While NiP was not expected to do especially well at TI9, a group stage elimination is still a surprise.
The team but has looked fairly solid during the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season. They successfully qualified for four out of the five majors of the season, coming in fourth place at the Kuala Lumpur Major and sixth at the MDL Disneyland Paris Major. They also won two minors in the OGA Dota PIT Minor and StarLadder Minor 2.
That consistency allowed them to lock up a spot in The International 2019 fairly early in the season, despite never really looking like a threat to win TI9.
Things immediately got dicey at the event when they landed in the stacked Group B, which included returning champions OG, possible favorite Vici Gaming, and formidable rivals Virtus.pro and Evil Geniuses. That got even worse when underdogs Natus Vincere, Infamous, and Fnatic all came into the event in top form. NiP needed to step their game up in a big way in order to advance, but they were not able to find that next gear.
The team had an ugly start, going 1-7 through their first four series. They managed to pick up a few wins on days three and four, most notably splitting their series with Vici Gaming, but their chances faded rapidly.
Entering the final set of games, NiP needed to sweep EG and have Infamous 2-0 Royal Never Give Up in order to set up a tiebreaker. That smaller glimmer of hope faded when NiP dropped its first game against EG, securing the elimination.
With the season over, it is unclear what the future may hold for the team or the Ninjas in Pyjamas organization.