Snappi on Snax: "It was close that we picked him"
ENCE's in-game leader gives insight on their recent changes.
Once again they have sought change, not satisfied with multiple top placings in 2022 and a climb to No. 2 in the world rankings, with Olek "hades" Miskiewicz making way for star AWPer Alvaro "SunPayus" Garcia. The European squad was also forced into making one more transfer, the Vitality-bound Lotan "Spinx" Giladi replaced by Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså.
HLTV took some time with ENCE IGL Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer in light of the recent moves to get his insight on the scouting methods utilised by the team, his thoughts on the signings they have made and why they made them, and how his team might change based on their new personnel.
Who finds the players? Is there a specific person or group of people, or do you all contribute?
Me and sAw find the players. It has always been like this, that we discuss different options we have and then make a decision. We of course will talk to the team and management about the options we have, but ENCE and the team trusts us with the signings we recommend and do their best to get it done.
Who has the final say on player signings?
If it comes to it, it would be sAw who could put his foot down and demand something. If I someday had to get removed, he needs to have that power. But so far we haven’t been in a situation like this and we have been more of a duo. Usually we agree on what needs to be done.
This time when we had to replace Spinx, is the first time where we did 'tryouts' in order to find the best replacement. We got denied on an offer that was done and we for once weren’t 100% confident who to pick after. Everyone in the team was more involved and we decided through tryouts and past experiences on what people preferred the most.
Are you keeping tabs on players throughout the year, people you think have potential or might be good signings in the future?
Yes of course you always keep your eye out.
I think a lot of GMs don’t have their finger on the pulse when it comes to talent and what to look for. You have to find out through other channels how their attitude is, work ethic, mentality, is their numbers inflated by good roles, are they selfish, etc etc. There is a lot more to it than just checking HLTV numbers.
Is it an advantage being an international team, and having the freedom to cast the net wide when looking for players to bring in?
Yes of course it is, but it obviously also comes with a disadvantage. You will always be handicapped in communication, so you have to stack on firepower and smartness within the system.
I think karrigan also said that if teams like us try to mirror Cloud9 or NAVI in their playstyle, then we wouldn’t be able to compete with them. It truly is like that, because when the time runs low and stress happens easier, that is when the comms matter the most. We have to find a way to not end up in situations like this every round. But as you say, of course there is a big advantage of being able to find talent and players for exactly the roles you need.
Did the fact you had a dip in results towards the end of the season have any impact in pushing you toward making changes?
I don’t think so. It could have been if we had won BLAST or Cologne maybe, but I think it would have ultimately happened anyway. It’s a very cynical business in the sense that if something can improve you, then you need to do it.
Since we picked up hades we became better, then again better when picking up Maden. hades always had insane potential, but he was always way too hard on himself. He would feel like he let his teammates down when he wasn’t playing up to his potential, and it would hurt his own confidence and therefore performance. He would NEVER be toxic, but he would lose his focus and comms because he was mad at himself. We always hoped and tried to improve this, and to be fair it did improve a little, but not fast enough.
I really hope someone else can untap this potential fully, because he is literally one of the nicest people I ever met, and one of the best players I played with, when he is at his 100%. It was probably the hardest change I have been a part of, mainly because of Olek's wonderful personality when you hung out with him at events.
Was the SunPayus pickup anything to do with Spinx leaving, did you maybe feel like you needed more firepower with Spinx on the way out?
No it wasn’t really connected.
If Spinx had stayed, would you still have signed SunPayus?
Yes there were talks and Spinx knew. Nothing was set in stone though and the change wasn’t fully decided until semi-late into the player break, both with Spinx and the AWP situation.
Did you try to convince Spinx to stay?
No but he told me very early that he was leaning towards them due to BLAST, ZywOo and more resources/money in the organization. The only thing I and sAw told him was that he shouldn't be comparing their positives to our negatives, he should instead compare their positives to our positives and their negatives to our negatives. But he is his own person and he will make his own decision.
I’m not mad at him, I had 2 wonderful years with Lotan and I wish him the best and maybe we will work together again someday in a player/player relation, or maybe where I have moved on into another position, you never know.
What were the reasons behind benching hades? sAw mentioned as part of the announcement that he felt the change needed to be made, and that it was due to the “direction we are going for”, what did he mean by that?
It was mainly down to us not getting 100% out of Olek and also Olek not getting 100% out of himself. There were never any conflicts, as I said Olek is a lovely person and an insane player.
Is there any part of you that wishes you could have kept the hades Spinx version of the lineup together longer, thinking that maybe there was still room to grow there and win a title?
I haven’t put much thought into it. It was a bit rough since after Dallas we dealt with some burnout on one player, so we couldn’t really practice and give 100% towards the end of the season. I think the lineup still had a lot of room to grow and we could have developed further, but there is no reason to dwell on the past now.
Would winning a title have kept the team together?
Maybe it would have affected Spinx's decision and we would have kept the lineup with that current five, but I'm not certain.
You were linked with a few different names, lauNX and faveN being two, before eventually settling on valde. What were the reasons for valde signing, instead of the other players you were linked with or considered?
lauNX was the only one where an offer was made early on and he wanted to go. We bid a lot but Sprout denied it and his agent didn’t put a buyout in his contract.
After that we did tryouts on some players as we weren’t 100% sure who to go for. Valde did amazing and the team preferred him. I think he will do great and he truly seems motivated to do big things as he didn’t achieve what he wants to. He has great comms and with the addition of him it opens up more possibilities to play more 'open' rounds without an end goal.
Was Snax considered? You had a good result in Dallas with him in the squad.
Yes he was considered. We had four different players we picked between as a team, and he was one of them. It was close that we picked him.
I love Janusz and I’m truly sorry that I didn’t hold up my tweet after Dallas. I wrote it both to help him and also because I actually meant it at the time. So, sorry to the Polish community, but mostly Janusz for not picking him. I’m sure he will find somewhere soon though, he is not like other older players, he has motivation, drive and most important talent. I really hope I see him again soon, he is amazing.
Are there going to have to be any role changes with the new signings coming in? It seems like SunPayus has a different style to hades, and Spinx is probably a more aggressive player than valde.
There will be role changes on certain maps but not a lot. I think valde wasn’t given a lot of chances to shine because he was put in more of a supportive role on CT. I think with us his numbers will improve as he will be given more space to shine and take action himself. His past in-game leaders either played the star CT roles or were AWPing, but I play a lot of the supportive CT roles in our team, giving more space for others.
We want to push him to become more aggressive, he was like this when I played with him 5-6 years ago, he just developed into a support player because of his teams. That doesn’t mean it’s all he can do. He can give you numbers if you let him, and we are gonna let him.
Are you still looking to retain the core ENCE identity that we have come to know you guys for in the first half of this year, or do you think the playstyle will change?
I think the ENCE identity was maybe a bit overblown also after my last interview where I said rush faster. We like to have set rounds and play fast, but it didn’t mean we didn’t play slow default based rounds. I think when looking at demoes us and FaZe play a pretty similar explosive style, which was probably why we matched up well against them. They obviously did it better though, because they have been the undisputed number 1 in 2022 and won 4 big events. I have a lot of respect for them.
There will however be certain changes to our playstyle naturally. Before we would often have an end goal within our defaults because we had multiple inexperienced players that wouldn’t communicate much or offer nades/ideas within the round. With that it is obviously harder to just 'play the round'. Now both SunPayus and valde are very vocal, so our playstyle will probably shift a bit more in a more 'free' direction with mid-round calling, without fully forgetting our explosiveness.