Patrick “es3tag” Hansen is the newest member of the Ninjas in Pyjamas Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team. He’s also the only one who doesn’t speak fluent Swedish. The historically Swedish roster of NiP has recently added two Danes in Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz and es3tag. While dev1ce is fluent in the language, es3tag is still learning to communicate with his NiP teammates.
“Of course, it’s a transition period with me joining this team, learning a new language and stuff,” es3tag said. “That’s the first thing. In order for me to operate at my fullest, I need to be more fluent in Swedish and to be able to think faster in Swedish.”
The team is competing right now at IEM Winter, the second to last S-Tier event of the season. They erased a disappointing early exit from the BLAST Premier: Fall Final from their memory with a strong run at IEM Winter, making it into the semifinals. NiP beat strong teams like Astralis, OG Esports, Team Liquid and GODSENT to make it to the top four. Without Natus Vincere to stand in the way, it’s anyone’s event to win.
Learning the language
With only three weeks on the team, es3tag has been trying to find his niche within the roster. Part of that has been providing the energy, something Linus “LNZ” Holtäng — who es3tag replaced on NiP — excelled at.
“[LNZ] was more of a hype man,” es3tag said. “This team can tend to be pretty quiet, so I just saw that there was a role that needed to be filled and I’m happy to do that. I’m trying to be a hype man and to contribute in others ways than just on the server.”
Communication has been a persistent problem for the team, as well as an area they’ve flagged for improvement. Part of the issue boils down to the fact that es3tag needs to be fluent in Swedish if the team is to compete for majors and tournament wins in 2022. Feeling the pressure, es3tag has been doing everything possible to familiarize himself with the language. That includes only speaking Swedish with the team, watching movies and shows in Swedish with Swedish subtitles and, of course, using everyone’s favorite language-learning aid Duolingo.
“I have the expensive Duolingo premium package,” es3tag said. “Currently on a 30-day streak.”
The plan is also for es3tag to work with a private tutor during the winter player break. That will begin after the BLAST World Final and continue throughout January. Right now, the traveling prohibits one-on-one lessons. Es3tag also credits dev1ce, the other Dane, for being able to help him adapt to the new language.
“And then I also have [dev1ce], who is fluent in both Danish and Swedish, which makes it easier for me because he can directly see if I’m doing something wrong and tell me what’s right,” es3tag said.
Sometimes in clutch situations, when they are the only two alive, es3tag and dev1ce will converse in Danish. Otherwise, they keep it “strictly Swedish.”
On top of everything that es3tag is doing to learn Swedish, he had one final idea on how to sink into the mindset a little faster.
“I have to start cooking more meatballs, I guess,” he said.
NiP play G2 Esports at 1:15 p.m. ET on Dec. 11. The best of three will decide which teams advance to the semifinals of IEM Winter.