The last meeting of this pair took place at the LAN finals of StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3, which ended almost a month ago, but Kirill Karasiow and team Ninjas in Pyjamas' history is far from over. Indeed, their face-off can now be considered a matter of principle.
The in-game leader of HellRaisers met the Swedish tag for the first time while playing on Virtus.pro at Fnatic FragOut CS:GO League. The first meeting didn't go well — the Swedes then won with a 2:0 score. However, ANGE1 did show an excellent individual play. He got 43 kills total on two maps, 11 of which were open frags — the two best results according to the match's results.
ANGE1 and NiP played six more games between the first meeting and the first fateful meeting — two matches at Mad Catz Vienna and TECHLABS Cup 2013, one at Copenhagen Games 2013 and one more in the SLTV StarSeries Season 5 league.
ANGE1 in the roster of VP at Copenhagen Games 2013
The end to the legendary streak
5 April 2013, one of the most important matches in the whole CS:GO history was played. In the final of the Upper Bracket within the StarLadder StarSeries Season 5 LAN final, Virtus.pro (ANGE1, kUсheR, Dosia, AdreN and Fox) faced off against Ninjas in Pyjamas (GeT_RiGhT, f0rest, friberg, Xizt and Fifflaren).
At the time, the Swedish five was dominating in CS:GO. They were literally undefeated at LAN finals. By April 2013, the Swedes had secured a brilliant streak at LAN finals. They had 87 maps won, in a row. None of the teams before or after even approached such a result.
Despite the victory of VP over NiP in the league, most viewers and bookmakers were sure that the Swedes would get their own back and will advance out to the final without difficulty. The maps ended with 16:14 and 16:10 scores in Virtus.pro's favor. ANGE1 and NiP met again two days later — in the final of the tournament, and the Swedes lost not taking a single point.
87:0 is now 87:1
The SLTV StarSeries V results didn't affect the pro scene much — the Swedes were confidently performing at all tournaments for a few months afterwards, while Virtus.pro disbanded the team, after which ANGE1 joined Astana Dragons.
In 2013, at DreamHack Bucharest, NiP did get their own back. In the semi-final of the tournament, they managed to outplay Astana Dragons headed by Kirill Karasiow with a 2:1 score. However, it wasn't even a month before ANGE1 went up against NiP again in the LAN tournament playoff, and AD then did succeed. A 2:1 score again, but this time NiP were to leave the tournament.
ANGE1 in the roster of AD at DH Winter 2013
It's now a matter of principle
After GSL Egamingbets Cup, Kirill and the Swedes' meetings began to turn into a matter of principle. Regular matches in the LAN final playoffs were a real show with an intense fight for a victory. GSL Egamingbets Cup and Fragbite Masters 2014 — the Swedes went home, but still succeeded at DreamHack Summer 2014.
Even at failed for ANGE1 tournament FaceIT League EU Season 2, the HR vs NiP match happened to be fateful for the latter — they lacked points to advance out of the league. The same situstion happened at ESWC 2014 where the Swedes lost to Kirill's five again and were to leave the competition.
The confrontation of ANGE1 and Ninjas in Pyjamas continued. The first meeting of Kirill Karasiow and NiP in the Major tournament playoff took place at DreamHack Winter 2014. It was a great chance to finally define the winner, and the Swedes didn't miss it. In the quarter-final of the tournament, NiP beat HellRaisers with a 2:0 score and passed on, while HellRaisers started to face problems with Major tournaments. They didn't advance out of the group at Katowice and forgot about the Majors for almost two years.
Kirill Karasiow at DH Winter 2014
The next truly important meeting took place only at the qualifiers for the tenth Major. The Swedes didn't advance out of the group in Cologne and thus had to get through the qualifying stage which HellRaisers were fighting for at the Minor tournament. Kirill Karasiow met NiP again on the second day of the qualifying stage. Both teams ended the first match day positively, and the defeat didn't become fatal, though the victory was a matter of principle.
The game was one of the most spectacular matches of the ELEAGUE Major Main Qualifier. The teams made a real slaughter during the regular time, showing off both team work and individuals moves; and in the additional rounds, HR literally took the victory out from the Swedes' hands. You all know what happened next. ANGE1 and his company made it into the Major, and Ninjas in Pyjamas missed it for the first time.
STYKO and Zero (and Kirill's hand) stop the Swedes from making it into the Major
After ELEAGUE Major, HellRaisers met Ninjas in Pyjamas only once — in the group stage of the SL i-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN final. A ticket to the playoff was at stake, and the Swedes were stopped by HellRaisers again. The defeat was fatal — NiP lost their next match and left the tournament, while HR advanced out of the group and made it to the semi-final of the tournament.
The last meeting at the LAN Final
The strife of Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow and Ninjas in Pyjamas has been going for four years now and it will unlikely end in the nearest future. Kirill has managed to meet the Swedes while playing for five different organizations such as HellRaisers, Astana Dragons, Nostalgie, Virtus.pro and a match as a Natus Vincere player. And although the history of this confrontation is far from over, much has already happened: victories, defeats, triumph, disappointment and even the present of HellRaisers.