Ninjas in Pyjamas, one of the oldest esports organizations in Europe, is returning to League of Legends. The Swedish organization has purchased Fnatic Academy’s spot and will return to the EU LCS in the Summer 2017 season, they announced Wednesday.
No one from Fnatic Academy’s former roster will be on this team. NiP have signed SK Telecom T1 substitute top laner Kim "Profit" Jun-hyung, former Vitality jungler Ilyas "Shook" Hartsema, former KT Rolster mid laner Kim "Nagne" Sang-moon, Giants Gaming AD carry Martin "HeaQ" Kordmaa, and former Elements/FC Schalke 04/Paris Saint-Germain support Hampus "sprattel" Mikael Abrahamsson.
That’s three former EU LCS starters paired with two Korean imports, a formula EU teams have tried many times before. Profit played nine games with SKT in LCK Spring, posting a 4-1 record on Nautilus and 3-0 on Rumble. Nagne was on the Season 3 runner-up NaJin Black Sword team, before spending nearly two years with KT Rolster. He was last seen in pro play playing the Summer 2016 split in the LSPL, China’s Challenger Series.
Shook started on the Alliance team that won EU LCS Summer 2014, and the Dutch jungler has moved between LCS teams since, most recently staying with Vitality. He did not play in any games this spring, but was the team’s primary jungler in 2016. HeaQ, from Estonia, made his LCS debut this spring with Giants Gaming, playing 42 games for the team that was ultimately relegated. sprattel, a 23-year-old Swedish support, spent the spring in the Challenger Series but has played 63 career EU LCS games.
Teams that buy a spot in the LCS have historically usually kept a few players from the old roster. As you may imagine, Fnatic Academy’s former players aren’t too happy with the roster news.
The team has hired former Fnatic and Origen head coach Nicholas “NicoThePico” Korsgaard.
“Coming into this split we wanted to build a team that would not only be able to put up a fight, but also grow along with the organization and establish themselves while representing NiP,” Korsgaard said in the press release. “We were in touch with some of the players of FNA, but since they would only go as a full package and our goal from the beginning was to create a new team, it was unfortunately not meant to be.”
NiP was in the EU LCS for one brief split — Summer 2013, after purchasing the roster of the Copenhagen Wolves. The squad included current Team SoloMid teammates Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, as wall as current EU LCS analyst Martin “Deficio” Lynge. Other former NiP players include Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez, Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet and Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm.
The Summer 2013 team went 15-13, which was good enough to tie for the second-best record in the league and make the playoffs but not good enough to escape the promotion tournament (those were wild times, huh)? NiP ended up being relegated after a surprise 3-0 sweep at the hands of Kiedyś Miałem Team, the Polish squad that eventually became Team ROCCAT.
NiP fielded a Challenger Series team in 2014 that nearly qualified for the LCS that Summer, but after two failed attempts the team was disbanded.