NiP’s TI5 experience ft. Handsken and Sealkid.

av Joachim Rittfeldt Hofvenschiöld

Dota2 has been more prevailing than ever during this past week, with 18 million dollars and the title ”best team in the world” on the line, the international 5 have sucessfully brought out a ton of memorable moments for all of us dota fans. Today I got the oppurtunity to talk to the two Ninjas in Pyjamas players, Sealkid and Handsken regarding their experiences, goals and dreams about this prestigious event.

We started from the beginning with the “direct invite phase” of the tournament where 10 out of the 16 final teams gets selected based on a number of different factors. In May earlier this year when the invited teams were about to be announced, the swedish dota community felt quite optimistic about seeing one of the two current swedish titans NiP and Alliance in the tournament since they both floated between the 8-12 position on the gosugamers ranking. Sealkid and Handsken had a more in depth view on the situation though, Sealkid explained that Alliance hadn’t really done too well at LAN’s at that point and that they had shuffled around with their roster too much recently, like re-inviting their previous superstar AdmiralBulldog whom prior to this had played standin for Tinker after having a several month long hiatus from competitive Dota. Handsken did feel more threatened about the russian team Virtus.Pro which they have had an extended rivalry with this year, and the fact that Virtus.Pro had come out on top the last couple of engagements worried him a lot. They ended up not getting invited and had to go through the qualifiers instead.

All the guys in NiP felt really good about their chances in the qualifier despite being up against the two former champions Alliance and Na’vi, they had positive results against them all lately and believed in their ability to pull through. They finished 2nd in their group behind 4 anchors who stood for the biggest upsets of the qualifier and had to beat Vega Squadron in the lower bracket to advance. Game 1 went super smooth for NiP, they never lost their advantage and went into game 2 with a lot of confidence and momentum according to Handsken. After a long game 2 vega won the deciding fights and came out on top with a heavier late game oriented line-up. Halfway through game 3 the nightmare started for NiP when they got ddosed heavily, Handsken described it as “the whole network just went down and everyone got super stressed out since our manager kept calling us in panic and the two guys who were responsible for the house and network etc. couldn’t solve the problem, we ended up having to connect to the internet through our mobile phones and play that way”, Sealkid also emphasized that NiP strives with momentum based early-game lineups and that the whole situation shattered their focus on the game and disrupted their flow entirely, that combined with being forced to play on an unstable phone connection was just frustrating and damaging to the team moral. They thought that it really sucked to lose the arguably most important game of their careers in such a stupid way.
Both Sealkid and Handsken felt sympathy for their friends Complexity Gaming who had a similar experience against EG in the TI5 winner bracket quarter finals. The TI5 ddos does, according to Handsken, also show that it’s stupid to always try to put the blame on the players for getting ddosed and not protecting themselves well enough with VPN’s etc. The skilled ddosers, with enough resources, will always find a way no matter how big, hidden or stable the connection is.

I rounded up the conversation by asking them about their thoughts on the future of NiP and the upcoming changes to next years tournament structure with the introduction of several majors rather than one giant TI. They felt that the changes were good both for the dota scene in general and slightly more for themselves since valve is planning to increase the punishment for roster shuffling during the season and they feel that they have a stable roster at the moment and have no intention of switching it up. It also relieves the pressure in case you don’t manage to perform at just TI, because at the moment everything is basically just practice for TI.



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