Ninjas in Pyjamas have parted ways with carry player Nico “Gunnar” Lopez citing disappointing results in their recent tournament appearances. The move was announced Monday in a tweet and accompanying post on the organization’s official blog.
Since the signing of our new @DOTA2 roster, the results have not been what we hoped them to be in any of the tournaments we attended and therefore we’re making the changes needed to turn this ship around.https://t.co/VSnw02BQp4#GONINJAS #DOTA2 pic.twitter.com/wFPM3ZSXyC
— Ninjas in Pyjamas 🇸🇪 (@NiPGaming) January 20, 2020
In addition to the departure, NiP also announced will move its Dota 2 operations to Europe, in search of more success.
The pair of announcements come after a series of poor finishes at major events, as alluded to in the organization’s blog post. The team had previously had a promising end to the 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit that saw NiP scoop victory at both the OGA Dota PIT Minor and at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season Two. But after acquiring a new lineup last September, their success has been limited. The stack failed to qualify for a single DPC Major, and fell quickly in both their Minor appearances.
Well Played @Team__Spirit 🇷🇺
We are out of the minor – Good luck to the rest of the teams. pic.twitter.com/9dyunSx6eH
— Ninjas in Pyjamas 🇸🇪 (@NiPGaming) January 10, 2020
Gunnar had been part of the four additions to the team from September, along with fellow carry Oliver “Skiter” Lepko, offlaner Saahil “Universe” Arora, and support Malthe “Biver” Winther. The four joined veteran Peter “ppd” Dager as part of a new roster for the 2019-2020 season. However after just three months, Skiter was replaced by British carry player Jason Connor “TANNER” Weedon.
The release of Gunnar marks the latest attempt for NiP to find a winning combination. In their announcement post, the organization was clear that: “Results have not been what we hoped them to be in any of the tournaments we attended and therefore we’re making the changes needed to turn this ship around.”
Team Captain ppd offered an additional comment on the team’s future: “Moving forward for NiP.Dota2 we will be playing the next qualifier in the European region and will be holding tryouts with potential carry players to replace Gunnar.” He continued, “Attending minors and placing last is not a recipe for success. By relocating to Europe we will practice consistently against the best teams in EU & CIS and focus on gradual improvement rather than rushing all of our practice in a 1-week boot camp before a qualifier or LAN.”
Met a lot of fans in Ukraine but one encounter was extra special. He came to our autograph signing and I asked him if he was enjoying the event. His only response before walking away… "Salt King"
— Peter Dager (@Peterpandam) January 15, 2020
NiP’s next scheduled event is the WePlay! Dota 2 Tug of War: Mad Moon, a non-DPC event that will nevertheless offer some top-tier competition. After this, the team will likely focus on the qualifiers for the next Minor which begin mid-February.