Counter-Strike at ENCE is seeing a new look going into the 2021 season. We are introducing three new additions to the roster, an overhaul in our team management philosophy, and a new Performance Coach to help the team.
The second half of the 2020 season was a turbulent time in ENCE’s Counter-Strike division. After a promising start in the ESL Pro League Season 12, the uplift was short-lived with a combination of coaching suspension and lineup changes defining the season. This ultimately concluded in the events that took place halfway through December. “As an organization, we have failed to see the gravity of the underlying issues in our previous lineup. While we have always tried to emphasize the importance of openness and communication — we take full responsibility for not being able to intervene soon enough”, says Niklas “Willkey” Ojalainen, GM at ENCE.
“These recent events have been a big learning experience for us here at ENCE."
- Niklas "Willkey" Ojalainen, GM at ENCE
The social media events in December started a process within the organization where we carefully started to evaluate our own processes and how we can help our players to navigate through the human aspect of everything to do with professional gaming. “These recent events have been a big learning experience for us here at ENCE. We are staying humble and believe that with our newly set structure and philosophy we can start our road back to the top”, Niklas “Willkey” Ojalainen adds.
The social media events in December were heavily focused on Aleksi “allu” Jalli and his behaviour as a teammate and a figurehead of the team. We fully recognize that he has made mistakes during his time at ENCE. However, putting all the responsibility on one individual's shoulders is not acceptable. All team decisions have been made in cooperation with the leading players, coaching, and the organization. Aleksi has been an important voice in the team due to his seniority as a player but putting all blame on him as an individual is incorrect. “The events in December put us in a situation where we had to evaluate whether we can continue with allu moving forward as an organization. He hasn’t been a perfect teammate during his time with us and has acknowledged that to us as well. Even if it is true that there has been tension between the players in the team, the allegations made towards allu on social media and singling him out as the sole reason for them, are very far from the truth. It is easy to start pointing fingers at someone, but there are multiple people responsible in a team for the choices and the working conditions.”, Niklas “Willkey” Ojalainen adds.
“allu is a world elite level AWPer who can perform in any given situation. As an experienced player, he can give our newcomers much-needed perspective on how to improve.”
- Eetu “sAw” Saha, Head Coach at ENCE.
As with all of our new recruits, we have also conducted a data-driven personality reviewing process of our already contracted players, such as allu. Aleksi is an exceptionally driven and loyal individual, who does everything he can to win. The extremely competitive nature in him makes him persistent and in some situations challenging in a social environment while in competition. As a competitor, he is very keen on improving his shortcomings and understands that it's necessary for him to improve as a teammate.
While piecing together our lineup for 2021 we had long discussions with all new players and Head Coach Eetu “sAw” Saha. In these discussions, one important factor was the future of allu in the team. All players showed their support for allu and wanted to keep him as a part of the team. “allu is a world elite level AWPer who can perform in any given situation. As an experienced player, he can give our newcomers a much-needed perspective on how to improve.”, says Eetu “sAw” Saha, Head Coach at ENCE.
When Jere “sergej” Salo stepped down from the active roster we started to look for a replacement for him for DreamHack Masters Winter and hopefully for the new year. During this process, we came to an agreement with SJ Gaming to give Tuomas “SADDYX” Louhimaa a tryout contract for the tournament and agreed on terms for his acquisition if the team and coaching staff agreed he would be a good fit. After the conclusion of the tournament, the team was very happy with his drive, positive attitude, and potential as a very young player, and the acquisition was completed.
Unfortunately, with the events later in December, his position in the team was put on hold as we started to rebuild the roster completely. During this process, we soon understood that he didn’t fit in the new lineup plans. “I’m very sorry to Tuomas for the situation that he has ended up in with all the events that have occurred. While piecing together the new lineup for 2021 together with our Head Coach, we, unfortunately, ended up in this situation where we didn’t have space for Tuomas. I can only apologize to him for his unthankful position in all of this.”, says Niklas “Willkey” Ojalainen. ENCE is actively looking to find a new suitable home for him where he can take the next step in his career.
Miikka “suNny” Kemppi informed ENCE in December of his wish to start building a new project together with other international players. After discussing with him, it was mutually clear that this was not possible under the ENCE brand.
Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen is also excluded from our 2021 CS:GO lineup as a result of the rebuilding process. Elias is an extremely talented young player who we have enjoyed working with thoroughly. Unfortunately, his circumstances as a VAC banned player at this time weighed on the decision as we recruited players with the desire to build a lineup capable of playing in the Valve Majors as well. Elias is still contracted to ENCE at this time. We are actively discussing his future plans together with him.
As a result of our evaluation and reconstruction process - we have restructured the approach to our team management in Counter-Strike. Eetu “sAw” Saha as the Head Coach of ENCE’s CS:GO team is fully responsible for deciding our playing lineup in close cooperation with ENCE’s GM Niklas “Willkey” Ojalainen. By this, we want to further professionalize the structure in our organization and also limit authority from the players. “Throughout the process of rebuilding ENCE’s CS:GO team for 2021, I have been given the responsibility and authority on how we build the team. I think this is good progress, it takes away the pressure, burden, and responsibility of making player choices from the players. From now I will make those decisions and be fully accountable for the results that come with it.”, says Eetu “sAw” Saha.
ENCE is also welcoming Ville “WILLFEEL” Merinen as the team's new performance coach. Ville’s background is in psychotherapy and he mostly works with young adults in his profession. He has a background in working with athletes and has a keen interest in helping out our esports professionals. “I’ve been very interested in the psychological and therapeutic aspects of esports. Gaming has been a big part of my life for over 20 years already. “ Ville “WILLFEEL” Merinen, ENCE’s Performance Coach says. Ville will be integrated into the weekly operation of the team and wants to bring added positivity into our players' working life. “We want to make sure our players and everyone in the organization is in the right place mentally to succeed. We want to create an atmosphere where we prevent things such as burnouts from occurring.”, Ville “WILLFEEL” Merinen adds.
ENCE has decided to go international with our CS:GO roster for the first time in its history. This was a joint decision between the organization and the Head Coach. As we evaluated our options for 2021 - it soon became evident that it was the step we needed to make, in order to help create a new culture and get where we want to be competitively.
Coming in as the all-new In-game leader of ENCE is Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer, who most recently represented c0ntact. Marco is a 30-year-old experienced player from Denmark, who has already played for international rosters before and knows what it takes to create a successful team. “Snappi is a player we wanted here because we know he can deliver what we need. After discussing with him in-depth about the game, I noticed we have a similar thought process to the game. He is also socially great and comes along with all kinds of personalities.”, Eetu “sAw” Saha talks about Marco.
Our second recruit to the team is Paweł “dycha” Dycha, who comes in the team from Sprout. Paweł is a 23-year-old star in the making from Poland, who brings raw skill into the team. “We’re bringing in Dycha for his high-level mechanical skill. Then it’s up to us to create those opportunities for him.”, Eetu “sAw” Saha describes Paweł. He showcased his star potential recently by winning FPL Circuit in December 2020.
The third new recruit to our lineup is Lotan “Spinx” Giladi, who also joins ENCE from c0ntact. Lotan is now the youngest member of the squad at 20-years-old and he comes from Israel. “Spinx is more of a diamond in the rough, but we want to give him responsibility straight away to shape him up. As it’s planned now, we will see him play more anchor and passive roles but we want to set him up for good plays as well.”, Eetu “sAw” Saha says.
ENCE CS:GO 2021 team consists of
Eetu “sAw” Saha - Head Coach
Ville “WILLFEEL” Merinen - Performance Coach
Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer
Paweł “dycha” Dycha
Joonas “doto” Forss
Aleksi “allu” Jalli
Lotan “Spinx” Giladi
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