Ninjas in Pyjamas sign Lelis and Daxak to Dota 2 roster
Ninjas in Pyjamas have announced the signing of Nikita "Daxak" Kuzmin and Rodrigo "Lelis" Santos who will round up NiP's new Dota 2 roster which will compete in 2019/20 season of Dota Pro Circuit season.
Ninjas in Pyjamas entered 2019/20 DPC season hoping they can make an impact, however, failed to see the success they were looking for, which resulted in the organization's decision to let go of Nico "Gunnar" Lopez and Malthe "Biver" Winther in favour of Lelis and Daxak, who have become an official members of Ninjas in Pyjamas this Friday.
The announcement of the new signings surfaced this Friday, January 31, on NiP's official Twitter page, where the Swedish esports organization unveiled their lineup for WePlay Dota 2 Tug of War: Mad Moon tournament and the ESL One: Los Angeles European Closed Qualifiers.
Ninjas in Pyjamas entered 2020 with a squad of Jason Connor "TANNER" Weedon, Saahil "Universe" Arora, Peter "ppd" Dager and the recently departed Gunnar and Biver. The quintet participated at DreamLeague Season 12 back in October, where they finished third following an upset defeat against Demon Slayers. A few days later, NiP entered ESL One: Hamburg where they got off to a solid start and finished the group stage with a 2-0-3 record, which earned them a spot in the playoffs. Unfortunately, their playoffs run was short-lived, as NiP crashed out of the tournament in round one after a devastating 0-2 loss to Virtus-pro.
In November, Ninjas in Pyjamas made their first appearance in a 2019/20 DPC tournament - DOTA Summit 11. At the said event, the Swedish organization fell apart early into the Minor as they failed to make it out of the group following two 0-2 defeats against jfshfh178. A month later, NiP took a swing at DreamLeague Season 13 Leipzig Major North American Qualifiers, but without any notable success.
Ppd and company made it out of the groups with a solid 3-0-1 record, but as soon as the playoffs started, they returned to their old ways and suffered two defeats against Chaos EC (1-2) and Evil Genuises (0-2), meaning they lost their shot at punching the ticket for the second Dota 2 Major of the season. Nonetheless, NiP got another chance of securing a ticket for Leipzig by winning the WePlay! Bukovel Minor qualifiers.
WePlay! Bukovel Minor which off in early January was the last chance for NiP to make it to the Leipzig Major, but despite the importance of this event for ppd and co. the team severely underperformed. NiP lost both group stage fixtures against Geek Fam (0-2) and Team Spirit (0-2) to crash out of the event on day two, adding yet another disappointing result to their record.
Following a poor start of the 2019/20 DPC season, which was plagued with humiliating and disappointing results, NiP opted for a roster revamp, resulting in the departure of Gunnar and Biver in favour of Daxak and Lelis.
Daxak is a Russian Dota 2 pro, who started his career in 2016 with Digital Company and later played for Hive and Thug Life. In May 2017, he made his first appearance in the professional scene, when he signed for Gambit Esports. In June 2018 Daxak later left Gambit to join ferzee where he remained for under a month, before re-joining Gambit, where he remained until November 2019. At the end of November, Daxak got acquired by Winstrike team and was later in December moved to the inactive roster.
The Russian Dota 2 pro is known for his phenomenal performances during 2018/19 DPC season, when he played for Gambit. During that time, he played a pivotal role in Gambit's success, which turned an overlooked CIS team into a huge threat in several major tournaments. The CIS roster even came extremely close to securing a spot at The International, but unfortunately fell flat.
Last year alone, Daxak achieved silver medals at ESL One Katowice 2019, The Bucharest Minor and StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 1, a fourth-place finish at ESL One Birmingham 2019 and seventh-eighth place finish at EPICENTER Major 2019.
His new teammate Lelis started his career in 2014 when he played for The House is Down. He later played for Keyd Stars, Midas Club Elite, SG e-sports, paiN X, Flying Penguins and most recently for paiN Gaming. Lelis also played for beastcoast during DreamLeague Leipzig Major as a stand-in. Last year, Lelis claimed silver at DOTA Summit 10 and helped beastcoast finish seventh-eighth at Leipzig Major. The Brazillian offlaner is best known for his dominant performances on Underlord.
With the arrival of Lelis, however, Ninjas in Pyjamas will have to send Saahil "Universe" Arora to a support role to make space for the team's new offlaner. While Universe had a long and successful career as an offlaner, including winning the International 2015, he has started his career as a Dota 2 pro as a support player, meaning this role swap should not harm the TI champion and his team too much.
The new-look Ninjas in Pyjamas roster is now set to show off their strength at the ESL One Los Angeles Major qualifiers, which will start on Monday, February 9. Whether the new roster will manage to achieve better success compared to their previous quintet remains to be seen, however, it's hard not to be optimistic about the new additions and NiP’s chances to finally break out their shell and impress.
Ninjas in Pyjamas Dota 2 roster for 2020:
Nikita "Daxak" Kuzmin
Jason Connor "TANNER" Weedon
Rodrigo "Lelis" Santos
Saahil "Universe" Arora
Peter "ppd" Dager