Swedish version

Legendary HeatoN about the ninjas new approach: ”We’re having fun and relaxing”

av Simon Engstrand

Ahead of the major tournament ESL One Cologne many professional players witnessed about Ninjas in Pyjamas strong performance in scrims.
At the major they did not manage to deliver, but now the NiP monster could be emerging.
– We are feeling like it’s fun to play Counter-Strike, and that’s when you play your best, Emil ”HeatoN” Christensen tells Aftonbladet Esport.

Going into the major tournament ESL One in Cologne, a lot players from the professional scene witnessed that Ninjas in Pyjamas had been showing strong performance in scrims. However, at the major the ninjas were not able to deliver results – and were sent home packing after losing the quarter final to Virtus.Pro. Now, a couple of weeks later, the NiP monster could be emerging.

Earlier on Friday, they fought their way through the group stages of ESL Dubai. However, their performance has not been flawless. For them the event started off with a loss against the Polish bears of Virtus.Pro.
Yet, the loss does not seem to have affected the morale.
– You just reload and move on, anything can happend in a best of one. It felt alright actually. Going in to this tournament we have been saying that we’re just going to have fun and relax a little. In a way we’ve reached the end of a road in that we don’t have confidence when we play, not confident enough to take duels and things like that, Emil ”HeatoN” Christensen tells Aftonbladet Esport.

”It effected our mentality”

And they truly did reload. In the following match against the american hope of Cloud9Christopher ”Get_Right” Alesund, Aleksi ”Allu” Jalli, Richard ”Xizt” Landström, Adam ”Friberg” Friberg and Patrik ”f0rest” Lindberg managed to secure the important victory after a dramatic overtime.
— That’s the kind of match you need to get your confidence back. We felt pretty confident ahead of the match, that we would win, and it went pretty much as we thought it would. We had fun when we played and we were not scared to take our duels. Also Cloud9 is a very good team, so it was kind of tight. It affected our mentality for the positive.

After the victory against Cloud9, the only hope for the ninjas was to win against the french top team EnvyUs. On paper, it looked to be a tough match for the ninjas, but anyone that doubted them was soon proven wrong after NiP won the match 2-0.
– It feels great. Envy were one of the favorites to win everything here, and they are at least among the top 3 teams in the world right now. So it feels really great to show them that the old men can still play.

Was there a plan behind not banning Inferno in that match?
– We knew that they are really good on Inferno. Our performance on Inferno is really like a rollercoaster, sometimes we are completely terrible and sometimes we just slaughter everyone, like we did now. We had that kind of match and that felt really good.

”There are a lot of mind games”

Thanks to the victory against the frenchmen, Ninjas in Pyjamas are now set to play the semifinal against the danish rivals of Team Solomid. And ahead of the game, it is the attitude and team spirit that is most important to keep in check.
– We are just going to play like we did now. We’re going out there to have fun. I think that’s it actually, in the games we’ve played so far we’ve felt that it’s is fun to play CS. And that’s when you play your best. That’s what we’re trying to do. Having fun when we’re playing, that’s what is most important.

At the ESL-event in Dubai the CS:GO elite has gathered to compete. There are histories and rivalries between just about all the teams there.
– There are a lot of mind games going on and such, trying to get each other to tilt by telling old stories. And if things aren’t going well for someone, you can exploit that quite easily.

”Maybe the boys are feeling safe”

Until now, the results for Ninjas in Pyjamas have been in a steady decline. This spring Joona ”Natu” Leppänen was hired as a coach to turn the trend, but only two weeks ago he left his position. In Dubai it’s instead Heaton that are standing behind the players.

Does that have a certain effect you think?
– The boys are feeling safe, maybe, and we are having a lot of fun together. I think it takes away some of their negative mindset a little bit, that negative spiral that has been going on. That they are feeling safe and that we are having fun is what I think enables us to perform on top and relax.



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