Ninjas in Pyjamas cuts captain SoNNeikO after string of bad results

Chase Mulonas • July 9, 04:39

Ninjas in Pyjamas’ Dota 2 team is now without a captain, as Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev has been released from the organization without a clear reason.

SoNNeikO announced the news himself with a short post on Twitter. Ninjas in Pyjamas has yet to release a formal statement on the matter, which raises an eyebrow over why and how the decision was made.

SoNNeikO’s departure from the team comes as quite a shock, as some Dota 2 personalities have voiced their skepticism over the decision. Former Dota 2 professional player and analyst Kyle Freedman made his opinion known, calling SoNNeikO’s departure a “bad move” by NiP.

The well-known Swedish esports organization picked up the former Chicken Fighters roster on April 22, a team that was founded by SoNNeikO last year. This came after a breakdown of the organization’s Peter “ppd” Dager-led squad following his abrupt retirement from the game. 

The team drew attention to themselves after taking fourth place the ESL One Los Angeles Online Europe and CIS league. Only three days later after this achievement, they were signed by NiP.

Under the Ninjas in Pyjamas banner, the team has played in several big tournaments including OGA Dota PIT, ESL One Birmingham, BLAST Bounty Hunt, and BEYOND EPIC. Paradoxically, the team’s results have dipped since being signed by NiP. The organization is undoubtedly hoping that a new captain will help the squad regain its previous form.

Though the release is likely frustrating for SoNNeikO, he shouldn’t be a free agent for an especially long time.

A number of notable European teams currently have holes on their rosters and could use SoNNeikO’s services. There are also so many skilled players currently without a team that he could easily form a new squad of his own.

On the other hand, stable in-game leaders are a hot commodity in the ever-changing CIS scene. With a large number of players being freshly teamless, including his former Natus Vincere teammate Idan “MagicaL” Vardanian, SoNNeikO could return to the CIS region just as easily.


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