NIP to field LNZ in BLAST Premier Spring Final, IEM Cologne Play-In
The Swedish youngster will continue playing with the team, at least until the player break.
Linus "LNZ" Holtäng will be NIP's fifth player in the final stretch of the current tournament season, HLTV.org has confirmed. This means that he will get the chance to play with the team on LAN as the Ninjas are slated to compete in the Play-In stage of IEM Cologne, which will be held in a studio environment next month.
LNZ, who made his debut for NIP in IEM Summer after being promoted from the academy roster, will also take to the server in the BLAST Premier Spring Final, which will kick off Tuesday. The Swedish team will take on Complexity in the first round of the double-elimination playoffs at 18:30 .
"We've happily decided to give LNZ the chance to prove himself until the summer break," Jonas Gundersen, NIP's Chief Operating Officer (COO) told HLTV.org. "He's blended in really well already and is transferring the firepower and work ethic that we saw and loved in Young Ninjas right into the first team.
"We obviously haven't been doing things the traditional way for a while and are setting a new standard as we go along, but we get smarter every day and still think we are on the right path to finding out how a truly sustainable performance setup looks like in CS:GO."
The decision to bring LNZ into the first team at the expense of Erik "ztr" Gustafsson was met with some criticism, especially because it came just days after a second-place finish in Flashpoint 3 — the closest NIP had come to winning a title in almost two years.
The Ninjas were unable to rise to the same heights in IEM Summer, securing only a top-eight finish, but there were still positives to take from that tournament run, which saw the team beat then-world No.2 Heroic in the group's lower bracket semi-finals.
In last week's HLTV Confirmed, NIP's in-game leader, Hampus "hampus" Poser, admitted that these changes — which are decided by the organisation and coach Björn "THREAT" Pers — can lead to some confusion on the server, but he stressed that he will make do with what he has. "It's not the best, but I'll have to manage," he said, adding that he would prefer his team to be a close-knit group like Gambit.
According to Gundersen, a decision regarding the team's fifth player slot will not be made before the player break, which will begin on July 19 and run through August 15. At this stage it's all up in the air, but he urged fans to continue to trust the process.
"We're trying to find a sustainable fifth while constantly exploring the boundaries of how much change can be done to the core of those five, resulting in the right balance between results, high-performance pressure and player recovery," the NIP COO said. "That's the balance I am trying to get to.
"I've got massive respect for the players for being open-minded to all of this, and I can't wait for them to lift a trophy as a testament to their hard work."