Since their formation in 2016, Team NP have been hit and miss. A team with the potential to win major tournaments but with the innate ability to self destruct at any moment. This can be frustrating for fans, but also exciting and unpredictable. We sponsored Team NP starting in December 2016 knowing what we may be getting ourselves into.
Team NP Start the year off with a whimper
Lets rewind the clock back to the start of 2017. A new patch was in the air and Team NP will have had high hopes heading into ESL One Genting. Unfortunately for them this did not last very long as they were placed in a difficult group with both Newbee and VP. In the first game of the groups NP would be defeated by Newbee and find themselves on the brink of elimination. Going up against a weakened Fnatic however gave them the chance to face off against VP to secure second place in the group. Unfortunately however they would fall short and be knocked out by VP in the group stages.
This loss will have been hard to take, seeing as they had to travel half way around the world to participate in the tournament. However with the likes of Jacky “EE” Mao and Theeban “Rose” Silva the team will have gone back to the drawing boards to better understand the new meta.
Would Team NP’s star shine bright
The next stop following ESL was the StarLadder regional qualifiers. Considered one of the favourites heading in to the qualifiers the hopes of the team will have been high. The first game of the qualifiers was against DC. The series would end 1-1 meaning that both teams would start the tournament with 1 point a piece. NP would go on to finish the qualifiers with a 5-2-0 score, meaning they did not lose a series. This score was tied with DC who finished with the same results, both teams drew with Complexity. This set up and exciting 1 game tiebreaker, the winner would progress to the LAN and the loser would receive nothing.
With the weight of the world on their shoulders, NP would eventually crumble to the might of DC and fail to qualify for StarLadder. This will have been very disappointing for NP as StarLadder is likely to be the last tournament that takes place before the direct invites to Kiev are announced.
Could NP bounce back from disappointment
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. This is exactly what NP will have been telling themselves heading in to the DAC Regional Qualifiers. Faced with several of the teams they faced in StarLadder, the team will have been confident of reaching the latter stages of the qualification process. The difference however was that DAC included both a group and bracket stage to the qualification process, something which was likely to benefit NP.
Having been placed in the easier group NP will have been confident that they could make it in to bracket play.
|Group B Matches|
NP would go on to win both their group games 2-0 and with relative ease. In group A however an upset had occurred which meant that Team NP would meet DC in the Semi-finals. This may have caught them off guard as they were swept aside by DC and things began to look bleak.
They would drop to the losers bracket and play against Team Onyx with the threat of elimination. Sometimes there is a moment when a team steps up and reaches their potential. The DAC qualifiers may have been that moment for NP. They would sweep aside Onyx defeating them 2-0, in the next round they would do the same to Complexity. This set up a rematch with DC, this was the moment for them to avenge the two previous loses and advance to DAC.
The Final Boss
We managed to speak with NP Captain EternalEnvy to ask his thoughts on what the team had changed heading into the DAC qualifiers.
“We got together and talked about what changed in the meta and then it clicked that we understood what to do in the current mate, we felt like we had a draft advantage in the final two days.”
Heading in to the rematch with DC, NP were coming in hot with a solid loser bracket run under their belts. DC turned the tables on DC and hit them with the 2-0 sweep to advance to the DAC LAN finals in March.
Whats next for Team NP
Up next for NP is the Kiev Major. The team will likely not receive a direct invite to the event as they have not had any notable performances since Boston. So they will more than likely be playing in the regional qualifiers.
If the format is the same as it was for Boston, the Americas will likely receive two qualification spots and NP will be among the favourites to qualify for the event.
We were big fans of this team when it formed. We made a significant investment as we sponsored the team starting in December 2016. We’re hopeful that they’ve turned the corner and will continue to work hard to give themselves a chance to get their hands on their first Major title.