Aleksi “Aleksib” “Benching” an Estonian and then leaving the ranks of ENCE was one of the biggest news in esports last year. I wrote at the time that the movement could destroy ENCE and sitting on the bench could perhaps derail the young referee’s career.
After all, neither picture of horror came true. And good so.
The Estonian found his new place as OG captain in December after a few months of bench heating. ENCE is playing as it continues to play, but the level has plummeted compared to last summer.
Although the end of the world did not come in the end, was the movement sensible in this way in retrospect? If one examines purely the performance of both parties after the difference, the answer is a clear no.
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After the Katowice miracle, ENCE was evenly in the top five in the world after the miracle of Katowice. At its best, the team came in second. Today, the team is swaying, depending on the rankings, somewhere around 20th on the world list.
Estonian OG is doing a little better; ranking is 9-20. depending on the ranking list. The team’s game is uneven, so a great match might be followed by a full bottom quote. We are far from the level that Virolainen achieved as a pilot for a Finnish team.
On the other hand, on a personal level for ENCE players, and especially for Estonians, the change could be good.
Immediately after the referee's departure, the Finnish team started to play a looser, more individual-centered game on average. Under the direction of Aleksi “allu” Jall and later Miikka “suNny” Kemppi, ENCE wins games more by shooting the opponent better, not with better tactics, as was the custom in the Estonian era.
Miikka “suNny” Kemppi has been ENCE's game manager since the spring.
Photo: Tuomo Väkevä / ENCE
Estonian OG is playing a slower, more tactical game again, where all players have to blow one coal to make the game go and there will be wins. Although the team's performance fluctuates, the players mainly follow the Estonian leadership and it seems that everyone wants to play the same way.
In addition, from the eyes of an outsider, it seems that after the transfer, the Estonian was downright relieved. Due to ENCE’s various PR shuffles and the abruptness of the kicks, it seems very likely that there was at least some tension in the background within the team.
Neither party has talked about the quarrel in public, but if the possible disagreements were really so bad that the departure of the Estonian was more of a compulsion than a choice, the change of players was certainly the right decision for everyone.
This is especially the second time that Finland's best game manager is going abroad. Tomi “lurppis” Kovanen once escaped to the American team Evil Geniuses, but later returned home.
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Of course, from the point of view of the Finnish Counter-Strike, it would be best if the best players in the country were sometimes brought together as a “national team” with the potential to be the best in the world. Unfortunately, at the moment, the return of an Estonian to his homeland seems unlikely, but perhaps it is best for him and also for ENCE.
OG is a good team that just needs work, consistency and perhaps a better player to replace Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt. ENCE, on the other hand, looks downright vibrant with Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen.
ENCE also has a fairly secure major venue in its pocket, the organization of which is one big question mark due to the corona, even though the team has to play important matches with Sami “xseveN” Laaananen instead of Olkkonen.
If Olkkonen's controversial ban is sometimes spun, the Finnish team will be seen in value tournaments in the future as well. Hopefully even fighting for medals.
In April, Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen signed a two-year agreement with ENCE. The career is overshadowed by the controversial major game ban.
Photo: Tuomo Väkevä / ENCE