Ninja in Pyjamas joined Fnatic in the 1-0 pool during the IEM Road to Rio Europe RMR after winning against Astralis on Tuesday, October 4. The two Counter Strike: Global Offensive squads duked it out on the Swiss system stage, where NiP earned a 16-12 victory.
The event was the first time fans of NiP had seen them in action since September 4 in ESL Pro League Season 16. The Swedish team’s next game in the RMR will take place on Wednesday against Bad News Eagles, where NiP are -243.9 favourites with esports betting sites.
The match against Astralis saw Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen, NiP’s new in-game leader, make his debut on the team. After he was signed on, the captain replaced Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez in the team’s lineup and took the reins of the in-game leadership from Hampus “hampus” Poser. His introduction to the team also saw NiP switch their in-game communication from Swedish to English, while Fredrik “REZ” Sterner moved from rifler to primary AWP.
While Aleksib boasts an impressive track record, it is not certain if the Finnish captain will be enough to help NiP qualify for the IEM Rio Major. Still, the in-game leader produced a 1.37 rating as well as a 24-20 K-D in the match against Astralis. Aleksib also recorded a kill count of 24 with a 100.8 ADR.
Those numbers put Aleksib second only to hampus, who was particularly impressive in his first outing since relinquishing his in-game leadership role. He averaged a 1.68 rating and dropped 30 kills across the map. He also closed the match with an amazing 30-15 K/D and a 117 ADR.
Playing on Nuke, the two sides kicked things off with several round wins each. By the first half’s midpoint, the score had reached a 4-4 tie. Despite the close start, by the end of their CT side, NiP racked up more rounds and closed the map half with a 10-5 win.
Astralis started the second half of the map strong and scored enough rounds to tie with NiP. The Swedish team did not let up, however, and won five consecutive rounds, reaching match point at 15-10. Astralis attempted to stall their opponent’s fast-approaching win; however, NiP closed Nuke at 16-12 after moving up to the A site during the 28th round and reaching the 1-0 pool.
Besides hampus and Aleksib, NiP’s Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin was also an integral part of their win. The player recorded 24 frags, the same as Aleksib. The only NiP players to finish with negative ratings were Patrick “es3tag” Hansen and REZ.
Astralis came into the IEM Rio Major RMR without their star player, Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke, after he suffered a fractured ankle. They brought in Mikkel “MistR” Thomsen, the team’s academy player, as a stand-in for the tournament. The player had some noticeable struggles in his new role and only averaged a 0.75 rating. MistR also produced the overall lowest number of frags in the match (11).