The Ninjas in Pyjamas ship has slowly been sinking since former players Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez and Erlend “Nukeduck” Holm were suspended for using racial slurs at the start of June. Yesterday, it finally slipped beneath the water when the team bombed out of the Challenger series playoffs in fourth place, leaving them one game outside of promotions, where the team aimed to win a spot in League of Legends’ biggest competition, the League Championship Series.
The loss came as no surprise considering the team played without 16-year-old star jungler Tri Tin “k0u” Lam, who left just before the playoffs due to conflicts within the team.
And today, Lam and marksman Aleš “Freeze” Knežínek aired their dirty laundry, clashing over just why the talented youngster left the team.
Knežínek knocked Lam for “trolling and tilting in scrims” in a lengthy post on Facebook. He chronicles the tale of a temperamental teenger who would at times throw practice games on purpose in response to criticism.
He continues to say that Lam’s skill-level deteriorated, making it hard for him to execute his aggressive play style.
But the most damning accusation was the implication that Lam may have sabotaged his former team. “K0u got contacted by Gamers 2 [two] weeks before playoffs,” Knežínek wrote. “Just around the time when the try hard in scrims went to full troll mode and tilt.”
Lam’s response? Nuh-uh!
@FreezeLoL Atleast speak the truth m8 =) This is not even close, FYI I never played my own playstyle not even for a week.
— k0u (@k0ulol) August 8, 2014
@FreezeLoL Dont worry I will be, since u forgot to add everytime we lost a scrim ” We have no jungler ” when i had 100% kill participation
— k0u (@k0ulol) August 8, 2014
In a lengthy post of his own, Lam outlined the experience from his perspective, noting his motivation was down after the incident that left the team without original members Holm and Rodriguez.
“We all have bad games but when my own team started to claim that I was trolling or not taking scrims seriously, it made me perform worse than I had been previously,” Lam explained.
It wasn’t just that the game wasn’t fun anymore, he said, or that he was never able to play his own style, due to the team’s requirements. When he received an offer to join competitor Gamers 2, he initially declined, but after the team’s re-dedication to practice leading in to the playoffs quickly declined into a negative environment he changed his mind.
“I realized to myself that I could no longer grow as a player on NiP,” said Lam. “But I didn’t accept the offer right away.” He planned to finish playoffs with the team, but Ninjas in Pyjamas replaced him instead.
Lam offered Knežínek and Ninjas in Pyjamas an apology for his behavior on social media, and thanked his teammates for his time on the team, but the entire exchange reads like a bad public breakup. One Reddit user put together a GIF that perfectly encapsulates the futility of the public spat, with some help from the comedic genius of Monty Python.
Ninjas in Pyjamas looked like an all-star LCS squad when they formed at the start of the challenger season. The team featured superstar legend Alex “Alex Ich” Ichetovkin, who left Gambit Gaming for a new venture, as well experienced LCS veterans like Rodriguez, Holm, and Knežínek. Lam was the perfect addition, a young and fiery but inexperienced jungler with incredible mechanical skill who Ichetovkin could mold into a star.
But the team was mired with issues outside the game beginning with Holm and Rodriguez’s suspension and ending with this latest drama. It was another frustrating chapter in a long history of disappointment for Knežínek and the men in Pyjamas.