Aleksib: "cs_summit was a good wake up call"
After their victory over the Brazilian squad, we spoke with Aleksib to discuss the team's showing at cs_summit 4, the issues on Overpass and Dust2, the importance of the victory in Madrid and post-Dallas plans.
The team has really developed a consistency which, pre-Major, wasn't really something associated with ENCE. How did the team manage to develop into a top contender over the past few months?
Well, of course, in the start we were four quite inexperienced players, and allu, who was well known. He taught us some stuff, both inside and outside of the game, that really helped us grow as both as a team and as players over time.
Going into every event, I think every time we learn something new and the fact is that if you go to a LAN, and you lose, you have to learn something. You have to know what you did wrong and stuff like that. That is the most important thing we have done. We have really studied what has gone wrong and what to improve on.
I know that we're currently top 3, but there are still many mistakes we are making, and we have some flaws on different maps, but if we keep the mentality right and work on every mistake we have, work on our map pool, I think there is no limit yet set to us.
You mentioned the importance of allu on the team. He brings a fountain of knowledge to the team through being part of various competitive rosters over his career. From a personal perspective, how has he helped you better yourself as an in-game leader?
What changed the most, and this affects any team, in that you might have different players, different roles, different playstyles, but when I came to ENCE, I had my own thoughts, he had his own. The best thing I have learned from him is that you don't need to make things too complicated, you don't need to overcomplicate strats. You just need to have a clear reason in terms of what you're going to do. Even if it is the simplest of things, and you just do it right, with good communication, things will work out.
It's still easier said than done, of course. We still have a deep strat book, we still have a deep understanding of the game, but I'm always keen to learn something more.
ENCE had a monumental moment in Madrid, where you won your first Big event. Talk to me about the importance of this tournament victory for the team.
It was really big for us, for all of our players, especially for Aerial, who was putting in so many hours and won the MVP. Overall it was a really big confidence boost for us, of course, and it was great to beat Astralis on Nuke and break their win streak, and even beat them in the best-of-three finals. We had had the chance at the Major, but I think at the Major we were still a level below them. They just had a great final at the Major, but this time, we didn't play as scared, and we really got into the server with the right mentality, and it felt great.
You're coming into Dallas from cs_summit, where you secured 3rd-4th. Walk me through the event and the team's takeaways from it.
The event was really up and down for us, I mean one match we had a good side, good communication and good mentality overall, and then in the other half or on other map, it was like the opposite - we were not communicating, we were raging, we were arguing with each other, which is really unusual for us. Those were the main points there.
There we some kinds of issues, for example xseveN, he has a different kind of style of play, where his mousepad is really far away and he likes to sit under the table. The tables had some metal stuff under it, so he was unable to do that, and I think that really affected his mentality. He was pretty frustrated about it, and stuff like that, but I mean we're all still in the same conditions - we should've done better, but we are not too worried about that result, because we knew we are here to play this tournament, which is more important.
What we learned from summit, is that it was a wake up call for us, even though we beat Astralis in a final, even though we have been beating good teams, we still need to step down from the "high chair" and just take it slowly, play one match at a time and respect our opponents. It was a good wake up call.
Looking at your results at cs_summit 4, you had recurring difficulties on Overpass, where you lost all of your match-ups, two of which saw single digits for you. What are the team's main issues on this map?
I think our CT side is good, but how most of them have started is we lost the pistol, we win the first gun round, and then we can't chain a round. When we win a round, we always lose right after, and they get a big lead, they can do risky stuff afterward. It's not the same game anymore, you need to watch out for different stuff, and they have much wider possibilities because they have a lead. Overall, I think our CT is good if we get the game rolling.
On the T side we have been, honestly, really bad. From my perspective too, as an in-game leader, we haven't been playing Overpass too much, so that affects our games. We haven't been playing Overpass in officials, and now we have been learning from our mistakes, and as you saw against FURIA now, even though we lost the CT side 7-8, we got nine rounds on the T side.
We have been creating some new strats and changing the way we approach the T side. We just need to keep it up and go from here.
Another map that has been causing you trouble historically is Dust2. How would you rate your overall game on the map these days?
That is map two where it's really up and down. We have been starting on the CT side and getting shut down completely, getting maybe three rounds on it, which looks really bad. I think our T side can be good, but it's the fact that we haven't been able to play the T side as much because we're losing so much as CTs.
We just need to review our stuff on the CT before the semi-finals here, and, going forward, we obviously need to expand our map pool. We need to create new stuff, we need to start all over again, but after this tournament we will have the time for it, and we will get back to the drawing board and start something new.
Speaking of the post-event period - you have some time off seeing as the next events you will be playing at are ESL One Cologne and IEM Chicago, both of which are in July. What are the plans for the interim?
After we leave Dallas, we will be playing in a Finnish league, Telia League. We are in the semi-finals, so we need to play that the next day after we arrive, so I think that will be pretty hard but we should manage to do that and play SJ in the finals. After that, we will be taking a few days off, as obviously it has been a long journey here, and before this we practiced hard.
So some time off, and after that, we are going through the maps and will develop new tactics before the next tournament.