allu: "The preparation before Cologne was really, really good, I was confident that we were going to show a lot of good stuff"
We managed to sit down with allu during the latter part of the event, after his team was knocked out in last place due to defeats to Heroic and Vitality, a big surprise considering their #2 world rank going into ESL One Cologne.
In the interview, we heard about what caused the losses, with allu describing the feeling in the team as being similar to the on that prevailed during EPICENTER 2018, the last event at which ENCE was eliminated in the group stage.
The result here wasn't what was expected, and talking to your opponents, Heroic said that they anti-stratted you, had some plays which they used a lot, and then Vitality said that you play passively and they exploited that in some ways. Do you think some parts of your game have been figured out at this event? Was that the issue?
It is hard to speak on how other teams see it, but the way I see it, before this event we had a lot of good practice, it was really productive, the way we played, how we got to it, how we improved. Everyone was hitting their shots a lot, everybody was confident in practice games, doing moves, talking a lot. And we came here, against Heroic we were just not there, at all. No one was in the game, it is hard to explain but sometimes you just play but you are not there. That is how it felt against Heroic. I also read the interview, that Heroic figured us out... yeah, sure, they stacked A a lot but they also won a lot of rounds that, when I rewatched the VOD, I saw that never should've been theirs, that were basically down to mistakes we made.
One round blameF is cornered in the stairs and we just failed the trade, three guys died one by one. If you had just traded that kill, they would have to do an A retake and most likely you win, their money is gone and then you start to roll. Also when we were CT they played with explosions a lot, they exploited B, basically we just made mistakes again, we did not have info that they are close B House and they explode and trade the B guy. If we had gotten the information faster and the B guy had not died, we would have been in a much better position. There was a key round, 5v5, when there were 50 seconds left and we had no info at all about where they were. Aerial pushed top mid, blameF was waiting for him and they got a 5v4 again.
OK, maybe they anti-stratted us as they want to say, but I don't see it that way, at least when I re-watched the game, it was mostly that we were not ourselves there, at all. The communication wasn't on point, no one was on point individually, getting fewer kills than they should, but also, no one was helping each other. That was the main thing, we froze in each of these games. Normally, when we play and live Counter-Strike, we are helping our teammates all the time. Even though it can mean you will die, you are willing to risk yourself. That is when we play our best. At this event, everybody kind of froze, we let the opponent have space rather than take it ourselves. I think that is the main issue, which was also surprising because, in the practice before coming here, everything felt super good.
So you think this an outlier, no big issues moving forward, IEM Chicago is the next event for you?
I hope so. [laughs] I can't foresee the future, but I do think this was also kind of needed for us to understand that we just need to work more. Even though we do a lot of work, we have the players to be where we want to be, but at this event, the mood reminded me a lot of the mood at EPICENTER last year. Even though back then we were a worse team, we had not proved ourselves, at least not at the level we are now at, but still it felt similar, nothing is clicking, no one is really playing, no one is hitting anything. Everything just went wrong. And obviously, Heroic played well and Vitality as well, I think we have never beat them, we've played them three times and it is always three maps, always third map Inferno and we always lose. [laughs]
But we will see, I expect us to show a lot different game style and a different level [going forward].
With the Vitality history, you are one of the top players with the most experience playing against ZywOo. What are your thoughts on him and the experiences playing against him?
The guy is just a machine. [laughs] When I watch him play, he is really calm, and plays some spots that are traditionally considered "bad", he doesn't have all the spots where you would expect a superstar to play. He does a mix of stuff and he does everything very well, he is a really calculated player, obviously he sometimes overpeeks, everyone does it sometimes, but he does it very rarely, and when he does, I guess it is because it is not just wanting the frag, but because it is an opportunity to close out the round. I think he and s1mple are obviously the two best individual players in the world right now, but I could see ZywOo overthrowing s1mple in the near future.
One of the thing that changed before this event was the AUG. ENCE's rise happened at the Major and that is when the popularity of the AUG rose as well, and while you were good before that as well, some correlation can be drawn there, some would say that you are one of the teams that adapted to it quicker. What do you think about the change now and how that impacted your team?
Yeah, it for sure affected us... with the AUG, it is a less punishing weapon, right? You can hold angles you would normally never hold with an M4 and also take duels which you would never take with an M4 - and not get punished. Also, I think the AUG update from before benefited us, but it also benefited a lot of other teams, while making some other teams [worse]. Let's say Na`Vi, who play a very slow, trade-based CS. Even though they do good mid-round calls, they rely a lot on getting the initial frags as T. And when there is an AUG on the other side, it is really hard for them to get the frags. In that way, I think the nerf of the AUG will benefit Na`Vi a lot.
Also, now you have to figure out, again, how to hold positions. You played with the AUG for 4-5 months, you were taking duels that you normally wouldn't and now you might, do it again by reflex - and then you die. So it is more about adapting, playing safer, more together. But I think it will correct itself out in our team, I think that with or without the AUG, we will be able to show the level we have shown in the past, it just takes a bit of time.
As I said, the preparation coming here was really, really good, I was really confident that we were going to show a lot of good stuff, but unfortunately, we did not. But I also see it as a positive thing for the future. Because we had a quick rise, even though we were doing it step by step, we had some big leaps and suddenly we were in a really high ranking. I think it will only benefit us that this happened here and we will always remember that this was the first time we went out in groups since EPICENTER last year. So it is good to remind ourselves that we are not there yet and we should never be satisfied with what we have achieved. We must want more and work more, never have the attitude that what we've done now is enough. In this case, I do see this as a positive thing.