suNny: "We're feeling some pressure because of social media that we need to get rid of"
ENCE had a rocky start at ESL One New York, where they let two leads slide against G2 on Dust2, which they lost in overtime, and Nuke, a map that went all thirty rounds. The Finns then took on one of the tournament's heavy underdogs, eUnited, and won 2-0 to secure a spot in the Group A decider match where they will once again face G2 in a bid to secure a playoff berth.
In an interview after a bittersweet day suNny talked about the team's performance at BLAST Pro Series Moscow where a win, two ties, and two losses were not enough to make it to the best-of-three final, adjusting to playing competitively again since signing with ENCE, some communication issues within the team, getting mentally blocked during tight situations, and the rematch against G2 which will take place in the Group A decider.
In an earlier interview you said it may take you a few events to get back into the groove of things and catch up with the current meta. You had a bit of a rough event in Moscow, how are you feeling after a few series here?
In regards to Moscow, the stats lie sometimes. Our opponents saved a lot of rounds on 3vs5, 4vs5s, so when you don't even have a chance to get kills you don't always have good stats. We had four guys with negative ratings yet we won one match pretty easily and played two close matches, so stats lie sometimes and I think in that case we played somewhat better than what the ratings show.
As far as this event, especially in the G2 match, I feel like there was a big mental block. They made great comebacks, I don't want to take anything away from them, but it felt like we lost the match instead of them winning it because we had 5vs3 situations in which we didn't communicate properly and people walked behind us and stuff like that. We kind of set too "high expectations" even though we didn't have them, but for some reason we're feeling some pressure. I think it's because of social media and stuff like that, which we just need to get rid of. After the match we asked ourselves how we can make those kinds of mistakes even though we've all been through so much already. We basically just had a team talk and discussed that we need to play the way we do in practice.
What exactly do you mean when you say you're having a mental block?
In this case, I mean that we're trying to win too much. We need to just go round by round without thinking about the score. When we hit the 14-9 mark we lost two rounds by going in one by one and that's a thing that many new teams do. They have this thing where they want to win it too much and start to overthink. This victory over eUnited I think helped us a bit in this regard.
When you signed with ENCE, one of the reasons that was given for you substituting Aleksib was that you would fit well into his positions. Is that something that's working out, are you fitting into those positions, or do you think some things need to be reworked?
I don't want to go too into detail about it, but right now I'm just playing where he played on every map. In terms of my own gameplay, it's obviously not the same as when I was playing in mousesports. Now I rely more on what the rest of the team does, and I do have some freedom to do stuff, but I'm mostly just adapting to them. When we have more time we'll switch things around a bit, but not too much.
Another one of the things that was talked about, and which may be evolving with time, is the in-game leading. You have the trio of allu, you, and Twista, and in the interview I referenced earlier you also said that in-game leaders don't always have such a heavy role as many people believe. So how is this all working out?
It's a new experience for allu, but he's doing a lot of good stuff. I don't think there have been misscalls, and I think everybody has voice on the team even though allu is the main caller. Everybody has some ideas during the mid-rounds and we just listen to them. It's a bit like that on every team. If I compare it to mousesports, for example, if someone had an idea then the team would adjust to it. There aren't teams in which only one guy is talking.
You said there were some moments against G2 in which there was a lack of communication. Is there ever too much noise?
No, we don't have too much noise or panic in our communication or anything like that, it's the opposite right now. In practice we make jokes during rounds and we cheer on each other and stuff like that, but now during some intense rounds when we're low on time we get too silent and kind of freeze instead of doing anything, and that's also because of the mental thing which I mentioned earlier.
You said there were "no expectations," and you're trying to get rid of the pressure, but were there any talks about what you're aiming at here? Anything you want to show on the server, or the results you get, the way you play?
Yeah, to be completely honest we did discuss it a bit, but we didn't set any expectations, we just want to go and play each game and we know that we can take teams down, even the top 3 teams, but we just need to go game by game and learn after every map. As you saw we played several maps already in two best-of-threes and we're just trying to get experience and "practice," so to speak, on each map.
You played BLAST Pro Series before this, so didn't have much time to be at home and work on stuff, but what have been the routines or what is it you've done with your limited time?
We had one week of practice before coming here, after Moscow, and we mainly looked at why we lost there and we focused on that and on playing our own game and on not getting shut down the way we did against forZe at BLAST, but nothing special. We played on seven maps in one week so we just kind of had to get things working to build a gameplan.
Going up against G2, how do you think the rematch will go?
We're confident, we weren't that sad about the loss because it was in our hands and we didn't lose because they were a better team, it's kind of the same for both teams playing with new lineups and there were a lot of tight rounds.