Entering the knockout rounds for the first time in nearly a year. Will CAC be a turning point in NIP’s destiny?

Swedish giant Ninjas in Pajamas made it into the knockout rounds of the just-concluded CAC tournament and ultimately finished 5th-6th.

Although the results are mediocre, it is worth mentioning that this is the first time in nearly a year that Ninjas in Pajamas has entered the knockout stage. So, will the CAC tournament be the starting point for NIP to reverse its fortunes and embark on a prosperous road?

The cursed year

As one of the most prestigious teams in the history of CS, NIP has left its own mark in both the 1.6 and CSGO eras. The familiar 87-game winning streak, reaching the finals of the first five Major events, etc. are all exclusive things NIP has left to us. memory. However, in the middle and later stages of CSGO, as Swedish CS talents gradually withered, NIP gradually fell off the altar. Especially in the nearly one year before the start of the CAC, NIP had no chance to enter the knockout stages of top events.

The BLAST Autumn Finals held in November last year was the last time NIP appeared on the knockout stage of a top event before CAC. Perhaps even the Ninjas in Pajamas themselves did not expect that they would be cursed for the next 12 months. Similarly, they missed the knockout rounds of various competitions one after another:

IEM Katowice 2023: 13th-16th place

EPL S17: 17-20 people

IEM Rio 2023: 7-8th place (did not enter the knockout rounds)

BLAST Paris Major 2023: 9th-11th place

IEM Cologne 2023: 13th-16th place

EPL S18: 21-28 people

TP World Championship 2023: 13th-16th place

Kangaroo Cup 2023: 9th-12th place

Frequent substitutions and lack of patience

Compared with the team that entered the knockout stage of last year’s BLAST Autumn Championship, NIP’s lineup has undergone earth-shaking changes. Now only Fredrik Sterner | REZ and Patrick Hansen | es3tag remain in the lineup, of which es3tag was also delegated during this period until Only recently returned to the lineup.

In the past year, NIP has tried multiple combinations: at the beginning of the year, they introduced young player Daniil Valitov | headtr1ck, and used Kristian Wienecke | k0nfig to replace Hampus Poser | hampus who left the team due to illness. This substitution did not pay off. The results were immediate, perhaps because the lineup was not well integrated, and NIP overturned in IEM Katowice and EPL S17 events one after another. The next IEM Rio was the closest NIP’s lineup came to the knockout rounds. In a fateful life-and-death battle, they lost to Heroic and missed the knockout rounds. In the next Paris Major, although NIP won a seat in the “Legend Group”, this result did not satisfy the management. They quickly removed Aleksi Virolainen | Aleksib and replaced him with hampus. Due to the insufficient integration of the lineup, NIP naturally did not achieve any good results in the following Cologne and EPL S18 events. After returning from the EPL S18 defeat, NIP once again had the idea of ​​adjusting the lineup. This time Ludvig Brolin | Brollan and hampus were delegated, and es3tag was once again recruited into the team. However, the team also failed to achieve good results in the two online competitions of the TP World Championship and Kangaroo Cup. The NIP management learned from the painful experience and introduced Alejandro Masanet | alex.

Will CAC be a turning point in NIP’s destiny?

Although Alex did not follow NIP to China to participate in the CAC, NIP showed a tenacious performance on the CAC venue. They first lost to the champion FaZe in overtime with a substitute, and then defeated Wings Up 2-0, but In the end, they were not strong enough and lost to ENCE with a score of 1-2, stopping in the top 6.

Although NIP failed to make it to the end, the CAC event was the first time they entered the knockout stage in nearly a year, which is undoubtedly a good sign.

Needless to say, Alex’s team leadership ability. Under his leadership, Movistar Riders had a strong explosion last year. Not only did they win the DreamHack Valencia station, but they also entered the semi-finals of IEM Cologne. This year, the team won the championship under Alex’s leadership. Under his leadership, he also entered the knockout round of EPL S18 and won the championship in ESL Challenge Melbourne. Next, the only thing that may need to be worried about is Alex’s international team experience. After all, he has never had actual combat experience in an international team before. Let us leave the answer to time and see if the Spanish conductor has the ability to bring NIP out of the quagmire and return to the first team.