The first CS: GO Major of 2019 threw up a big surprise in ENCE. The Finnish team had a great run which saw them fall to Astralis in the Grand finals. Despite a meek showing in the Grand finals, ENCE still earned a lot of praise for their performance through the event.
The Finnish team followed their MAjor performance with a similarly strong showing at the Blast Pro Series: Sao Paolo There are many reasons for the Finnish team’s performance. However, does three wins ensure that Team ENCE is truly a top tier team in Counter-Strike now?
They have had their fair share of success, but their rank depends on the next few tournaments.
The Finnish team has not been one of the strongest teams in the International scene. The reason for this mostly depends on the type of tournaments that they graced their presence with. ENCE was mostly seen in several Tier two tournaments featuring lesser teams.
This served as a good practice ground for the Finnish roster as we can see the multitude of their victories. These victories were pretty easy for ENCE as they marched through tournaments such as the EU Minor, Dreamhack Open Winter 2018, Assembly GameXpo 2018. The last big victory for the team was the Starseries & I-League Season 6 in Kiev after a 3-2 victory against Vega Squadron.
A big reason for ENCE”s lack of big tournament placements is because they rarely attended these tournaments. The Major saw ENCE put up a very strong performance and had a great run through to the Grand finals. The team saw victories over stronger teams such as Team Liquid, Faze Clan amongst others. They did lose rather meekly to Astralis, but truth be said, there is no team that can truly challenge Astralis, even today.
Excellent Team Synergy coupled with an audacious playstyle.
What makes ENCE such an effective Counter-Strike team? Their roster lacks experience and does not have superstar players such as many of the other European teams. However, what they lack in fame, they make up for it in their skill and team coordination. Understanding the basics of the game and strengthening their playstyle has been the focus of the ENCE roster.
Led by AleksiB, we can witness their camaraderie and coordination via their social media presence. AleksiB brings forth a very different style of leadership both in the server as well as off it. Within the game, AleksiB makes fast and firm decisions which help the team get a time advantage over their opponents. The quick nature of the ENCE gameplay allows them to make surprising moves across the map.
AleksiB allows Allu a lot more freedom as the primary AWP player on the team. He often makes audacious and risky moves with the AWP. After finding the initial kill, we often see the team fall back into a passive approach. They know how to secure their early advantage and take full advantage of the same. However, such risky plays are not possible without the team assuming adequate positions on other regions of the map.
The dance of aggression and caution presents a very strong defence on the CT side. On the T side, the Finnish team often relies on the initial pick from Allu or Sergej to gain a foothold. However, as the round progresses, we often see their In-Game Leader, AleksiB pull off a victory from extremely difficult clutch situations.
How many events are enough to accept a team into the top Three?
ENCE secured a Top two finish at the IEM Katowice 2019 Major as well as a 3rd place finish at the Blast pro series Sao Paolo 2019. These placements are not a fluke like some of the past Major Finalists.
ENCE has proved themselves in recent weeks. Their Grand final appearance at the Major was quickly followed with a third-place finish at the Blast Pro Series Sao Paolo. Two top tier finishes do not make a team one of the best teams in the world. But the quality of these victories does matter in the grand scheme of things.
The IEM Katowice Major saw excellent seeding and ENCE had to defeat several top teams to reach the finals. It was not a fluke and most of these matches were Best of Three matches. Their run through to the Grand finals was not without its downsides. ENCE lost matches to Hellraisers, Renegades at the Major, but managed to bounce back to reach the playoffs.
Consistent performances by the Finnish squad ensures they are a top tier team
ENCE has been consistent since the IEM Katowice 2019 Major. They played at the invite-only Blast Pro Series Sao Paolo. The matches were Best of One with the vetoes taking place well before the start of the matches. However, it was an even playing field for all the participating teams.
The Blast Pro Series Sao Paolo proved that ENCE can compete against the very best teams. They reached the Grand finals despite the presence of teams such as Faze Clan, Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas as well as Made in Brazil. These teams have some of the finest and most experienced players and yet the young players of ENCE managed to come out on top.
ENCE still has a long way to go to prove themselves. Two to three victories don’t make them a top tier team yet. They need more consistent performances in the next few months and that will be the true test for ENCE’s positioning in the CS: GO rankings.
For now, ENCE is ranked 4th in the HLTV rankings. These rankings are an appropriate reflection of the current state of Counter-Strike Global Offensive. However, their rankings do depend on their performance in the next few months. With changes to the map pool [ the addition of Vertigo ], ENCE will have their task cut out for them.