For two years, the players at Ninjas in Pyjamas had been in the midst of one of the most impressive streaks in esports. In June, that streak was brought to an abrupt and unexpected halt.
The Ninjas in Pyjamas Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team hadn’t finished outside of the top four at any live competition since August, 2012. Numerous titles were won during this time, and the Swedish side had firmly established themselves as the world’s best in Counter-Strike.
It was an amazing run, but it all came to an end in Dallas, Texas. June’s ESEA finals, which Ninjas in Pyjamas had twice before won, would see the team finish tied for fifth after series losses to American side Complexity and Polish juggernaut Virtus Pro.
Longtime Ninjas in Pyjamas player Robin “Fifflaren” Johansson spoke with the Daily Dot to discuss the end of the team’s streak and where they plan to go from here.
Ending the streak of top four finishes
For two years now we’ve always ended up in the top four, ESEA was our first time finishing as low as fifth. It’s very hard to be so consistent for two years. Sooner or later it will happen. For us it wasn’t a big deal. Other people made it a bigger deal.
Losing to Complexity
I think it’s one of those things where we heard that they haven’t been playing much, that they’ve had issues with their roster. They always take one game off of us so we know they’re good, but they changed in-game leaders so they have a new way of playing. It’s just one of those things, we had an off day and they played really well.
Losing to Virtus Pro
I think it’s a toss-up when we play them. It’s always close with them because they’re really consistent as well, it’s just about which maps you win. We lost on cache and on inferno, which is a map we’ve had problems with since Dreamhack Summer. It was 50/50 and they were a bit more prepared. If it had come down to maps we’re more comfortable with, we probably win the games.
Breaking down what went wrong
We played two good teams, lost two very hard games and we just couldn’t beat one of them. We just go back and work on went wrong.
Sticking together as a team
Even if we have an internal issue or two we can bring it up and try to solve it. We’re proud of that, you don’t see that much in esports. (In other teams) if someone has a problem they might just leave or do something drastic like that. We try to work with each other and make the best of it.
Winning making things easier
We’ve been so consistent for two years that it’s a lot easier to actually work on our problems. If you don’t place well at events then it’s harder. But we’ve always been stable and consistent so we don’t have a lot to fix.
The team’s time in America
It’s been nice and warm. We’ve been here a few times before and it’s always a nice time, getting to meet some of the American players, having a good time with them because you don’t see them too often. We had time between events so we got to see Austin a little bit. It’s been good.
Their impression of American teams
I think they’ve always been good. Internationally it’s mainly been Complexity, but now iBUYPOWER is a lot better. Those two teams are very solid and can definitely compete at the top.
American teams beyond the top two
For the other teams below Complexity and iBUYPOWER, I think they still need to work a little harder. There’s still a gap between those two top teams and the rest. Flying to Europe (for events) is hard for other teams. Netcode Guides beat (Spanish side) Over Gaming but it’s hard to judge them for that. We won’t see Netcode Guides fly to Europe because it’s a lot of money. It’s just a shame that we can’t see more of those teams playing.
If it’s good for the scene as a whole for American teams to again succeed
For sure. If a scene doesn’t have as single top team, that scene is doomed. People that play in the United States would think there’s no point in getting good if there weren’t organizations willing to send them overseas to compete and there weren’t enough talent for them to work with. When you have these top teams around it’s just better for the whole scene.
Spreading that same success back to Asia
I think with Asia, the problem is that if you want to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive you need a pretty good computer. In Asia, they might not spend that money just to play. The player base in Asia is already low. Just holding one big tournament in Asia would help, you see that going on in America, having tournaments that give people the chance to go somewhere and compete.
The debate on the number of maps used in tournaments
We need to use seven maps, it’s more exciting. You don’t always want to see the same maps being played. I hope we will see more tournaments with seven maps. It gives teams more maps to choose from and it opens up the level of competition as well because you see which teams are dedicated and which are not.
The team’s plans upon their return to Sweden
After this event we’re going to take a three-week break. We go to as many tournaments as possible if it’s worth it for us, so now we’re just going to go home and spend some time with our partners, relax, and in three weeks time we’ll prepare for G3 and ESL One Cologne (in August).
Image via Facebook/NiP-Gaming