Ninjas in Pyjamas are one of the most well-known esports teams out there. The team, predominantly known for Counter-Strike, has won several titles and there’s few CS fans out there that won’t know of NiP.
They’re also the team that Betway, a regulated operator in the United Kingdom chose to sponsor in their big play esports-wise. Since the start of the sponsorship, we’ve seen some great content come out between the two and Betway continues to showcase what a bookmaker can achieve if they dedicate resources to the burgeoning world of esports. Should you ask anyone who is, in any way interested in CS:GO, about Betway – they will have heard the name. The recent video with West Ham United goes to show the type of content the operator supplies.
Thanks to our friends over at Betway, we had the chance to sit down and chat to one of the most esteemed members of the Counter-Strike squad. Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg has been with the team since August 2012 and won over $500,000 in prize money. We asked f0rest about all things NiP, the sponsorship with Betway and the state of Counter-Strike’s esports.
ESI: With teams like Quantum Bellator Fire now having Legend status – do you think the current system works well in CS:GO? Do you think that the qualification system for majors needs a rework?
f0rest: I think the system does a fairly good job, the one thing I could point out that would be good which also seems to be a very popular opinion is to actually seed teams during swiss group stage to get better matchups. The qualifier itself having online / offline parts is a part of CS, one thing could be to maybe invite teams to the LAN qualifier, but honestly, I don’t know how to go about it.
ESI: How do you rate Cloud9’s victory at the ELEAGUE Major in terms of overall Counter-Strike history? Many are saying it’s the best esports match in history – how did it compare for you guys?
f0rest: I would say it’s pretty big, it was indeed an incredible journey by them and I’m very happy for them. It really feels like the phrase “best esports match in history” gets thrown out quite loosely when it comes to CS games, just because it’s the most recent game that people can relate to doesn’t necessarily make it the best. But the final we got I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, C9 vs Faze in a major final, it will be remembered.
ESI: Valve’s two titles – CS:GO and Dota have very different approaches to esports. What do you think the two scenes could learn from each other?
f0rest: I used to have a pretty solid knowledge about the dota scene and how the tournaments etc. worked, but as of right now I can’t really say. What I liked previously with DotA2 and The International was that 8 teams got invited based on previous tournaments placing during a time period of 6-8 months. Fielding a strong line-up towards The International and also makes the tournaments leading up to it a big deal. I think that has changed at this point but I for one kind of liked it. That is something I would like to see CS try and refine since the scene at the moment is vastly open when it comes to who’s going to win the next tournament.
ESI: You’ve shown significant improvement of late, what’s been behind the teams continued improvement?
f0rest: I believe we have a good mixture in the team with young and old blood, we learn from each other and are still improving on those parts. I would say that we are still trying to find the sweet spot on how we approach games which I think shows as well from time to time. But it’s been a long process of hard work with both mental coach / CS coach working closely together with the team.
ESI: We’ve seen a lot of (illegal) skin betting take place in Counter-Strike amongst fans. It continues to happen with certain websites. How important is it that sponsors like Betway are in the scene operating under proper regulation?
f0rest: I think it’s great that Betway can lead the charge and setting a tone on how betting is supposed to be when it comes to handle it professionally and serious. Feels like a lot of sites are shady and are in for a quick cash grab which is really hurting a lot of younger people.
ESI: Which map would you like to see removed from the active pool and why?
f0rest: I would love to see Mirage go, freshen it up a bit. I really don’t like how the map plays I know a lot of people do but I guess it’s in the same spot as nuke in some sense, but I would love for more teams to play Nuke. Only then can we evolve the map more. My honest guess though would be that Nuke is the one to go, people really don’t like it, but we do!