Ninjas in Pyjamas has included the current Natus Vincere academy player Daniil “headtr1ck” Valitov on its seven-player lineup for BLAST Premier Spring Groups, the first big CS:GO tournament of 2023, according to a report by Dexerto.
NiP has reportedly been interested in signing headtr1ck since the end of December 2022, right after it benched the Danish player Patrick “es3tag” Hansen following the end of the CS:GO season. With headtr1ck’s rumored inclusion on NiP’s roster for BLAST Premier Spring Groups, this could mean that NiP and NAVI’s negotiations have been finalized.
Should the report be confirmed, headtr1ck is expected to take es3tag’s place in the active lineup of NiP and play alongside in-game leader Aleksib, and the riflers REZ, Brollan, and hampus. It’s currently unclear whether REZ will keep handling the primary sniper duties in 2023 or if NiP will give the role to another player.
Headtr1ck is one of the best up-and-coming players in CS:GO, having proved his worth in 2022. The 18-year-old averaged a 1.27 rating overall in 2022, according to HLTV. He also played well when NAVI used him on the main team in two opportunities: ESL Pro League season 15 in April (0.97 rating) and BLAST Premier Fall Groups in August (1.12 rating). NAVI had been open to selling headtr1ck to another organization since September.
Besides headtr1ck, Dexerto reported that NiP also included its own academy players Linus “nilo” Bergman and Max “maxster” Jansson on the list for BLAST Premier Spring Groups. It’s unclear if the organization wants to test the young duo on some maps or if they will only play in case of an emergency.