suNny: "Our main goal is to be ready for next year"
ENCE had a rough first day in Beijing, losing to 100 Thieves in two maps and coming back from the brink of elimination against ViCi in a three-map series that saw Jere "sergej" Salo clutch late in map two to turn it around for the Finns. suNny and company will now face off against 100 Thieves once again today in the Group A decider match for a spot in the playoffs.
ENCE have been working hard since DreamHack Masters Malmö, practicing long hours, although the results haven't followed yet as ENCE struggled on day one of IEM Beijing. The event in China is the first real test the Finns have had since putting in the hours together, says suNny, who revealed that the team's main goal is to use the last couple of months this year to make sure they are ready for 2020.
You've had some time off before this event, can you tell me a bit about what you have been up to during that time?
We took a small break after Malmö, since half of the team was ill there, but after that we started to practice a lot. We had really long days, seven or eight hours of practice plus two hours of theory. We also had a one-week bootcamp before coming here. That's pretty much how we've been doing it, it has been mostly about adjusting me to the team a little bit more and fixing the mistakes we made at the tournaments before this one.
How have the adjustments been going?
We did really well in practice, we've been getting better every day. During our bootcamp it felt like we didn't even lose any practice matches, although obviously those results don't count for much. We were unable to show them in our first game here and although we had a good T-half on Train against 100 Thieves things just collapsed.
Why do you think you weren't able to translate the practice results?
I don't know, to be honest. It felt like we had bad comms in the first map, and we started to wake up but it felt like we were kind of scared to win, if that makes any sense. We just need to go match by match and focus on our own game now.
ViCi took took the first map against you. How did you rally from that?
It felt really weird. It was a long day, but we still shouldn't have played such a tight match against them. If that's the way we have to do it from now on, that's just the way we'll do it. The whole team went outside after the first map and Twista was pretty mad. He basically said "what the fuck are you doing?" because there were some rounds in which we just died one by one without any plan, so to speak, but yeah... sergej clutching in the second map kept us in the game and then allu did some pretty good calling on Mirage, which made it easy.
The Train rounds at the end were very close. As you said, it came down to some clutches. It could have slipped away. How did you manage to pull through in the end?
The whole game was pretty weird because it felt like when we played online before the event everyone was in really good shape, but suddenly in the first match and in the beginning of the ViCi match we couldn't kill anyone, and if you don't get the kills on the CT sides then it makes things really hard. We can just thank sergej for Train.
You're facing 100 Thieves again, how are you feeling about the rematch?
At this point, without so much LAN experience as a team... I mean, we had three events, but you can't really count them because we weren't able to practice before them, so we can only talk about the matches yesterday and we just have to make sure to not make the same mistakes.
We obviously want to win against them, it felt like we should have at least played the third map in the first match after the Train T-side we had. You should always be able to close that, but they played really well and I just hope that we'll be more awake since the beginning this time around and then we'll see. We're still confident even though we weren't able to show it on day one.
You had a good T-side on Train against 100 Thieves, as you said, what happened on the CT side?
It's really hard to play when the opponents enter sites and get the entry without giving us a chance. They basically ran the two same strats, they popped inside with good flashbangs and went outside always getting the entry. These days if you get the entry with the SG you can just hold angles against the M4s and it's really hard to play against them. The SG is OP.
Have you felt a lot of pressure to perform here? Do you think it's affecting the team's mindset?
We set pretty straight goals for the team and our main goal is to be ready for next year. We won't be happy if we go out in the group stage but we're still taking these events as practice to get ready for 2020. It sucks to know you can win but then you don't perform as in practice, so yeah... it's hard to answer, we're just going to play the best we can and try to win.
Have you made a plan for the end of the year to make sure you're in shape next year?
This event is our first real test because now we have some practice, so we're seeing how things go having practiced. We'll have a week at home and then we come back to China. We'll practice some in between, but we're just trying to focus on what we're doing wrong after each map and match and I think it'll be this way until the end of the year. We'll have another bootcamp after our next event, so it'll just be about practicing a lot.