Ninjas in Pyjamas Sign Aleksib

Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen was announced as the newest member of Ninjas in Pyjamas Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster on September 8.

Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen was announced as the newest member of Ninjas in Pyjamas Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster on Thursday, September 8. As revealed by the Swedish esports organization, Aleksib will replace Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzales, who has been moved to the bench.

Changes Were Needed

The 25-year-old joins Ninjas in Pyjamas from G2 Esports, who allowed Aleksib to explore his options at the start of the summer break and was eventually replaced by Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen as the newest G2 Esports in-game leader. Aleksib is now set to take over the reins in Ninjas in Pyjamas from Hampus “hampus” poser as the newest IGL.

Aleksib joining Ninjas in Pyjamas also means that the team will have communicate in English, as the team no longer fields an all-Swedish roster.

“Ninjas in Pyjamas needs to be a team you can count on making deep runs, and we’ve made good progress on this the past few years, but the road there is long and hard,” said NiP COO Jonas “calc” Gundersen.

“When there’s signs of stagnation, new energy might be needed to keep progressing, and we think the timing is right to make a larger change than usual: bringing on Aleksib as IGL and moving our communication to English.”

The roster change follows the Swedish roster’s poor form as the team struggled to achieve much over the year. NiP kicked off 2022 with a seventh-ninth place finish at BLAST Premier: Spring Groups 2022, and added another shaky showing at IEM Katowice, where NiP placed seventh-eighth.

In April, Ninjas in Pyjamas showed some life, reaching semis at ESL Pro League Season 15, placing third at European RMR B, and claiming a third-fourth-place finish at BLAST Premier: Spring European Showdown 2022.

Solid form continued into May, when NiP reached the playoffs of PGL Major Antwerp, but the team was largely unsuccessful since then.

Although NiP won Global Esports Tour Dubai 2022, they failed to show up in IEM Dallas (ninth-12th), IEM Cologne (seventh-eighth), and BLAST Premier: Fall Groups 2022 (fourth-sixth) and ESL Pro League Season 16, where NiP placed 17th-20th.

A Fresh Start

Even though NiP have achieved some success over the year, their performance at ESL Pro League Season 16 indicated that some changes were needed. At the event, Ninjas in Pyjamas failed to make it out of Group A, having won just two series against Endpoint (2-0) and Natus Vincere (2-1).

Still, despite beating Natus Vincere, NiP lost against Fnatic (0-2), Team Vitality (0-2), and Team Spirit (0-2) and finished the group in fourth place, missing out on the playoffs.

In a bid to bounce back and start contesting the biggest titles, Ninjas in Pyjamas decided to bring in a new IGL in Aleksib, who will take over for hampus and replace Plopski on the main lineup. The move comes just in time for the roster lock for the upcoming Regional Major Ranking event, where NiP will fight for a spot at IEM Rio Major.

“With this change we’ve also taken the hard decision to move Plopski to the bench. He’s been with us for three years through ups and downs and has a very special place in the hearts of staff and players alike,” added Gundersen.

“He’s grown immensely as a player and a person and we’re excited to facilitate his next move and follow his progress from the coming years.”

Aleksib will make his debut for NiP in the first round of Intel Extreme Masters Road to Rio 2022: European RMR A, where NiP will clash with Astralis. The tournament will kick off on October 4, in Malta, and will feature 16 CS:GO teams competing for four Legends and four Challenger spots at the upcoming Major.