Nawkk asked the team for a break on September 15 in the middle of ESL Pro League Season 12, forcing NiP to field its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive head coach Björn “THREAT” Pers. THREAT did his best to support NiP, but went 45/92 over two series and was outclassed by NiP’s opponents. With Nawwk back in the lineup, the Ninjas should be able to bounce back from two tough losses against FaZe Clan and Fnatic that ended NiP’s time in the ESL Pro League.
Even with Nawwk in the lineup, NiP managed only one win over the course of the tournament. Even that match, a 2-1 series against mousesports, was a struggle for a roster that was primed to break out heading into ESL Pro League’s 12th season. Nawwk hasn’t played well in general since the team’s return to the CSGO circuit after the July player break. Since then, the young AWPer’s average rating has slipped from a solid 1.07 before the player break to a low of .96 since August. But his return to active duty comes just in time for DreamHack Open Fall 2020 and the next chance for Europe’s teams to grab Regional Ranking points.
NiP and Nawwk are banking on the idea that the break might shake the AWPer out of his recent slump, with the official announcement saying that the team is exploring other options to keep its players healthy. Nawwk thanked the NiP organization in the same post, suggesting that the medical leave was more a mental timeout than a physical issue.
“It feels really good to be back in business. Something that I’ve learned is that it’s important to take care of your body and have a healthy lifestyle, and I’m happy that NiP gave me some time off to focus on myself,” Nawwk said.
NiP’s original announcement of Nawwk’s leave made it sound like the organization was considering other options to remove the need for THREAT to have to stand in for a player in the future, something that many saw as a sign that NiP intended to sign a sixth player. In the post regarding the player’s return, NiP seemingly doubled down on that idea in a quote from CEO Jonas Gundersen.
“It’s an area we will continue to invest and educate our players in, to further develop our esports setup as one of most modern and innovative in the world,” Gundersen said.
Nawwk will be on full display during Ninjas in Pyjamas’ first matchup of DreamHack Open Fall against Sprout, set to kick off on October 15