The Swedish Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team, Ninjas in Pyjamas, announced the signing of Patrick “es3tag” Hansen on Wednesday, November 17. The news follows NiP’s quarter-finals exit from PGL Major Stockholm 2021.
es3tag Joins NiP
On Wednesday, the 25-year-old Danish CS:GO esports pro officially joined NiP, replacing Linus “LNZ” Holtäng on the roster. With that move, the Dane will reunite with Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, whom he played with at Astralis.
The roster change in NiP follows the team’s bittersweet run at the PGL Major Stockholm 2021, where dev1ce and co. crashed out of the quarter-finals. Even though NiP lost against the eventual finalists, G2 Esports, the expectations NiP had put on themselves were higher.
Es3tag joins NiP just weeks after leaving Complexity, who initiated a complete roster rebuild following a streak of disappointing results. Es3tag became the second Danish player on NiP, traditionally an all-Swedish squad, up to the arrival of dev1ce in April.
That, however, likely won’t affect the team’s communication. Both because Swedish and Danish languages are very close to each other and because es3tag can, like dev1ce, speak Swedish.
“It’s always a bit weird in the beginning with the Frankenstein Scandinavian language we’re rocking right now, but I am sure it’s not going to be a problem at all,” said NiP CEO, Jonas Gundersen.
What’s more, the team has revealed they have es3tag a Swedish tutor, while the rest of the roster is working with Dane to improve his communications skills.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be back at the absolute forefront of competitive CS:GO – to play with world-class proven individuals, with whom I can create a legacy,” said es3tag.
“With backing from an organization like NiP I’m confident that everything surrounding the squad is primed so we can reach the pinnacle of CS:GO. And yes, I speak Swedish.”
A Start Of A New Journey
At Ninjas in Pyjamas, es3tag will reunite with dev1ce, who he played with in Astralis at the end of 2020. Most notably, the duo won ESL Pro League Season 12 Europe.
Unfortunately, es3tag’s journey with Astralis was short-lived as he was cut from the team after only three months, in October 2020. He later played for Cloud9, and in July 2021, joined Complexity.
Es3tag’s stints with Cloud9 and Complexity did not last for longer than six months, as neither roster achieved the level of success expected of them. Cloud9 disbanded after only five months, while Complexity released its entire roster after failing to qualify for the Major.
Regardless of his lack of success with his former two teams, est3ag feels hopeful that will change at NiP. As revealed by the Swedish CS:GO esports team, es3tag will take on a similar role he had in C9 and Complexity.
“He’s [es3tag] great at making the right read and taking the initiative to exploit it — making one of our biggest strengths even bigger. On top of that, he brings that stability and versatility that’s going to be key to taking us to the next level.”
“Patrick is a fantastic fit for the roster in its current iteration,” said NiP head coach Bjorn “THREAT” Pers.
NiP’s decision to move away from an all-Swedish roster has been addressed by the organization, who stated that the shift felt like a natural step. Mainly because it allows NiP to venture into a broader Scandinavian pool of players.
“Esports is evolving so fast, and I don’t think it’s realistic that we limit ourselves to being pure Swedish if we are to stay competitive at all times, so bridging into a Scandinavian player pool is a natural move for us,” said Gundersen.
es3tag In, LNZ Out
With the arrival of es3tag, NiP demoted their former player LNZ back to the academy team. He will follow the footsteps of Erik “ztr” Gustaffson, who had also enjoyed a short stint in the main roster earlier this year.
The duo will now represent Young Ninjas, who have enjoyed plenty of success competing in some lesser tournaments in 2021.
Young Ninas placed top-three at WePlay Academy League Season 2 last week and finished second in the first season.