Ninjas in Pyjamas lost the DreamHack Winter finals with a narrow margin despite replacing a member only weeks before the tournament.
And with Maikelele up to speed on the tactics and teamplay – the AWP star and the team now set out to win X-Games in Aspen.
– I’m really eager to claim my first international title in CS:GO, he says.
When Robin ”Fifflaren” Johansson departed from Ninjas in Pyjamas less than a month before one of the top tournaments of the year, replacement Mikail ”Maikelele” Bill was thrown into a hectic couple of weeks where he had to adapt to his new teammates and learn their strategies. And even though the preparations weren’t quite enough, NiP still managed to claim yet another silver medal in the majors after their loss to LDLC in the finals.
After the tournament Maikelele told Aftonbladet Esport that if they had two more weeks to prepare, they would’ve won the title. Now, two months after the event, he’s made himself comfortable within the squad as they leave for Aspen and a shot at the first ever X-Games CS:GO title.
– We had a break after DreamHack Winter but since then we’ve been on a roll. We’ve been practicing hard so right now it feels great. I hope and believe that we’ll win first place. It really feels like we’ll make it and we’re gonna give it all we got to win it, he says.
Do you want revenge after the Winter finals?
– Very much so. I’m really eager to claim my first international title in CS:GO. And it’s my first time outside of Europe as well, not just when it comes to playing CS.
”MLG tournaments always look so cool”
On Thursday the ninjas departed for Aspen, travelling via Iceland into the US and then from Denver before they touch down at the X-Games. Maikelele doesn’t seem to worried about being impeded by jetlag when the tournament kicks off only hours after they land, and playing at an MLG event is something he’s looked forward to doing.
– As a StarCraft 2 fan I’ve followed their tournaments and they always look so cool, you’ve wanted to be there. And now they have their first CS:GO tournament so I hope it will turn out amazing, which I think it will. They’re known for taking really good care of their players and for arranging great competitions.
During his time in the team, he’s also gotten acquainted with another side of professional CS:GO, as a member of one of the most famous eSports organizations in the world.
– I learn new stuff all of the time, both in game and outside of the game. How to act and behave when you’re around fans and big sponsors. When you’re going to shootouts and fan meetings and always have to show your best side, that’s new to me and it’s pretty fun and exciting.
”Hard to top frag in this team”
But his main focus has still been to get into the game with his new teammates, and he feels he’s made progress since joining.
– I’m getting into it more and more. I know everyone better, how they work in game. Myself, I just try to shoot stuff and do my best all of the time.
GeT_RiGhT was recently chosen as HLTV:s top player of the year. How does it really feel to suddenly be surrounded by players of that caliber?
– You always feel that you have great support and personally I feel he deserved the title, if you look at the past tournaments. In my earlier teams I was always the one top fragging and doing the clutches, but it’s kinda hard in this team when you’re surrounded by the best players in the world. You just have to do your thing and give it all you’ve got.
”American teams perform well at home”
When X-Games kicks off tomorrow Ninjas in Pyjamas will face Danish squad Team Dignitas in the first round. Then they’ll play against ”home team” Cloud9 and also brazilian squad Kabum in their group.
– It’s a tough group with great teams. We have to be on point and play great right off the bat. I think the first rounds of the first game will have a big significance on the end result. We’re good at turning games around and we always have to keep our heads high. Even if we’re trailing 0-7 we should be able to turn it around and win.
Out of all the teams in the tournament, Maikelele says they know Fnatic and LDLC best, but he warns that the american side might get boosted from playing in front of a home crowd.
– We’re in Cloud9:s and the other american teams’ home field, and they’re know to perform well there.
Secretive about the new tactics
Leading up to the tournament, Adam Friberg spoke to Aftonbladet Esport about how NiP will once again try to put a lot of effort into one map which they want to make ”theirs”. And after DreamHack Winter Maikelele talked about how he needs to gain more confidence when it comes to getting the all-important entry frags as an agressive AWP:er. But when asked about how the team has developed their tactics around him for X-Games, he suddenly turns secretive.
– We’ll find out during X-Games, haha
Friday 9PM CET – NiP vs Dignitas on mlg.tv.