Following the announcement of Peter “ppd” Dager’s retirement, Ninjas in Pyjamas have decided to release their Dota2 esports team and start fresh with the signing of the entire Chicken Fighters roster.
Ppd called it quits on Monday, thus ending an illustrious six-year career in which he became one of the most renowned North American Dota2 pros. He rose to prominence when he played for Evil Geniuses between 2014 and 2016, during which time he won The International 2015. The 28-year-old also spent a year working as CEO of Evil Geniuses before continuing his career at WanteD, The Dier, OpTic Gaming and Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Ppd joined Ninjas in Pyjamas in September 2018 and soon became a core member around whom the Swedish esports organisation were hoping to build a juggernaut team. Despite two complete roster rebuilds, a change of coach and three individual roster moves and role swaps, NiP’s Dota2 project has failed to bear any fruits. While the eventual disbandment of the squad may have been inevitable, it’s fair to assume ppd’s retirement played a huge role in the decision to start anew.
On Wednesday, April 22, Ninjas in Pyjamas announced a new roster of Charlie “CharlieDota” Arat, Ondřej “Supream^” Štarha, Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek, Adrian “Era” Kryeziu and Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev, all previously of Chicken Fighters.
Era is the oldest member of the new roster at 24 years of age. The Swedish Dota2 pro is the most seasoned player on the team, having begun his career as an esports athlete in March of 2013. This will mark Era’s second stint with NiP, as he played there in 2015 and helped them win the joinDOTA MLG Pro League Season 2 and secure a third-place finish at DreamLeague Season 3.
Joining Era is SoNNeikO, who had spent the bulk of his career at Natus Vincere before joining Chicken Fighters in November last year. The Uzbek star is the most successful player on the new NiP roster and the newly appointed captain of the team.
Rounding up the roster are SabeRLight-, Supream^ and CharlieDota. While far less experienced than SoNNeikO and Era, all three have shown a lot of promise throughout their careers to date.
Ninjas in Pyjamas’ decision to sign the Chicken Fighters roster comes after SoNNeikO and co. made some serious noise at the ESL One Los Angeles 2020 – Online: Europe & CIS tournament, where they took down Team Nigma and Team Spirit to secure a top-four finish behind only Vikin.gg, Virtus.pro and OG.
While announcing the news, NiP COO Jonas Gundersen thanked the former team for sticking around during turbulent times and wished Nikita “Daxak” Kuzmin, Jason Connor “TANNER” Weedon and Rodrigo “Lelis” Santos best of luck in their future.
“Thank you to Daxak, Lelis and Tanner for representing NiP in a turbulent time. They’ve been great and professional the whole way through, and I am sure they’ll find success in their next venture,” said Gundersen.
“As I’ve talked about earlier, rebuilding with a core that fits the ethos and vision of where Ninjas in Pyjamas is headed, has been our main priority. Longevity and sustainability in the ecosystem of DotA2 is something we want to take an integral part in helping build out, and a stable and top performing roster is a requirement of that.
“The whole roster of Chicken Fighters are a great group of young players, with a perfect combination of hunger, talent, experience and a high willingness to learn. I couldn’t be more excited that they want to become part of the Ninjas in Pyjamas team, where I am sure we’ll be able to accomplish great things together.”
The news of NiP’s third complete roster rebuild since September 2019 comes shortly after the organisation parted ways with Saahil “Universe” Arora, who has announced his retirement on Thursday. With that, Universe ended a nine-year career during which he won The International and earned over US $3 million in tournament winnings, making him the second-best paid American esports player behind Fortnite pro Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf.