Swedish organization Ninjas in Pyjamas has announced it has dropped its Dota 2 division. This will be the third time NiP has departed from the Dota 2 scene entirely, as the organization has struggled to find international success in the game through multiple different iterations.
NiP started out the season with high hopes featuring a roster featuring TI winners Peter “ppd” Dager and Saahil “Universe” Arora. The combination of lackluster results and travel restrictions caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic culminated in the retirement of both players, with the rest of the team’s roster getting released shortly after.
The old lineup was replaced by an up-and-coming stack called Chicken Fighters. The team, captained by Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev was making waves in the European scene, most notably placing fourth at ESL One Los Angeles 2020 before getting picked up by the organization.
The Ninjas’ new roster was off to a mediocre start, most notably playing 5-6th at WePlay! Pushka League and OGA Dota PIT before parting ways with SoNNeikO in July.
After playing a few events with Mikhail “Misha” Agatov as a substitute, the team’s form improved slightly, with NiP finishing fourth at OMEGA League’s Divine Division and garnering two third-place finishes at BTS Pro Series Season 3 and Dota Summit 13.
On top of playing with a stand-in for a good part of the year, the team didn’t get a chance to bootcamp properly, which certainly impacted their performance. Although the team topped its group at the EPIC League Closed Qualifiers, NiP ultimately failed to qualify for Division 1, losing to Yellow Submarine and Live to Win in successive matches.
At the time of the release, NiP was competing at EPIC League’s second division where they are sitting in 5th place with a 5W-4L record. The team will likely continue playing for the foreseeable future.
With The International indefinitely postponed and Valve’s lack of support for the struggling scene, organizations like Geek Fam and Team Adroit have already pulled the plug on their respective Dota 2 divisions for the foreseeable future. This was evidently an obstacle NiP couldn’t overcome at the moment, as the team’s COO Jonas Gundersen stated:
“This year has taken a massive toll on what was already an unstable ecosystem. With the indefinite postponement of the DPC and The International, we find ourselves on an increasingly unclear path to financial stability within the game. We’re seeing a high concentration of talent in the EU region, meaning that the cost of keeping up is markedly higher while revenues are dwindling. Ninjas in Pyjamas is one of the most iconic teams in the world – competing for the biggest trophies is a core part of our DNA, and the road to that through EU is simply not viable at this point. Because of that, we have decided to shut down our DotA2 department in its current format, and rethink our strategy and regional presence completely.”
With the Dota Pro Circuit starting on the 18th of January 2021, the Ninjas still have time to field a roster for the upcoming season. Although it’s uncertain at this point, NiP has left the door open for a possible return when the scene stabilizes.