The Swedish superstars in Ninjas in Pyjamas seem to have found their stride again as Björn ”Threat” Pers and Jacob ”pyth” Mourujärvi have settled in.
In a long interview with Aftonbladet Esport, one of the teams biggest stars speak about the present, the future and that lackluster stint NiP endured through most of 2015.
– The hate takes a toll on you, more than you think. It was lucky that we were four good friends in the same situation. Everyone was understanding and just said: ”Don’t mind them, the only ones you have to care about is us”, and that’s true, Christopher ”GeT_RiGhT” Alesund explains.
Summer, or at least what usually is a sad excuse for summer, has finally embraced Sweden. As usual, vacationers are in the ambivalent hands of Mother Nature as heavy clouds take turns blocking the sun from reaching our D vitamin craving skin.
But amongst them, the Zlatan of eSports is still enjoying his free time, before a slew of tournaments will take up most of his hours this summer.
– I have tried enjoying the weather that hasn’t been, the Ninjas in Pyjamas star Christopher ”GeT_RiGhT” Alesund tells Aftonbladet Esport when we met him to talk about NiP rising from the ashes, and his thoughts about a career after retirement.
GeT_RiGhT and his teammates have recently proven they’re back in top competitive form during their stint in the recently formed E-League. With eight victories over twelve games, they spearhead Group B as the tournament moves forward. Once again, fans have witnessed how the introduction of coach Björn ”Threat” Pers has revived the Swedish side. After their trip across the Atlantic, the team is now enjoying some free time before heading to the first of many clashes this summer: DreamHack Summer.
– Our goal there is to meet the fans and to play some good games, but our main focus is aimed at the FaceIT finals taking place a couple of days after DreamHack. After that one, it’s not long before the major in Cologne. DreamHack is still a large and important tournament for us as Swedes, but the main focus we have is FaceIT and Cologne, GeT_RiGhT says.
”Money isn’t everything”
That Ninjas in Pyjamas focuses so heavily on the FaceIT finals won’t come as a surprise to anyone. The tournament has a multi-million dollar prize pool and for a young guy like Alesund, wins like that can change your life. But that doesn’t seem to concern him much. For a legendary player like him, cash is only a bonus. What matters is winning the largest of tournaments.
– It’s life-changing cash, it is. If you win a large tournament, you can suddenly afford that new apartment you’ve yearned for, but otherwise would’ve had to save for ten years to buy, he says and continues:
– I grew up with parents who told me to do what I love, what I want to do, and that I shouldn’t be concerned about money. It’s just a bonus. What I’ll remember for the rest of my life are the big victories and the success. When I first started, I didn’t quite realize that. ”It’s nice winning some cash”, you know? But the older you get, the more you understand that money isn’t everything.
For the longest time, the success part was something that eluded the NiP squad. After their win in Cologne 2014, and despite several final placements and even more playoff runs, the team never managed to secure another big tournament win. It was as if the confidence that previously had boosted them to 87 straight lan wins had vanished in one fell swoop. And as they continued to struggle more and more, they experienced another side of being idols: The hate.
– It takes a toll on you, more than you think. It was lucky that we were four good friends in the same situation. Everyone was understanding and just said: ”Don’t mind them, the only ones you have to care about is us”, and that’s true.
But even though you can say that the words bounce off you, it still wears you down?
– Yes, eventually someone says that one sentence that you haven’t read earlier, that really hits you in the soul and breaks that barrier you thought was impenetrable. It was extremely hard, but I’m so lucky to be where I am today. Happy about the support I’ve had from my loved ones, my girlfriend who supported me in everything and told me things would get better.
”My goal is to read my opponents”
The long run without victories finally ended on home soil. In Malmoe, against some of the best teams in the world, the fans got to see NiP hoist a trophy into the air once more. And when GeT_RiGhT eventually will look back on his career, those moments are what he will remember with a big smile. But right now, the 26-year old star can’t see the end of his gaming days.
– Every year I ask myself if I still have the motivation to play on. So far, the answer has obviously always been ”yes”. I also ask myself if I still think it’s fun to play, and I still do. But if I one day would answer ”no” to either one of those questions, I need to ask myself some followup questions. And if I would answer ”no” to wether or not I’m motivated, I would know I’m screwed. That’s when my career is over.
– You have to do something you love to do, not for anyone else’s sake or for the money. I don’t wanna sit there near the end, when I get older, and look back on this time only to feel that I only stayed because of the money. ”Sure, I had fun along the road, but not as fun as before”, is something I never ever want to say.
As you grow older, your body turns into a worse copy of what it once could do. How do you experience aging in eSports? Can you feel that your reaction time has become worse, for instance?
– I haven’t noticed that my aim and stuff like that has become worse, because that has never been my main focus. My goal is to read my opponents, understand what’s happening and process the information I’m receiving. That has always been my strong suit. But I’ve noticed that those things have gotten worse, because now I don’t think of things that previously were a ”no-brainer” to me. Those thoughts came in a millisecond. I’ve revamped my whole playing style this year, and that might be an explanation why I feel the way I do.
”I love the professional circuit”
GeT_RiGhT starts explaining more in-depth what his new playstyle entails. Where he previously had the lurker role that brought him fame, and infamy among opponents, he more often finds himself in a situation where he’s the entry fragger. Going in first and dying just to give the team information. He says that a lot of teams have had to adapt to a new way of playing CS:GO when Luminosity started dominating. Gabriel ”FalleN” Toledo has, along with his teammates, revolutionized the game.
– They said that there are no specific roles in CS:GO, something that stunned everyone and made them go ”you can’t do that, it won’t work”. But although I agree with a lot that FalleN is saying, there are also details where I don’t quite agree.
When asked what might be waiting after his prosperoous Counter-Strike career, GeT_RiGhT reveals that he had dreams of becoming a master chef, but that he’s now leaning towards continuing within the eSports world.
– I wanna stay in the community, but how I’ll stay is a different matter. I’m not interested in streaming or something like that. Not that there’s anything wrong with streaming, but I don’t think I’ll have the energy to play as much as you have to when you wanna make a living out of it.
Would you consider becoming an expert at a casting desk or maybe coach? Or do you prefer to distance yourself from the professional circuit?
– I love the professional circuit, but I don’t think I’d make a good expert because my english is not ”top notch”. In short: I really don’t know. I’ll just have to see what happens when I make the decision to quit and do something else.