Aleksib: "The key to beating mouz was keeping the communication calm"
The Finnish squad arrived in Cologne after a successful Minor qualification run, which saw them grab a place at the event in London with a 3-1 scoreline. At ESL One Cologne, ENCE fell to the lower bracket after losing to Astralis, but then eliminated NiP and mousesports to get a match away from playoffs.
In a post-match interview, we spoke to Aleksib about recent matches as well as the experience the team gained from playing the best in Cologne.
I want to start with the Minor Qualifier that you went through with a 3-1 score. Tell me about the feeling going through the Minor in a fairly convincing way.
We didn't practice that much before the Minor, we had official games to be played and other stuff, but we were still very confident in our game. We lost the first game versus LeftOut, in two overtimes, we had all the keys to win the game but we were unlucky this time. After that we just recomposed and played our game in every match. We just didn't overthink at all, just went in and played, had a good time, showed that we earned that spot.
Getting that spot, did it hype you up for Cologne, give you additional motivation and confidence in your game?
Of course, the Minor is the most important thing to qualify for, I think, because that's a big leap if you win there. But coming into Cologne, it will be a great experience for our team, which we need the most. We just need time, more LANs, more games, and we will be very good I think, in three or four months.
You start against Astralis, obviously the number one team at the moment, not an easy opponent to face, and then you go into Nuke. Tell me about ending up on Nuke against them and playing that match, how did it go from your perspective?
Against Astralis you need to think about which map you are going to play. But we are confident in Nuke and before that match, we were just thinking about where we are the most confident. Everybody was picking their maps and we were just like: ok, let's just play Nuke and play our own game. We can't overthink against them because we will get our asses kicked.
But of course, we got two rounds on the CT side, so that didn't go too well, but we had many rounds where we had the man advantage. I think everybody was really nervous, it's the world's best team and the first game on LAN. But we just talked the match through after that and have been focusing on every match since then, one at a time.
After that you go on and play against NiP, that's the elimination game for you guys. was there any additional stress? You started well, did that propel you in the matchup?
I don't think we had any stress, I know I didn't, allu didn't, I'm not sure about the other players, but we were just thinking like we have nothing to lose. Just playing our own game. We have been playing them in practice, I had a good feeling about how they were going to approach the game. When we got the first lead, we knew that we were going to get like 12 or 13 rounds on both maps. There were some mistakes here and there, but it didn't matter. I don't think they played their best, obviously, but we just kept our cool and played our own game.
Now you played mousesports, and picked up another 2-0 actually, which is pretty impressive, so what were the keys to victory against mousesports?
We didn't prepare for them at all before the match because their playstyle is really random, but, of course, we prepared for that playstyle in general. We just needed to focus on not getting picked too early, be careful of aggressive pushes and the key was to just keep the communication calm and give info about everything, where a player can be and what you need to watch out for. When we had the communication rolling we took every round then.
For you personally, calling on a LAN like this. How have things been, playing against these teams, is there anything that catches you off guard, did you learn some new stuff, how has it been in that regard?
In practice and official matches on Nuke, I haven't learned as much as I have learned in the first game against Astralis. They show you how you can abuse things, so I learned a lot there. In the other games, I think the best thing is that I'm getting more confidence, I don't have any stress, I'm just calling like I'm used to, I'm being very calm, hyping the players up. The most important thing is that the players are listening to me and trusting my calls. Because if that goes south then there is no going back I think.
sergej has been the star for the team, especially in this last BO3, he's also a pretty young guy. How has it been for him and for you as an in-game leader playing with him this tournament?
I haven't been talking to the players individually about what they need to do, "you need to do this or that", I give them a lot of room to play with, but in the end, of course, there is some structure and there are some things I want to do and they need to listen. But we can play so well together. I know what sergej is going to do so I know what is going to happen and I can put him in a spot that he can pull it off. And of course, he is playing very well.
Anything you want to add to finish it off?