Fredrik “REZ” Sterner joined Ninjas in Pyjamas back in June 2017, making him one of the longest-serving players in CS:GO currently. He joined the team as one of the most exciting prodigy players in the world, winning the MVP award at IEM Oakland, and now finds himself as one of the most important cogs in the NiP machine.
Earlier this month, it was announced that REZ had penned a lucrative four-year extension with the org, but why have the Ninjas opted for such a big deal, and is it worth the investment in faith and dollars?
REZ emerged during a time when prodigy talents were hard to find in the Swedish region. The Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin/Nicolas “Plopski” Gonzalez Zamora generation was yet to emerge at the top table, and the scene was dominated by veterans like Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund and Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg at NiP, who were starting to lack the bite needed to win the caliber of tournaments they once dominated.
It was also a veteran NiP legend in Adam “friberg” Friberg that was asked to make room for REZ’s arrival at NiP following the side’s drop outside of the top twenty places in June 2017.
REZ had only been actively playing competitive Counter-Strike for around two years or so before his acquisition by NiP at Cringe Gods and Epsilon, but his aggressive brand of rifling had already won him plaudits from the likes of Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye, Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer Gustafsson and Robin “flusha” Rönnquist.
Epsilon had risen to as high as 19th in the HLTV world rankings by the time 2017 rolled around, with REZ registering a rating of 1.12, an impact score of 1.13, and a KAST round contribution rate of 72.4%. By 2020, that rating had dropped to 1.08, though that was still the highest rating of any NiP lineup during this period, showcasing that he has been one of the org’s top performers throughout his time in the server.
As he has continued to develop and grow as a pro, the nature of REZ’s role for NiP has noticeably changed in more recent times. REZ still holds a headshot percentage of 48%, which when coupled with his ever-increasing, experience, has made him something of a clutch expert within the current NiP lineup.
Since joining the team in 2017, REZ was won 205 1v1 clutches, 116 1v2s, and 19 1v3s, with four of those coming so far in 2021 after nearly three years previously without one. As technically the veteran player of the org, REZ has also struck up a noticeable chemistry link with NiP’s latest recruit: the four-time Major winner, Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz.
The two are often sat next to each other at NiP’s training facility during officials, regularly in conversation with one another, and their link-up in the server has already proven to be a vital component to the team’s setup on Inferno especially, NiP’s most played map for 2021 so far.
The past three months have also seen REZ’s overall rating improve to 1.10, making him the highest-rated player on the team behind dev1ce.
Leading the new era
In short, few twenty-three-year-old players in the world have the all-round capabilities and experience at an org quite like REZ. He’s a rifler with the skills to slot into any major side at the top of the CS:GO competitive tree, so it’s clear to see why NiP have tied him down for the foreseeable.
NiP are in the process of an ambitious new era, with the end goal being a triumph at a Major in the not-so-distant future, and REZ is sure to be one of the most crucial cogs in whether this chapter in the org’s history is regarded as a success or not.
Speaking about the contract extension for REZ, Chief Operating Officer Jonas Gundersen explained: “Fredrik is about to enter the prime time of his career, and I’m thrilled that he’s trusted us with another four years. “Seeing his development for the past years, while already being an incredibly skilled and impactful player, has been great. I’m sure there’s much more to come from him — he’ll play a pivotal part in taking home an abundance of trophies with the team.”