Drama grips NiP Valorant team with Sayf signing, Hyp benching

Olivia Richman • September 20, 19:25

Ninjas in Pyjamas has made another major Valorant roster change. 

NiP recently signed former Counter-Strike pro Saif “Sayf” Jibreel and benched Damien “Hyp” Souville and Enzo “Fearoth” Mestari. This change most likely came as a response to hiring a new head coach, Emil “eMIL” Sandgren.

Soon after NiP announced their new head coach, the team suffered a key tournament loss. They were knocked out of the BLAST Valorant Twitch Invitational earlier in September. Unfortunately, Ninjas in Pyjamas has had similar outcomes at other tournaments, even against flimsy competition. 

As Valorant’s competitive scene continues to rapidly progress, NiP’s chief operating officer, Jonas Gundersen, came to the conclusion that their own roster had “fallen further behind.” Their goal is to become a top tier contender globally, which prompted a restructuring of the team.

“Sometimes a group of five just doesn’t come together to bring out the best of each other, and even though time played together can be a factor, we decided to continue in a different direction without HyP and Fearoth. Adding eMIL as a coach – and Sayf into the lineup – provides us with fresh eyes and new opportunities, combined with raw firepower,” Gundersen stated. 

At the end of NiP’s official statement, Gundersen thanked Hyp and Fearoth for their “loyalty and professionalism.” Both players competed on HypHypHyp together in Valorant tournaments. It seemed like Hyp, Fearoth, and their fellow HypHypHyp teammate Charles “CREA” Beauvois were going to lift NiP up in the standings. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. 

Ninjas in Pyjamas under fire for handling of Valorant roster

In a TwitLonger, Fearoth acknowledged that the team wasn’t performing up to par. But most of the post was an airing of grievances with the organization’s handling of his benching. 

According to Fearoth, he received praise from NiP staff over the past two months and was told he added value to the team. Because of this continued praise, Fearoth stated that he became quite frustrated when he was “dismissed overnight.” Despite the continued congratulations coming his way, Fearoth said there had been no “dialogue between the players and NiP’s coaching or staff” in regards to exploring future options with the team. 

In response, Hyp also made a public statement on Ninjas in Pyjamas. 

“Overall, I’m just a bit disappointed but I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me. I’m confident in my abilities to stay at the top in Valorant and to join a new project and perform at the highest level. Thanks to everyone for your support. It means the world,” Hyp tweeted. 

So far, there’s been no announcement regarding Sayf’s official start date with the team. Ninjas in Pyjamas also has an empty slot after benching the two players. There are currently only four players on its active roster and no word on a possible fifth teammate.

NiP has no tournaments in the near future, giving the organization time to build a team and get some solid practice in. 

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