allu on Aleksib's kick: "We removed the wrong player"
The 28-year-old AWPer talked about the roster changes in the team and whether he was behind the moves in the latest episode of 'HLTV Confirmed'.
ENCE have been a far cry from the team that spent several months inside the top 5 in the world rankings in 2019. As the year is drawing to a close, they lie outside the top 30 and have lost their last ten matches in all competitions.
Aleksi "allu" Jalli appeared on Monday as a guest in the 'HLTV Confirmed' podcast and discussed ENCE's struggles since replacing Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen with Miikka "suNny" Kemppi in August 2019, only five months after their Cinderella run at the IEM Katowice Major.
“Inside the team, the feeling was that there needed to be some sort of change,” allu said. “Now, looking back from there, that point when we removed Aleksib to here, we can say that we removed the wrong player."
allu recognized that maybe the team didn’t appreciate enough what Aleksib brought to the table, inside or outside the game. The 23-year-old, who was benched right after the StarLadder Major, has been able to find success with OG, who have been inside the top 10 in the rankings for the last two months.
The Finnish team barely had time to practice after picking up suNny and struggled for form at their next three events, BLAST Pro Series Moscow, ESL One New York, and DreamHack Masters Malmö. allu says that the lacklustre results "kind of poisoned" the team as they took a toll on the players.
ENCE bounced back with a second-place finish at the CS:GO Asia Championship — which remains their best result since Aleksib's removal —, but, according to allu, things took a turn for the worse at the start of 2020. ENCE signed Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen, Finland's rising talent, in April to replace Sami "xseveN" Laasanen, who was kept on the roster as he filled in for the youngster in Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournaments.
ENCE, however, didn’t keep the six-man roster for long, and xseveN signed with HAVU in August. The idea of an expanded roster wasn’t as popular an option as it is now, but seeing how Vitality have enjoyed success with Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom, allu believes they could have made it work with a six-man lineup.
The last months haven’t been easy for ENCE, who saw two important players leave. First, it was Jani "Aerial" Jussila, who stepped down in October due to medical reasons. In November, ENCE took another huge blow as Jere "sergej" Salo left the team due to motivation issues and to serve the Finnish army in 2021. “He’s genuinely excited about going to the army,” allu said.
With sergej gone, allu is the only player remaining from the lineup that made it to the grand final of the IEM Katowice Major. Part of the CS:GO community believes that the 28-year-old has been the one pulling all the strings on ENCE.
“I was also part of it of course, but it wasn’t only me obviously,” allu said. "I’m not a dictator who decides everything and how everything needs to go."
While the show was still running, sergej tweeted that allu's comments should not be accepted as evidence, adding that there's a reason why the veteran is the only player left from the original roster formed in April 2018.
“I wouldn't take everything that allu said or says as granted," sergej wrote. "His personality isn't as simple or harmless as it might seem. I'm not going to open up more about this situation because it's a mental health thing and that is not for me or Twitter to handle. Old teammates can back up my tweet, though. I just wanted to let this out because no one else has done it or could do it."
You can access the full VOD of today's episode of HLTV Confirmed below.