Aleksib: "We can beat top 10 teams on LAN"
ENCE played their first match in Kiev against TYLOO in a match on Inferno that they were able to win by an ample 16-6. They did so by keeping the Chinese side at bay, breaking their economy several times early on and winning both pistol rounds, to go 1-0 in the Swiss group stage.
In the following interview, Aleksib walks us through the Finnish team's current form, how it has grown since its inception, the differences between playing online and on LAN, where the team stands in the CS:GO landscape, and their preparation and expectations for Kiev.
You had some good showings at the end of last season, just failed to make the playoffs in Cologne but played well against good teams, then you made the final at DreamHack Montreal, have you been able to carry that momentum into this season?
Yeah, I think after Montreal we had a little setback after losing to some really low teams, which really affected our confidence. After that, we had a good week of practice, and we managed to play a few good games before coming here, which was really good for us since now we have our confidence back. Coming here, I think we're very confident because it's a LAN event. We've performed well on LAN and we're very hungry to win an event.
When ENCE formed, one of the things questioned was the experience of the team, which had a lot of players without much international LAN experience. From then to now, what have you noticed have been the biggest changes in the team?
I think the way we react. We have trained in practice how to react in different situations, which is a huge factor that we've been able to transfer to LAN games. So, when stuff happens, we can play well individually and make the right decisions. I'd say that's the main thing, and just playing as a team, we have more experience together. Closing out games, as well, we've become better at doing stuff like that.
Tell me a bit about the thought process behind picking Inferno against TYLOO. They're known to be comfortable on it, even though it didn't seem like that today. How did you go about the veto?
I talked to our coach, and he was confident in playing Inferno. He saw that they had some problems we could abuse, so I was, like "OK, sure, why not?" We have practiced Inferno a lot, lately, and I know TYLOO has played it a lot as well, but given that we're confident and we have good tactics and a good game plan it was a no-brainer. We just went into it with a good mentality and were able to take the win.
Talking about the tactical side, you were changing up your set-ups and mixing up passive and aggressive play across the map. Would you say you've worked the tactical side a lot?
Not really that much. We like to play and then go through everything after we lose, so, if we lose a certain round, and we see that this or that happens, we'll talk it through. Everyone then seems to get the information they need out of it to correct their mistakes. Of course, we do take some time to make new tactics and stuff like that, but we have a few good players that can call what play or what set-up we're going to do on-the-fly, which is really good.
Without looking at rankings, where do you think you stand? What type of team do you think ENCE is?
Well, it's a tough question, since we tend to go up and down, but I think on LAN we can beat top 10 teams. The elite teams are still a bit hard since we haven't had the chance to play them a lot. We just need more experience to be confident and do stuff the right way against them. I really want to play against elite teams and show them what we have, but top 10 and top 20 teams, I think we can beat anyone.
What do you think makes you different when you're on LAN as opposed to when you play online?
I think the main thing is focus. The second thing is that on LAN we're very aware and prepared, and we do things with more confidence and momentum, so it just feels that we've gained LAN experience and we play really good offline.
The last questions are about the preparation and expectations. How did you come into the event?
We have prepared, but not in a bootcamp, we just played at home. One day, a week or two ago, we hung out together and watched a hockey match and talked and relaxed. After that, we had a great week of preparation and practice as well as a few officials, which I think really helped boost our confidence coming here. As far as expectations, we want to win, but the first goal is to reach the playoffs and go game by game.
So not putting too much pressure on yourself...
You could say that we are, but we really want to win, so we just have to do it!