Ninjas in Pyjamas Valorant Drops Paladins Roster for CS:GO Prospects

by in Valorant | Jun, 25th 2020

In a young esport like Valorant, team roster stability isn’t exactly something you would expect to happen. As it turns out, Ninjas in Pyjamas just proved this theory absolutely correct as they’ve already announced that they are dropping their Valorant roster, formerly their Championship Paladins roster, after some poor finishes.

Instead, they are focusing on CS:GO pros, as they seem to be the recipe for success in recent tournaments for big organizations like T1, Cloud9, and TSM. Instead, they will be recruiting Emir “rhyme” Muminovic and Niels “luckeRRR” Jasiek, the latter of BIG fame, and the former a relatively unknown Norweigan pro.

NIP’s Former Paladins Fail to Live up to Valorant Expectations

The former Ninjas in Pyjamas Paladins team, consisting of Malkolm “bonkar” Rench, Dylan “DiGeDoG” Chainski, Leander “isbittenner” Aspestrand, and Aleks “Alex” Suchev, and led by Erik “Bird” Sjösten, did not perform nearly as well as the orgainzation hoped in Valorant.

During their two months with the team, this roster only racked up modest results.

Ninjas in Pyjamas Valorant Results With Former Paladins Team:

  • 1st place in the ELITE Esports – Rivalry Bowl EU, Wave Esports Cup #1
  • 2nd place at Cooler Cup
  • 3rd place at Take the Throne #6 and Mandatory Cup
  • Bottomed out at Epulze Valorant Prodigies, LAVA Series #1, and Gdolph EU Showdown #1

The team has not competed since June 15, and has failed to secure invites to most large scale tournaments such as Twitch Rivals.

“Knowing the developers behind VALORANT and their ambitions for the game, we decided to enter the competitive scene very early on,” Jonas Gundersen, COO at  A perfect way to do that was to bring our old Paladins stack back, giving us a great way to learn and understand how the game and ecosystem dynamics will pan out. I knew we’d have to be able to navigate swiftly and it’s clear that the general traction and popularity of the game have seen the competitive environment escalate a lot quicker than first anticipated.”

COVID-19 also presented some challenges for Ninjas in Pyjamas as DiGeDog had to be let go, as the geographical challenges presented issues for the team. This left only two players in the active roster, who have now been released in favor of CS:GO pros – even though they are of questionable talent and history compared to the pedigree of some other teams.

Who Are NIP’s New CS:GO Recruits?

Emir “rhyme” Muminovic and Niels “luckeRRR” Jasiek both are players that do not have a ton of CS:GO pedigree to their names. LuckeRRR is best known for a brief stint with Berlin International Gaming (or BIG, to most people,) where he was slotted in after Smooya left the team. They were unable to find a massive amount of success with him, and as such he has been sent to free agency for some time, now looking to find his fortune in Riot’s new hit FPS.

Rhyme is also an enigma, having played for Riddle Esports as well as a number of other tier 3 and 4 CS:GO orgainzations. In fact, his only notable success was placing 1st during the Prefire The League back in 2017, but since then has been relatively inactive.

It’s unclear exactly what Ninjas in Pyjamas sees in these two new recruits, but must be relying on Luckerrr’s time with BIG to help construct a roster that’s worth keeping around in Valorant.

Will This Move Pay off for NIP in the Long Run?

Valorant is still very young and many teams are still trying to establish their identities while securing invites to the Ignition Series. However, many events in the Ignition Series itself are still inviting teams made up of a mix of pros and influencers – meaning that many teams aren’t even able to fully compete in the biggest Valorant tournaments just yet.

As such, NiP and other teams likely have plenty of time to establish a full roster of five players and a coach before real tournaments with massive prize pools begin happening. It’s unclear exactly when or what form those tournaments will take, too. With Coronavirus still dampening the amount of live events that can take place around the world, it’s likely that teams and perhaps Riot will be the ones running the show online for some time to come. With that being the case, it’s unclear exactly when merit based invites will take precedence over invites designed to snag viewership from curious fans who want to see their favorite streamer try their luck with their friends.

Ninjas in Pyjamas taking their time, and really getting their footing with a solid Valorant squad, could pay off while other teams are more focused on grabbing the early hype and influencers. They certainly have the management pedigree to pull it off in esports and have built several successful teams over the years across CS:GO and League of Legends. Time will ultimately tell.


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