As an organization, Ninjas in Pyjamas have been a part of the Dota 2 world since 2015, when they first decided to enter a roster into the game. However, it wasn’t until their return in September of 2018 with their current squad that they have made an impact – and that is due to the entirety of their latest roster which includes a TI winning captain.
Late in 2018, a new Dota 2 team entered the fray, one with players plucked from some of the best squads in the world such as Team Secret and Optic Gaming. These players had all either been a part of a failing organization or decided to leave their previous squads for greener pastures – and they formed Ninjas in Pyjamas. With the TI5 winner Peter ‘ppd’ Dager at the helm, NiP looked like a squad of pure talent and the Dota 2 Pro Circuit season eagerly awaited their performances. After beating out teams such as Alliance and Team Liquid to enter the first Major of the season, The Kuala Lumpur Major, NiP seemed primed for a fantastic season as they pushed all the way to fourth place.
Unfortunately, that seemed to be the highest point of the NiP season, even though they would make it to three of the remaining Majors. Even though things did not go as planned after their initial strong start, NiP were able to secure a fifth/sixth place finish in Paris as well as a victory at both the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor season 2 and OGA Dota PIT Minor – all of which assisted them in reaching Ti9 via a direct invite through DPC points. With a roster filled with storied individuals, all worthy of lifting the Aegis of Champions, Ninjas in Pyjamas could easily ‘poof’ right into the top echelons of TI9.
Ninjas in Pyjamas TI9 roster:
- Marcus ‘Ace’ Hoelgaard’
- Adrian ‘Fata’ Trinks
- Neta ‘33’ Shapira
- Martin ‘Saksa’ Sazdov
- Peter ‘ppd’ Dager
While their DPC season has been very shaky and they’ve only really been around as a squad for almost a year, NiP are definitely one of the contenders for the TI9 crown. After winning The International with Evil Geniuses in 2015, ppd moved on to try to create and foster new talent around the world in Dota 2. While initially not having massive success, he would soon find players to team up with on a roster named ‘The Dire’, who would move on to become OpTic Gaming. Again, there were no major victories with OpTic, but there were moments of elation – such as reaching the upper bracket of the main stage at TI8. However, even when OpTic ended, ppd never threw in the towel and came back stronger – forming a squad under the Ninjas in Pyjamas banner that had long since been forgotten in Dota 2. With a captain such as ppd, the squad has moved onwards and upwards and as a stalwart of the game, ppd definitely brings brilliance to TI9 that we love to see.
A team is not made up of a single player though, and as much as ppd is the heart and soul of NiP, there is four other players who are just as important. Ace is a prodigy that has been in the Dota 2 scene since 2012, but was only really noticed when Secret picked him up for their roster. His brilliance with that squad matches his superb play alongside NiP and he’s always fantastic to watch – especially on Meepo. There’s also Fata, who well-known for his time alongside both Team Liquid as well as Team Secret as well as Saksa, who almost claimed TI-glory alongside Digital Chaos in 2016. All-in-all, NiP have an amazing squad which have managed to take down some of the biggest opponents at times and should never be underestimated.
When it comes to rivals, the team don’t have many just yet – apart from the rivalries of ex-teams maybe. However, with Ninjas in Pyjamas playing in the European region this season, a big competition between themselves and Alliance did form for who would be the best team in said region. While NiP definitely came out ahead, beating them in multiple encounters, the battle is still very heated and should they meet on the battlefield in Shanghai, China, it’s sure to be an epic matchup.
The International 2019 is set to be the ultimate proving ground for this Ninjas in Pyjamas squad, especially after they were unable to really place beyond fourth place in Major appearances this season. Each and every player will be giving it their best and hoping to edge out the rest and with a squad filled with some of the best in Dota 2, they can definitely turn up strong. Be prepared to see Meepo banned against them at every possible turn in an attempt to avert Ace from running rampant with the micro-managed menace.