would be yes, as he doesn’t really excel at anything else. How much practice time did they get with this roster? Will they be running an actual stratbook, or will they be scrimming out and relying on f0rest?
Either way, I wouldn’t put any of my hard earned smackeroos on NiP making it into the playoffs this year. Their last tournament win was at IEM Oakland in 2017, and their roster is too strange and unpracticed to go toe to toe with anyone in the top 10. Seeing as how there’s only eight spots in the playoffs, some simple math should tell us that NiP definitely aren’t making it to Legend status this year.
F0rest has been the saving grace for this team for a long time, both as a player that wins games and as the biggest factor in their watchability. It’s awesome to watch him dominate the young guns over and over, even after playing this game for over a decade. And by awesome, I really do mean it. It inspires awe. It’s like watching the game again for the first time, that’s how buttery smooth he is.
Of course, that’s unlikely to translate to winning very many games at the StarLadder Berlin Major. In Nip’s current state, the game has largely passed them by.
GeT_RiGhT is a foil for f0rest, just like he always has been. Where f0rest has aged gracefully, GTR looks like a shadow of his former self. The StarLadder Berlin Major could very well be his last chance at high level CS:GO play.
Lekr0 has been pretty disappointing. He was heralded as the savior of the Swedish scene, and it seems as though that isn’t the case. His performances over the last six months have been up and down, but mostly down. He went positive at the Katowice Major, and that’s about it.
While this team has been a bit of a mess, it still doesn’t explain/excuse Lekr0’s lackluster performance.
REZ is a big question mark for this team. He’s had a couple of standout events in the last six months, but nothing spectacular. I imagine this event will be a measuring stick for his performance going forward, and whether or not he remains on the team.
I feel really bad for Golden. After he was called up from the Fnatic Academy team, I had high hopes for him. He managed to lead a disorganized Fnatic to a title at IEM Katowice 2018, and my hopes shot even higher. Then, he was unceremoniously kicked from the team, picked up by a subpar Cloud9, and then wasted away for months, going in and out of the roster for health moves.
This could be his chance to put himself back on the map as a real IGL for a contending team. Assuming his team listens to him, and he does his job well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on a tier one team soon, maybe FaZe?
Their map pool isn’t the worst, I guess. We’ve certainly seen map pools that make me more nervous, let’s put it that way. Their lack of a standout map makes me worried about their performance in best of three’s, and the middle of their map pool is average. They have some okay wins, and some embarrassing losses.
What’s worrying is their Dust II and Inferno win rates. They’ll be picked apart in a best of three against any high level opponents, and will make series against teams worse than them harder than they need to be.
Strengths and Weaknesses
If there’s one thing you can say about this group, it’s that they’ve been there before. F0rest and GeT_RiGhT are two of the most winningest players ever, and they certainly have been on big stages before.
They have a similar problem to Furia, in that nothing stands out. F0rest is good, but he isn’t that good. He’ll maybe be top ten at this event, but he certainly isn’t good enough to carry a team into the playoffs like someone like ZywOo.
Ninjas in Pyjamas are not the titan they once were. They are a mid level team, prepared to have a mid level event. If anything, I expect them to be a candidate to get upset. Look for them to be matched up against “lesser” opponents, and put some money on their opponent.