Ninjas in Pyjamas’ rhyme on team mentality, Sheriff eco rounds, and matchup against Acend
Featured image in photo: NIP
Following the matchup between Team Heretics and Ninjas in Pyjamas at VCT Masters Europe, we got to chat with Emir “rhyme” Muminović. Emir opened up against the mentality at their tough matchup against Heretics, why Sheriff rounds can be crucial, and his confidence in the upcoming matchup against Acend (former Raise Your Edge Gaming).
RunItBack: So your side and Heretics traded each other’s map picks. How was NIP’s mentality going into Bind, map pick of Team Heretics?
rhyme: The mentality going into Bind was pretty much the same as every map that we play. I’m pretty sure they got kind of surprised we wanted to play Bind because we’ve been banning it. Against them we were confident playing Bind. I think we surprised them in the veto. So it was just standard. Split, we knew they were strong on Split, they were always strong on it. Losing Split was not a surprise. They are honestly a good Split team, we knew that. So yeah, it was nothing different. Just a little wild card to pick it and to leave it open.
RunItBack: Following that thought. After a one-sided Split, that did not affect your mentality as you came out guns blazing to put key initial rounds on the back of your frags on Raze. What’s the secret behind resetting like that from map to map?
rhyme: Even though it’s 1-0 to them in a BO3, doesn’t mean the game is over right? We just need to stick to the mentality that it’s not over until you see 13 points for the enemy team on the second map. Until then you have to play. You have to play like it’s 0-0. You have to play like if you win this, you have won. You have to play to win all the time. There’s no secret to it. You just can’t give up. If you give up, of course you will lose. Even if we lost Split, it didn’t mean anything. There are still two more maps, we can win this. It doesn’t affect us at all.
RunItBack: Both you guys and Heretics displayed fantastic Sheriff rounds. How do you win those eco pistol rounds?
rhyme: Well, to be fair, Sheriff rounds can be surprising. A lot of teams have those individual players that want to play a bit too aggressive or like to take some risks. Having a Sheriff, you can really punish them for that because it’s a one-tap if you’re close enough. It’s a cheap weapon as it’s only 800 credits. If someone wants to peek and do something aggressive you can surprise them with that. Of course, even if they rush you, you can maybe get two kills and that’s a good trade-off for spending 800 credits if they lose two Vandals for it. So overall, I think Sheriff is like a surprise factor. You can start a round by getting a one-tap on someone or maybe getting even two kills if you’re doing something together and it can be a big changer. Going into a round and after ten seconds you’re already 3v5. If you have the economy for it, why would you not buy it? You can actually win the round by hitting some good shots.
RunItBack: Why do you guys typically stick with Raze over other duelist agents?
rhyme: I’ll be honest with you. I may be the wrong guy to answer that as the gameplan is not made by me. In our team we follow a hierarchy, we have a coach, an IGL, analyst etc. It’s really not up to me to choose which character I should play, it’s more what’s best for the team. We want to build a team chemistry where everyone can play good together and not only get one guy having individual moments. I will say that for example me playing Raze instead of other duelists, I think it’s just a matter of time before you can see more different compositions. We didn’t really have that much time to implement all kind of duelists in all metas. We have been sticking to what we have been practicing with and what we have been doing the best. And in the future it wouldn’t be a surprise if we start playing some different stuff.
At that moment, before we qualified for Masters, we had to practice a certain way. When you come into Masters you’d rather not start implementing new stuff maybe one week before an official, before the tournament. That’s pretty much the reason, I’m playing Raze because that’s what’s good for us at the moment. But I will not be surprised if we implement something new later.
RunItBack: You guys are going to the decider against Acend. How are you feeling about tomorrow’s matchup against them?
rhyme: Oh man *laughs*. This time, versus Acend, I think we will have a much much easier understanding on how they play. Because honestly, for myself, they surprised me, they played good, they are a good team. I’m not going to bash out names name, but I think they are stronger than several teams that were close to qualifying, or even qualifying. They are actually pretty strong, pretty underrated if you ask me. So, honestly, they surprised us the first time we played them. We had some thoughts on how they played, but for me it was a great wakeup call as they were actually a great team.
Coming into it right now, I think it won’t change too much, I think they will still show a good fight, we will have a good match like last time. But I think we will be more prepared. The scores won’t be as close as last time I believe. So winning this match, I believe we will meet Heretics again if we win it. I think the next Heretics game will be much easier for us, we will come in with a different mindset. Especially me individually. I think my mindset was a little bit wrong. There were some fundamentals I could have done better and I know my mistakes I did today. For both, the decider match and for the next match after that, if we win, we will come out much stronger than what we have shown in the past two games.
We wish rhyme and NIP all the best of luck at VCT Masters Europe and Valorant in general.
*Questions and answers may have been altered slightly for the sake of brevity and clarity.*
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