In the past two months NiP have reached a level reminiscent of their form in 2014, where they were arguably favorites at any event they competed in. But in 2015 the team entered a steep decline, and would consistently crumble against top competition. This year has been one of resurgence for the Swedish team. With the acquisition of Jacob “pyth” Mourojärvi and coach Björn “THREAT” Pers at the beginning of the year, NiP was able to claim their first victory at a premier event in April, defeating two-time major finalists Natus Vincere at DreamHack Malmö.
Victory was, however, at no point guaranteed for the Swedish side. After the conclusion of the group’s initial round robin-stage, G2 Esports were the only undefeated team left in the group and had, up until the semi-finals, not dropped a single map. This comes after their equally impressive second-place finish at the recent ESL-ESEA Pro League Season 3 LAN finals in London on May 15. It’s now safe to say that G2 Esports are looking like one of the best CS:GO teams on the planet.
This success seems to stem from the dynamic duo of Richard “shox” Papillon and Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom, whose deadly accuracy lets them turn seemingly any disadvantaged situation in their favor. ScreaM in particular appears to be in the best shape of his career, something that was made all the more apparent during their match in the semi-finals against North American team Selfless. There Benrlitom managed to end the opening map Cache with 30-6 in kills/deaths, showcasing the dominance that the “headshot machine” can exude in-game.
But despite G2 Esports’ conquest of the round robin-stage, where they even defeated NiP, the Swedes delivered a resounding performance against their French adversaries in the group’s grand final. The lineup, which stars CS:GO legends such as Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund and Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg, took a comfortable 16-9 victory against G2 on series-opener Cache, finally dashing shox and company’s hopes on Train, where NiP won with a crushing 16-3 scoreline.
NiP will now join Group A winners Luminosity in the ELEAGUE playoffs, which will begin two weeks after the conclusion of the six week-long group stage-phase.