Steven R. June 25, 2019
Roster rules for the StarLadder Berlin Major are putting Ninjas in Pyjamas into an awkward spot.
The organization announced on Twitter that it is receiving Cloud9 in-game leader Maikil "Golden" Selim on loan. The player joins to replace the newly acquired Nicolas "Plopski" Gonzalez Zamora.
“As Plopski is unable to attend the upcoming Berlin Major with us due to Valve rules, Cloud9 has agreed to lend us Golden as a temporary stand-in to complete the line-up in Berlin,” NiP said on Twitter. “Thank you Jack Etienne and Cloud9 for the help.”
Plopski joined NiP less than a week ago, replacing Dennis "dennis" Edman. The trouble is that while Plopski is a full-time member of the NiP roster, he advanced to the StarLadder Berlin Major’s Europe Minor Championship with Team Ancient following that team’s top-eight finish in the closed qualifiers. As a result, Plopski is classified as a Team Ancient player for the tournament series, preventing him from playing for NiP at the event.
Per HLTV, Golden will be added to the NiP main roster following ESL One Cologne. It is unclear what NiP’s future plans are for Plopski, but the organization’s tweet suggests that he still remains a part of the team.
The news comes at an interesting time for both Cloud9 and Ninjas in Pyjamas.
After a solid showing in the IEM Katowice Major, Cloud9 made extensive changes to its roster which included the departures of Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey and Robin "flusha" Rönnquist. Golden returned to Cloud9’s lineup after being benched in 2018 while René "cajunb" Borg joined after departing OpTic Gaming.
Despite fielding a lineup featuring strong talent, the results have been largely negative for Cloud9. The organization has taken last place at a number of events in the months since, including DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019 and BLAST Pro Series: Miami, and hasn’t ranked much higher elsewhere. The ill-fated shuffle saw Cloud9 fail to qualify for the Americas Minor Championship.
These struggles were expected to lead to changes in Cloud9 and it is possible that this may be the first of many.
Meanwhile, NiP is also in a state of flux. Though the organization has a spot in the StarLadder Berlin Major locked up, it has been suffering from similar issues with poor placements since the IEM Katowice Major. This prompted changes with its own roster, and those changes don’t end with Plopski.
The organization announced that it is seeking a replacement for longtime captain Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund. The veteran player is set to remain with the organization through the end of the StarLadder Berlin Major, but his future beyond that is uncertain. Golden is one of Sweden’s more credentialed in-game leaders and having him come aboard while NiP is seeking out replacements for GeT_RiGhT makes it easy to wonder if this is more of a trial run than a substitution.
NiP is currently scheduled to compete at ESL One Cologne with Plopski while Cloud9 is set to play at BLAST Pro Series: Los Angeles.