Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi has returned to Ninjas in Pyjamas at long last, after spening the past several months battling a hand injury. In his stead, Mikail “Maikelele” Bill rounded out the Ninja’s roster and has done extremely well given the circumstances. He has done so well in fact, that he has left the Ninjas in Pyjamas stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Contractual obligations aside, the numbers don’t lie. Ninjas in Pyjamas had been slowly starting to catch fire towards the end of the summer, the roster looked well on the way to reestablishing the feared reputation they once held. Mourujärvi’s injury was certainly a blow to the team’s progress; yet with Maikelele waiting in the wings, NiP hardly stumbled from their full stride.
Maikelele was able to both adapt and maintain his confident playstyle as NiP climbed the rankings over the course of September – the team continued to take maps in dominating fashion. Of course, they could not have been expected to be play with a perfectly balanced dynamic, but given the circumstances, the team’s performance with Maikelele as a stand in have been nothing short of remarkable.
Fun fact; Me with @NiPGaming have only ended up last place, second place or first place in tournaments we've played together ?
— Maikel Bill (@maikelele) October 30, 2016
The problem this presents for NiP is that now with Pyth returning from his absence, the team is left with the tall task of maintaining the level of play that they exemplified with Maikelele over the past few months. Should they slip or blunder, the ruthless beast known as the CS community will not hesitate to tear the organisation apart at the seams.
This is not to say that Pyth or Maikelele deserve to, or should be, directly compared; however, NiP’s performances with Maikelele will be front and centre in the face of NiP stumbling in the near future.
To navigate the rocky roads of contractual matters in order to keep an obviously effective roster, or to face the potential scrutiny of thousands should the original roster misstep – that is the question that NiP have been faced with whether they like it or not.
Perhaps it should be considered a good thing that the performance of a team with a stand-in can force an organisation to begin treading on thin-ice like this, or maybe this situation showcases that sometimes one choice isn’t clearly better than other options. Only time will tell, as Ninjas in Pyjamas will once again part ways with one of Counter-Strike’s most intriguing players and journey towards the face of potentially monstrous ridicule.