Steven R. February 17, 2019
Ninjas in Pyjamas is staying alive at the 2019 Katowice Major.
The Swedish squad survived an elimination series opposite China’s Vici Gaming in the final round of the New Challengers Stage.
Vici did not know how to handle NiP on Train. Despite the popularity of the AUG skewing the map in favor of the CT side in Katowice, NiP’s rushes to the A bombsite got the better of Vici and gave the Swedes a lead heading into halftime. After changing sides, NiP knew how to work those CT advantages and refused to cede a single round to Vici, starting the series with a clean 16-7 win.
While Vici Gaming didn’t know how to work the CT side on Train, the team was much more comfortable defending on Inferno.
Despite taking an early lead with big first halfs from Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund and Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg, the other members of NiP weren’t able match the output of their veteran stars. This allowed Vici to capitalize on strong teamwork and Andrew "kaze" Khong’s AWP skills to steal the map and force a third game.
Despite having struggled on the second map, Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson was out of control on Mirage and set NiP up with a 13-4 lead over Vici. Though the Chinese squad pushed for a similar comeback, that early deficit was too big to overcome. Pressure from Lekr0 and crafty plays by GeT_RiGhT kept Vici bottled up to secure a 16-10 win, giving the Swedish team the series and eliminating Vici Gaming from the tournament.
With that victory, NiP secured the three wins necessary to advance to the New Legends Stage and avoided joining Fnatic on a plane back to Sweden. Though the team took a long road to get there, GeT_RiGhT and company looked good enough along the way to stand as a potential dark horse heading towards qualification for the playoff stage.
The New Legends Stage begins Wednesday.