allu: "The result we had in Cologne makes it harder to be here"
They then met OpTic on Train and had a slow start once more, as they got five rounds on the offense after losing an antieco towards the end and, this time, couldn't catch up to their opponents in the second half.
In the end, ENCE still made it to playoffs after beating 3DMAX 2-0, but despite big leads on both maps, the Finnish side still had to work hard to close out each map, as the Frenchmen looked to come back on both.
After the first day at the Europe Minor came to a close, we chatted with allu and asked him about their impressive run at ESL One Cologne, where they eliminated mousesports and NiP and took Natus Vincere to a tight series, as well as their route to the playoffs in London.
Let's go back to ESL One Cologne and what it means for this Minor - how much of a confidence boost was your run there this close to the EU Minor?
First of all, we expected to do really well there and we were really confident before and we are confident now, I don't see that it affected our confidence level that much in that sense.
But, in a way, I think the result we had there makes it harder for us to be here, people like to put the favorite tag on us and it's more known that we can really play Counter-Strike, so they pay more attention to our game. But we are well prepared, so I don't see it as a problem.
It almost sounds like you saw Cologne as a bit of a disappointment, that you didn't go through to the playoffs in the end.
Yeah, for sure. That was our goal, to make it to the playoffs, and, obviously, we needed to play some great teams, NiP, mousesports, and Na`Vi, who ended up winning the tournament. It was a really tough game against Na`Vi and the Mirage game, we had it I think, but they just wanted it more and, of course, they have very good players individually and their team play is also really good. So, I'm pretty happy that we could match them most of the game, and we're only going to get better, so it's good.
Here at the Minor, you started your run to the playoffs against LeftOut and came back from a 5-10 deficit on Dust2 - how did you manage to come back with what was a good T side?
We played them in the Minor qualifier as well, we lost 2-0 and I think we lost both maps in overtime, and both times we had the lead. I don't know what happened then, but they obviously have experienced players and talented players, they're a good team. We lost the pistol, we started to grind it out and they broke our money, and Dust2 CT can be really hard if you don't have proper money.
They made the right calls and I think they surprised us a few times, caught us off-guard. Then they broke our money again and we just told ourselves that if we can get a few rounds on the board, our T side is really good and we can make it. We started really well, winning the pistol, and just ground it out.
On Train against OpTic you once again got off to a slow start, but it looked like you would be able to pull off the comeback had it not been for an antieco loss towards the end - do you feel the same way? What went wrong in that round?
I think it was a bit of hesitation and a miscommunication, we knew that k0nfig pushed me in T main and I called it, but then someone expected him to be in T main and not to move, but he moved behind the five train and I think he killed two more people.
But I don't think it broke us, we are pretty good in keeping calm all the time and keep the communication calm, no matter if we lose a 3v1, 4v1, an antieco, we just have to reset and go forward. I think we did that pretty well after that round, I think after that we still got one more round. I don't know whether it would change anything if we won that round, I think it was the CT side where we lost the game.
Against 3DMAX, you were in control throughout the series, but you also had quite a hard time closing both maps out despite 13-2 and 13-5 leads, what happened?
We really did feel we were in control of the game the whole time. We've played them quite a bit and won against them each time, so I think they also have a mental block playing against us. I don't know that for sure, but it feels like it, that they're maybe overthinking stuff a lot, so we felt really confident playing them and we had a really good idea of how they play, what their tendencies are, and we used that.
I don't know, to be honest, on both of the maps they went too far, we should have closed them out faster, and I think we let the foot off the gas a little bit after it seemed certain to win. That's our mistake and we have to focus on that because if it happens against better teams, they will abuse you and you will lose the game. No matter the score, even if we are up 15-1, we just have to play it really focused and stop doing individual plays and try to make hero plays.
Looking back at the group as a whole, how do you feel going into the playoffs?
I think we have all the basics correct, if we play as we did now, keep calm, keep the communication up even though we lose, just reset all the time and just play, we expect to go through to the Major. We will be really bummed out if that doesn't happen. We put so much effort into being here and into going through, so we just have to do as we practiced.
Is there anyone in particular who will be a threat to you in the playoffs?
It's really hard to say, CS is in such a weird state right now, at least the tier two, tier three, it feels like anyone can beat anyone. And there are obviously good teams in Group B, we played against Sprout before, they play good CS. We played against NiP, they've been struggling but they've still got it if they just hit their peak level or get their groove on. Red Reserve also have young talents and twist is a good player, and Kinguin as well, they've been doing really well. So, it's really hard to say (laughs), no matter which two teams go through there, it's going to be tough between them and us and OpTic.