At number 18, Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund returns to the top 20 players ranking for the sixth time. Overhauling his playstyle on the Terrorist side to a much more aggressive role, the 26-year-old was a pivotal player in NiP's success in 2016.
Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund first entered the Counter-Strike scene in 2007, when he had short stints with Begrip, NiP and SK Gaming alongside players such as Dennis "walle" Wallenberg and Kristoffer "Tentpole" Nordlund. In 2009, the Patrik "cArn" Sättermon-led fnatic (also featuring his current teammate Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg) gave him a chance and GeT_RiGhT went on to prove himself as the best player in the world, helping his team become a dominant force that won six international titles that year, including one of the most prestigious events at the time, Intel Extreme Masters III.
A new threat in the form of Natus Vincere overshadowed the Swedes the following year and Yegor "markeloff" Markelov reigned as the best player of 2010, leaving GeT_RiGhT in second place of the first HLTV.org Top 20 players series. GeT_RiGhT repeated that achievement in 2011, when he and f0rest played under the SK Gaming banner alongside Robert "RobbaN" Dahlström, Marcus "Delpan" Larsson and Johan "face" Klasson, but that time around it was Filip "NEO" Kubski who held the best player award following a great year for ESC.
GeT_RiGhT made his name in fnatic
Upon the release of CS:GO in the first half of 2012, GeT_RiGhT and f0rest were one of the first to start playing the new version while Counter-Strike 1.6 was on a decline, which eventually led to the superstar duo creating Ninjas in Pyjamas with Richard "Xizt" Landström, Robin "Fifflaren" Johansson and Adam "friberg" Friberg.
As the first CS:GO tournaments went by, NiP quickly established themselves as by far the best team in the world with GeT_RiGhT dominating the statistics. The Swedes went on the legendary streak of 87 map wins in a row on LAN before their first real contenders arrived and NiP started slowly declining, but not before finishing 2013 as the undisputed team of the year with GeT_RiGhT rightfully claiming the throne in that year's Top 20.
The competition was getting fiercer and fiercer, but it didn't stop NiP from winning several more tournaments in 2014 (including one of the three Majors, ESL One Cologne) and GeT_RiGhT kept his place as the best player of the year. However, the next year their countrymen fnatic took the crown, while NiP only triumphed once in 2015, at ASUS ROG Winter at the very beginning of the year, garnering several second places and semi-final finishes while GeT_RiGhT dropped to 11th place.
2016 began slowly for NiP who had just brought Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi into the active roster and the team's new coach Björn "THREAT" Pers started working his magic, bringing a heavily tactical approach into the team that had played loosely for over three years. For GeT_RiGhT, the change was not only in the tactics but also in his playstyle, as he switched from a passive style of lurking to a much more aggressive role, often finding entries all over the map.
"THREAT made me become a better player for sure, I did have some problems with overpeeking here and there and it helped a lot in the beginning when he came on board. I have nothing more to say than that he made me become a better player overall with all the small things he added into the team, and I'm thankful for that."
Missing the first big event of the year, StarSeries XIV Finals, and disappointingly failing to qualify for Game Show Global eSports Cup, the new roster had to wait until early March, when IEM Katowice took place, to show the progress they've made under the new leadership. A playoffs finish eluded NiP after five maps in groups in Katowice, but despite the disappointing result, NiP showed they could take on the very best, defeating Luminosity and falling short to fnatic and Natus Vincere. GeT_RiGhT started the year on the right foot, playing consistently well throughout the group stage.
Bad luck struck before MLG Columbus, as pyth could not attend the first Major of the year due to visa issues and coach THREAT was forced to step in. With NiP's goals altered to simply getting out of groups, GeT_RiGhT took on the challenge and helped his team through a tough overtime battle on Cache against FlipSid3 and then spearheaded the win in the group's deciding series versus mousesports, in which he put in 100 ADR alongside a 1.31 rating. In the end, the Swedish squad fell to Natus Vincere in the quarter-finals, but the goal to secure a place at the next Major was met.
With friberg promising fans to show "the real NiP" next time, the team shook off the disappointing turn of events before Columbus and traveled back home to prepare for DreamHack Masters Malmö. Losing 2-16 on Overpass to Dignitas, NiP started the tournament on home turf awfully, but they quickly recovered with wins over CSGL and Astralis, making it out of their group from second place.
Once they passed their first test in the form of a Virtus.pro quarter-final, NiP faced the surprise of the tournament, Markus "pronax" Wallsten's GODSENT, and triumphed in the all-Swedish semi-final where GeT_RiGhT came back from a poor performance on Cobblestone to end the series with a fantastic showing on the decider, Mirage. Both of the team's stars continued to play great in the Natus Vincere grand final and the core quartet clinched their first trophy in over 14 months following 16-14 scorelines on Dust2 and Cobblestone.
"DH Malmö is a win I will take away from this year, since that was the first big win in a long time for us and it was super sweet to do in front of that crowd there. I do from time to time watch the finals and try to remember how that feeling was there, since it's something I'm proud of, of my team and how far we went to make it happen."
After the victory in Sweden, NiP advanced from groups at ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals, thanks to their huge comeback from a 2-14 deficit against Liquid on Dust2, and finished 3rd-4th due to a loss to Luminosity. The ELEAGUE Season 1 Group B followed and while GeT_RiGhT only played well in one of the three best-of-two encounters, he then made up for it in the bracket stage, especially on Train against OpTic, the deciding map of the group's semi-final.
NiP then had their only smaller tournament of the year ahead of them, DreamHack ZOWIE Open Summer. GeT_RiGhT began with his usual numbers, even in the loss against GODSENT, but he dove to the red zone in playoffs. His team made up for the difference in the Astralis semi-final, but Immortals proved too much to handle with one of NiP's stars disappearing. GeT_RiGhT pointed this event out as one of his regrets in 2016:
"I believe we shouldn't have attended Dreamhack Summer, since it feels like that's where things started going wrong for us. We had just come out of vacation time and we had like 4-5 days to "be back" fully for DreamHack Summer, so we came into that tournament with the wrong mindset, even though a second place isn't that bad... But I believe I speak for everyone on this matter.
"We all have many regrets in our careers, but you do things and you learn from them... nothing more you can do instead of just to complain/whine, etc."
His run of poor form continued at ECS Season 1 Finals, where NiP faced both eventual finalists, Luminosity and G2, and GeT_RiGhT finished the event with his career lowest rating on LAN (0.66) following a last-place exit.
"My health wasn't the best [at ECS Season 1 Finals], my back wasn't the best either (my sickness can affect my back time to time), but that's just a lame excuse to be honest. I just didn't show up there and that's one of those tournaments that make me feel ashamed of myself, of how poorly I played when my team needed me the most. It could have been some mix of a lot of things, but I probably choked there and that's something I'm very angry about, still."
That sudden drop was a worrying sight for NiP's fans, especially due to the quickly approaching second Major, ESL One Cologne. Xizt and company started their journey in Germany by decimating OpTic, but a loss to Natus Vincere put them up against FlipSid3 in the decider. NiP began the series with a close Overpass win, in which GeT_RiGhT played a pivotal part, but Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy's team blew them out of the water on Cache and after a disappointing Mirage, the Swedes exited the Major in groups for the first time in history.
THREAT's five had two weeks before ELEAGUE playoffs to find out what had gone wrong, but in Atlanta, they couldn't overcome a powerful Virtus.pro and returned home after just two maps, ready to take a break as the off-season commenced.
It later on came to light that pyth had been dealing with a hand injury, which resulted in NiP temporarily taking on Joakim "disco doplan" Gidetun. The up-and-comer only stayed on for a part of the online portion of ESL Pro League Season 4, however, as he had his commitments in Epsilon. Instead, NiP picked up Mikail "Maikelele" Bill to re-form their late 2014 to early 2015 roster for the next few events.
GeT_RiGhT was on great form in NiP's period with Maikelele
Somehow the addition of their former teammate reinvigorated the team, especially GeT_RiGhT who had his second-best showing of the year at the next event, SL i-League StarSeries Season 2 Finals. In their second journey to a title in 2016, NiP only lost one map, Cache in the Astralis quarter-final. That was also the only map in which GeT_RiGhT put in a poor performance; otherwise, he played very well for the remainder of that series and even better in the one-sided Cloud9 semi-final, which earned him an EVP (Exceptionally Valuable Player) at the $300,000 tournament.
When asked about his stomach illness, GeT_RiGhT shared that it affected him the most in the period around StarSeries S2 Finals:
"I am very open about my sickness and I believe it should be like that, this isn't a sickness that you can “fuck around” with and I paid the biggest price for that this year. As I mentioned before, I ended up in the hospital after SLTV finals for around 7-8 days and the doctors told they weren't sure they would let me go on those tournaments since I have a new meds that I have to take every second week. It's called HUMIRA, which is something I need to inject into my stomach.. It doesn't feel like that much, but after I started with that it feels like a life saver if you ask me.
"During that time, I had to take extra meds as I was going to travel to Russia/Brazil, which according to my doctor wasn't safe for me personally because it affected my health more since I was weak at that moment.
"After the SLTV Finals, it's been going up and down a lot (more better than worse), but it's definitely something that has limited me a lot during the latter part of the year.
"If there is anyone else out there in other eSport games (if they ever read this article and this part) I am more than open to them if they want to hear more about the problems I've faced while competing and traveling, and learn how to live with it each day, they can shoot me a tweet on Twitter and I can hopefully make them feel better if they are in a bad phase of their sickness."
Later that month $490,000 was on the line at EPICENTER: Moscow, but NiP exited that tournament early, as the best-of-two round-robin format saw them eliminated in last place with a 3-3 record due to a four-way tie decided by round difference.
A similar situation almost occurred at ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals, which used a best-of-one round-robin format in the six-team groups. However, Cloud9's victory over Dignitas in the last round secured NiP a place in the quarter-finals. GeT_RiGhT played great in the groups, namely in the opening win against SK on Cobblestone and in the dangerous NRG encounter on Cache. He didn't cool down in the playoffs either, as his fantastic play worthy of a 1.34 rating powered NiP through Envy in the quarter-finals. His efforts in the re-match against the Brazilians weren't enough in the end, although GeT_RiGhT still finished the event way ahead of his teammates at a 1.17 rating, adding another EVP award to his resumé.
GeT_RiGhT's fantastic play carried NiP to semi-finals in Brazil
The Swedes then traveled from São Paulo directly to Atlanta for their last event with Maikelele, ELEAGUE Season 2's group stage. Their Overpass opener against G2 saw GeT_RiGhT thrashing the French-Belgian squad from start to finish as he recorded his best map of the year (2.25 rating). NiP then fell to Virtus.pro and repeated their victory over G2 in a series to advance to playoffs.
That was the match after which the team thanked Maikelele for his services, while GeT_RiGhT came out of those three and a half events with impressive numbers - a 1.16 rating, 88.9 ADR and 0.80 kills per round. He had this to say about that period:
"I felt I needed to do more when we played with Maikelele. We didn't really have clear goals on how to do things since he was just a stand-in, so it was more of a classic NiP thinking. “More talking, more randomness,” etc.
"I also feel that around this time I started playing more than I had since I had just been at the hospital for a couple of days prior to those events, and I wanted to prove to myself after all that negative time that I can still do damage."
Two weeks later, NiP returned to the United States with pyth, whose injury had finally healed in time for IEM Oakland. GeT_RiGhT's individual output fluctuated throughout the $300,000 tournament, but he still played his part in the important, close maps; against Cloud9 in groups, FaZe in semis, and SK in the grand final, helping his team raise their third and last trophy of the year.
"Oakland is probably another one [of the best memories] I have to take into consideration. Jacob just came back into the team and people weren't sure if he would be up to the task after we had a short period there with Maikelele. So I'm happy for him."
With three titles, a second place, and two semi-final finishes, NiP had quite a successful year, but the big blow to their resumé was yet to come at the very end of 2016 when they attended the ELEAGUE Major Main Qualifier. After a comfortable win against Renegades, NiP fell three times in a row, to HellRaisers in overtime, to OpTic, and shockingly to massive underdogs Vega Squadron following a 16-2 thrashing on Cache.
"[Not qualifying for the Major] affected me a lot. I'm not proud of myself for not even showing up when it mattered the most and that's something that will take a bit longer than I believe. I haven't been playing that well personally since Jacob came back into the team, and somewhere along the way I lost my fighting spirit that I had before.
"But I have some plans and help from people to make these problems go away. I know I have it in me to play much better than I did in the last couple of months. But we can't take anything from Vega Squadron since they played their hearts out and deserved to win over us since we didn't even show up (at least me)."
The Swede was extremely disappointed with himself after the Main Qualifier
"All my personal goals didn't really click into what I really wanted, but I'm glad that we came away with wins, which we didn't do in 2015. It's been a rough year in general for me personally, but with all the things that happened, I'm glad where I am today and I believe I would have been mad at myself if I didn't stay, since I would have 'escaped' the problems we had instead of fixing them.
"I believe my goals were to stream more, play more in general and win more tournaments, and to get away with a Major win... But I believe everything is planned out for me and I can't really complain since I'm just really disappointed in myself more than anything."
He also shed some light on what his goals are for the future and what the source of his motivation is today, after having been playing professionally for over eight years:
"I set my own goals every year, what I want to achieve, etc., but it's mostly almost the same and nothing more than "play more", since I've become a bit lazy for a few years...
"But after this year, personally, I feel more than ready to start doing what I should do and focus on myself more, to know I came into this tournament with the right mindset, have played a lot, etc. So that's my new goal, and I hope and feel I can do that again. I mean, my fakenick isn't “Don't Stop Believin'” for no reason."
Why is he the 18th best player of 2016?
GeT_RiGhT earned his place as the 18th best player of 2016 thanks to his great play at several of the biggest tournaments this year. At MLG Columbus, he played amazingly in the two matches that secured NiP a Legends status while fielding THREAT, and he put up EVP-worthy performances in two of NiP's three titles, DreamHack Masters Malmö and SL i-League StarSeries Season 2 Finals. GeT_RiGhT also carried the Swedish team to semi-finals at ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals for his third EVP award, and later had his say in his third title at IEM Oakland.
Switching from a passive lurker to a more aggressive role, GeT_RiGhT successfully overhauled his Terrorist-sided playstyle at the beginning of the year, as he finished 2016 with the sixth most attempts to get an opening kill and 0.12 opening kills per round on the Terrorist side (ranked 8th).
"We had long talks about how our playing style should be, what THREAT can do for us and what his plan is for the team, so after some talks and ideas of things, I believe I just felt I needed to be more aggressive than I had been and also "help" my team more instead of what I did before.
"I had to watch a lot of demos of other "entry killers" in the scene and see what I can do that fits me and also my team, instead of going in with the mindset of just "opening up places" - Instead, I thought "how can I get away with a kill and also play it safe? Get my teammates into positions which benefit the team instead of just doing my thing?"
"It took time and I still haven't adapted fully to it... But I've learned a lot and understanding this task isn't easy. Although that hasn't always been what I'm supposed to do since all maps are different and what people like to do, so I can't say I am a "100% entry fragger" nowadays, it all depends on maps, etc."
With at least one kill in 66% of the rounds NiP won (ranked 7th) and 106.6 ADR in those rounds (ranked 13th), GeT_RiGhT was incredibly useful and impactful for NiP when he was on point. Another angle that showcases his impact is that NiP won only 33% of rounds when he didn't get a kill compared to 70% when he did, a +37% increase (2nd highest throughout the year).
However, a few things kept him from being placed higher on the list despite all the positives. Firstly, he was one of the Top 20's worst rated players in big matches (0.98 rating in finals, semi-finals and some of the biggest quarter-finals). Secondly, he was nearly never the team's best player, and the times he wasn't on point often cost NiP - he died without making any contribution in 62% of his team's round losses, the most of all players in the Top 20.
Unsurprisingly, following the off-season NiP began playing Nuke and quickly proved to be one of the best on it, with GeT_RiGhT recording a 1.16 rating over the eight times they played the remade version on LAN. He said the following when we asked him about how the re-addition of Nuke affected the second half of the year for NiP:
"We've always fancied Nuke in all versions, so I guess in a way it did? I just think we felt more comfortable on that map than Inferno for example. I do however feel that some of those Nuke matches we should have won instead of losing them... Some people probably remember those games..."
We asked GeT_RiGhT to name one player he expects to break through and become a candidate for 2017's Top 20 players:
"Hmm... a hard question to be honest, but someone I fancy a lot is disco doplan. Ever since he played with us a bit, I noticed how much potential he had and still does. I hope for god's sake nothing goes bad on his way, because judging by the little time we played with him I believe he has a big shot to become ever better."