It's been a riveting last six months as a fan of NIP CS:GO — we signed a monster, got a whole new team of Young Ninjas who are out there popping heads, won a big tournament and played in front of a massive home crowd. When we beat Copenhagen Flames in OT to make it to the arena, emotions were running high here at HQ. It wasn't just Legends stage — it was a long-awaited, tangible sign that the work we've all put in, players and organization alike, is truly bearing fruit. The system we've toiled away at for years now, it's working.
From the outside, it has looked weird at times. We're used to thinking about teams as a group of five people and a coach who win or lose together, and if they lose for long enough somebody gets replaced and the cycle starts anew. For us, those days are past. Our goal is to win, of course, but also to provide a stable environment for our players to perform and to grow, and a pathway to the top for the youngest talents in Sweden.
We want to support all levels of the ecosystem — taking responsibility and playing an important part in reinvesting in Swedish grass roots Counter-Strike. If you're crushing the opposition on Esportal, your team can join the Swedish Elitserien and if you can beat the Young Ninjas, you might become one of them. Once at NIP you're in an environment where some of the world's best coaches, analysts, performance- and team managers help you get even better.
Young Ninjas has thus far produced two players who are clearly capable of performing at the highest levels of Counter-Strike, and more will follow. Still, there's some things that only come with years of experience. The big stage at Copenhagen's Royal Arena is one of the most intense places in CS:GO and clutching that weird triangle trophy might require something a little bit extra.
We're announcing today the signing of monster rifler Patrick "es3tag" Hansen who, by the time you're reading this, is already on the ground getting worked into our system by Björn, Danny, David and the squad. For a behind-the-scenes look at how that's going, pop on over to our Youtube channel!
"Patrick is a fantastic fit for the roster in its current iteration. He’s great at making the right read and taking 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."
– Björn "THREAT" Pers
"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. 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."
– Patrick “es3tag” Hansen
This of course means that our boy Linus "LNZ" Holtäng stands down from the active roster and returns to his mates in the Young Ninjas. Like ztr before him, he rejoins the crew as a sixth member with a ton of experience to spread around and a magnificent beard to show for it. What's more, the players on the main squad can rest easy knowing that an injury isn't the end of the world because there's someone behind them who can step up and help out.
“Linus did a fantastic job coming into the A team and was a vital part of our first CS:GO victory since 2017 — a big milestone for the new generation of NIP. Bringing up talent is an important focus for us, but even more important is winning big trophies. Patrick fits our team ethos incredibly well and brings proven talent and experience.
Linus will rejoin the YN roster, bringing with him experience that can only be earned. Having done this journey he will be able to provide crucial feedback on our whole setup, while we continue his development towards becoming a formidable player. ”
– Jonas Gundersen, COO
Our hope and ambition is to replicate this system across all our squads and titles, first by bringing it to LATAM with our Rainbow Six (best in the world btw) and VALORANT teams. This will require tweaking, localization and a hefty dose of trial-and-error, but nothing in the world is worth doing unless it means effort.
"I am really happy to see our hard work starting to pay off. We’re inventing everything from scratch and although the road ahead is long, we’re seeing clear signs of a sustainable system that will work for us in the long run. With our moves into China and LATAM, NIP as an organization aims to be at the forefront of professionalizing esports from a sportive and business model standpoint. In due time, with a solid model for building and maintaining a high-performance culture in our rosters, we can export an entire philosophy of running an esports team across the world."
It's a work in progress, but at least for now we celebrate how far we've come and look to the future with hopefulness.