Standout performances from Jonn, Xand, and BNJ helped Ninjas in Pyjamas pull off a surprise victory over Fnatic at VCT Masters 1 in Reykjavik.
Ninjas in Pyjamas has pulled off a surprise victory against a lackluster Fnatic roster to kick start their hopes of progressing into bracket play at VCT Masters 1 in Reykjavik.
Fnatic came into Masters 1 as one of the heavy favorites to win the whole tournament. However they were coming into this match without their star duelist "Derke" who had tested positive for COVID prior to the start of pool play, and BraveAF, who was suspended from the roster following some controversial messages he sent regarding the Russia-Ukraine war. This meant that, for the first match at least, Fnatic would be playing with two substitute players; KOI's Joona "H1ber" Parviainen and Enzo "Fearoth" Mestari from Alliance.
We tried to focus more on our game instead of studying what they were doing. Their mistake was that they were doing the exact opposite, they were trying to study the games instead of playing with what they have, especially since they were a new team.
NiP had a slightly more difficult journey getting to VCT Masters 1, as they had to make their way there via a LATAM/BR Last Chance Qualifier match against Leviatán. They were a squad many believed would struggle to produce results in this group, but seemed to go into this match without fear.
NiP are "happy to be here and representing Brazil" at VCT Masters
To say this was an unexpected result would be an understatement. Despite the makeshift nature regarding Fnatic's roster, many still saw this as being relatively straight forward for them. Yet right from the get-go it seemed like Ninjas in Pyjamas were well prepared for them. And Fnatic's roster situation seemed to factor in to the decision making process for NiP in-game according to Jonn in his post-match interview.
"Since they knew that they had two new players, they knew it was going to be a little bit more messy and not as coordinated. So they wanted to play a little bit more unexpected so they could capitalize on that." He was also quick to commend Fnatic on their valiant efforts despite the circumstances surrounding their roster.
Jonn was also quick to dump a huge amount of praise on his team's performance, saying that he was "happy about the performance" and that overall he was just happy to be here in Reykjavik.
Full Match Recap:
NiP tear Fnatic apart on Ascent:
The match headed to Ascent for Map 1; which was an interesting pick from the side of Fnatic as it has not always been there most comfortable map pick stats-wise, but was far from the weakest. But that didn't seem to bother Ninjas in Pyjamas whatsoever.
The Brazilian side got off to a sensational start to proceedings off the back of some incredible plays by Alexandre "xand" Zizi and Walney "Jonn" Reis, as NiP took carved out an early 6 - 0 lead. Fnatic managed to notch three rounds of their own, one of which thanks to an emphatic ace from new man H1ber. But that alone wasn't enough to keep NiP from taking a 9 - 3 lead into halftime.
Fnatic opened up the second half with two rather nervy round wins, but despite their best efforts they just couldn't seem to handle NiP, who eventually took Ascent 13 - 7. Putting the EMEA hopefuls into a very deep hole.
BNJ goes off against Fnatic on Split:
Ninjas in Pyjamas seemed to be soaring above the clouds after their dominant win on Ascent. They were now heading to Split, a map where they had a 100% win record across their previous matches prior to Masters 1. Making Fnatic's dubious situation that much harder for them to overcome.
Fnatic managed to win the opening pistol round, and looked to be offering more of a challenge for NiP. But after the sixth round the game finally started to open up for NiP, with both of their duelists having free reign across the map.
The teams went into half with NiP up 8 - 4, and, after the Brazilians took the opening two rounds of the second half, it just felt as though the die had well and truly been cast. Fnatic attempted to stage a late comeback, but thanks to some stand out plays from Benjamin "BNJ" Rabinovich on the Omen, NiP eventually took the Split 13 - 8 to complete an incredible 2 - 0 match win.
Ninjas in Pyjamas will be moving on to face DRX in the Winners match of Group A on April 12. Meanwhile Fnatic will need to hit the refresh button in the rest of Fnatic VCT Masters 1 as they will be facing Zeta Division in the Group A Elimination match.