Ninjas in Pyjamas have been struggling to get the results they wanted for the past 18 months. When they bought Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz from Astralis in April 2021, their hope was to conquer CS:GO as they once had.
But it didn’t happen and in December 2021, dev1ce simply disappeared from the game. To this day, we don’t know what happened to him. So in 2022, NiP have tried to reach the top without their superstar, reaching the fourth position at the end of May.
Since then, they dropped back to the sixth position, but the overall feeling is that they could do a lot better. And that is probably why Nicolas “Plopski” Zamora was replaced with Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen. Time will tell if this was a good move or not. At first glance, it looks very risky.
OUR NEW TACTICAL GENIUS! 🥷
— NIP CS:GO (@NIPCS) September 8, 2022
Aleksib joined NiP not just as a casual player, but as their new IGL. This means that his philosophy of the game will play a huge role in determining the team’s playstyle.
Aleksib hit his peak back in 2019, when he won a few important trophies with ENCE and played in several other Grand Finals, including the one of IEM Katowice Major. Since then, Aleksib competed for two other teams, OG and G2 Esports. His results weren’t terrible, but they weren’t what the orgs had hoped either.
The reason why he moved from one top team to another was that he always seemed to be an excellent player, yet never quite delivered what was expected of him. To be fair, he helped OG finish second at Flashpoint Season 2, and G2 finish second at IEM Katowice 2022.
In 2022, apart from that IEM Katowice success, his track record is not great relative to G2’s ambitions — At PGL Major Antwerp, the team finished 9th-11th. At IEM Cologne, the result was almost identical: 9th-12th. And G2 have a formidable roster, with star players like Nikola “NiKo” Kovac and Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov.
The question that we might ask is this: if he couldn’t succeed with G2, how is he going to succeed with NiP? It seems that NiP don’t just want to be a top 10 team. If that was their goal, they would have simply kept playing with Plopski. They clearly want to be a top-three team, and that will be really hard to achieve.
Aleksib will need a lot of time just to adapt to NiP’s playstyle, or to make the team adapt to his. With the qualifiers for the IEM Rio Major just four weeks away, the Swedes need to find a success formula fast. Otherwise, they might miss the boat.
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