Ninjas in Pyjamas earned a spot in the ELEAGUE Season 2 playoffs by finishing second in Group B over the weekend. Slingshot’s Vince Nairn caught up with NiP stand-in Maikel “Maikelele” Bill afterward to talk about the group, his time as a substitute and where he hopes to go from here.
Vince Nairn: I know this is likely the end of your time as a stand-in, based on your tweet from earlier, but what was it like just to get to play with this team again for a while?
Maikel “Maikelele” Bill: It was pretty fun. We had a good start this time. Last time, we ended up second at DreamHack (Winter, 2014), the first tournament (together). But this time we actually won the first tournament, so it feels good. It was fun to actually come and play with them again. It felt much more like a team now because I am much more experienced.
VN: It’s been kind of a weird for you. How would you sum up what this has been like for you overall?
MB: Pretty bad. A lot of bad luck, but you are making your own bad luck. But we’ll see what happens. I’m looking for opportunities now, and if they want to continue to play with me, I’d say “Hell Yeah!” But we’ll see what happens.
VN: Do you think your performance since coming back to NiP has maybe raised your profile a bit more when it comes to looking for your next team and any offers you might receive?
MB: Yeah, of course. A lot of people doubted me that I could actually play this game at a top-tier level, but I think this showed that I am actually capable of doing that. I hope so, at least.
VN: What do you think of ELEAGUE overall? There are some changes from Season 1, but what was your overall impression?
MB: I wasn’t here last season, so I don’t actually know what was going on back then, but I love ELEAGUE. I know that when I started to hear about ELEAGUE, I was so excited because it’s a super cool tournament.
VN: What do you think about the state of the game right now? There’s really a lot that has happened this year.
MB: Back and forth. Hopefully, we just get better in time. It needs some stabilizing in some areas, but it’s going pretty good.
VN: There’s been a lot of talk about over-saturation of tournaments and that among players and organizers. Where do you fall in that line?
MB: I’ve been out of my home for about three and a half weeks, so it’s a lot of tournaments. It takes a lot of energy. You can’t play your best game when you’re tired, and we all were pretty tired after this rough three weeks. Different countries. Travel around the world. But yeah, less tournaments would be my solution.
VN: It’s kind of a balance, right? Because on one hand, more tournaments means more prize money and opportunities and stuff like that. But if you’re playing too much, you’re not at your best to be able to get all of that. How do you weigh that?
MB: I personally don’t care too much about prize money. I like to play CS. I like to travel. I like to play tournaments. I just want to have fun.
VN: You said that you kind of made your own bad luck this year. What are some of the things that might have led to that misfortune, and what are you trying to do to make it better next year?
MB: I didn’t stand up for myself the way I have to do. And that’s probably it. Nothing more to say about it. That’s it.
VN: It’s been interesting this year because for so long, whether Fnatic or SK, it seemed like there was a definite best team in the world. That’s not necessarily the case right now. Does that make it a more fun environment to play in?
MB: I like the way it is right now. I like it that all teams can win tournaments. It makes it a lot more fun. To see new champions all over the place is really nice. It’s good for the community as well.
VN: Last one: What do you think of the way Nuke has been received recently? Nobody seemed to want to play it for a while, but is there any kind of evolution going on with the way it’s seen?
MB: Yeah. Nuke is a hard map. You just have to play it a lot to feel more comfortable playing it, i guess. When I started playing with these guys this time, I hated Nuke. Now, it’s OK. I mean, I’m doing my job. Nuke is a pretty fun map.
Cover photo courtesy of ELEAGUE/Turner Sports
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