Ninjas in Pyjamas return to Europe and qualify for ESL One Los Angeles
After returning back to Europe, Ninjas in Pyjamas have made it through ESL One Los Angeles 2020 Europe Closed Qualifier, meaning Peter "ppd" Dager and the company secured themselves a ticket for the third Dota 2 Major of the season.
Ninjas in Pyjamas have gone through quite a lot of changes in the last few months, which included roster reshuffles and change of region, all in hopes to achieve better results. Ninjas in Pyjamas spent the first set of Major qualifiers on the North American soil, but unfortunately failed to achieve their goals, which ushered them to move back to Europe, where they went above and beyond all expectations and secured themselves a spot at the Los Angeles Major.
Ninjas in Pyjamas had a rough start of 2019/20 DPC season, as they failed to achieve any notable results over the course of last three months. Dpp and his crew started the season with a fifth-sixth place finish at DOTA Summit 11. They later failed to qualify for the Leipzig Major after finishing DreamLeague Season 13 NA Closed Qualifiers at fourth place. Most recently, Ninjas in Pyjamas also appeared at WePlay! Bukovel Minor 2020, where they put up an embarrassing performance as they finished the Dota 2 Minor at last place.
Changes were imminent and they came in form of roster reshuffle, which saw the departure of Nico "Gunnar" Lopez and Malthe "Biver" Winther, who got replaced by Nikita "Daxak" Kuzmin and Rodrigo "Lelis" Santos. To fit in with the new team composition, Saahil "Universe" Arora also moved to the roaming support position. Shortly after releasing Gunnar Ninjas in Pyjamas also announced they're returning to the European soli in a bid to further improve in a more competitive environment.
Considering Europe boasts with the deepest roster of strong teams, not many people expected Ninjas in Pyjamas will manage to achieve anything, but they proved all the doubters wrong with a strong performance at LA Dota 2 Major Closed Qualifiers, where they bested Alliance and Team Singularity as well as produced a stalemate with Team Liquid and put up a strong fight against the reigning TI champions OG, which was enough to secure a spot in the playoffs. There Ninjas in Pyjamas lost to Team Secret (0-2), but bounced back with a commanding win over Aggressive Mode (2-0), to finish the qualifiers with a bronze medal and a direct pass to the LA Major.
Perhaps the most exciting result they have put up during qualifiers was their 0-2 loss to OG, where Ninjas in Pyjamas looked very competitive, which was a nice change of pace for a team that has failed to see much success throughout the season.
In game one against OG, Ninjas in Pyjamas went toe-to-toe with the TI champions until around 15-minute mark, when OG pocketed six kills in quick succession to turn the game upside down. Despite their strong start, Ninjas in Pyjamas had to ultimately admit defeat to OG who pocketed the first win of the series. Game two, was even more exciting, as it was Ninjas in Pyjamas who held a significant lead and it seemed like they will upset OG to tie the series. Unfortunately, OG managed to bounce back with their strong team fighting. The match ended with OG pocketing the second match of the series in 43 minutes.
Following the crushing defeat against OG, Ninjas in Pyjamas split the series against Team Liquid, to which they added two commanding 2-0 wins against Alliance and Singularity. In the end, Ninjas in Pyjamas had to play a second-third place tiebreaker with Team Liquid, where pdd and his crew came out on top and punched their ticket for the playoffs. There, Ninjas in Pyjamas got swept by Team Secret, but that did not stop them from securing a comfortable 2-0 win over Aggressive Mode in the third-place match.
With that, Ninjas in Pyjamas earned a spot at ESL One Los Angeles Dota 2 Major, which will be their first DPC Major tournament of the season. The event is set to take off on March 15, and it will feature 16 of the best Dota 2 teams from six regions, who will compete for the largest slice of US $1,000,000 prize pool and 15,000 DPC points.
So far this season, Ninjas in Pyjamas accumulated 151.2 points, which sits them at 19th place in the season rankings, well below the threshold of qualifying for the International 2020.