ENCE is a Finnish e-sports organization that has teams, for example, in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Fortnite. ENCE’ CS:GO team is among the world’s top ten teams. At least for now. ENCE’ story started when they reached the second place in the prestigious Katowice Major 2019 tournament this year in March. They gained more popularity by winning Astralis, ranked as the world’s best team, at the BLAST Pro Series: Madrid 2019 in this May.
The team’s original roster was Aleksi “Allu” Jalli, Sami “XseveN” Laasanen, Jani “Aerial” Jussila, Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen and Jesse “Sergej” Salo. ENCE hired the best Finnish players from foreign teams. This line-up made ENCE a household name in the e-sports scene at large.
ENCE brands itself specifically as a Finnish CS:GO team. Before ENCE there were two Finnish teams in CS:GO that most people know. They were 3DMAX and HAVU. HAVU is still among the world’s top thirty teams, but no-one remembers that anymore. ENCE is now the world-famous Finnish team that’s popular in Finland too. “Our team” -thinking takes ENCE forward and gives them tremendous visibility. There are many good Finnish players who are playing in foreign teams, but they don’t show their Finnishness.
In Finland, various media outlets and firms are excited about ENCE and its success. Yle shows ENCE’s games on television when the team qualifies for a major tournament. Especially phone operators are interested in the team. For example, Telia is now ENCE’ sponsor and the team is very visible in Telia Esports advertising. These things raise awareness about ENCE, CS:GO, and all e-sports.
After StarLadder Berlin Major 2019 -tournament the other players decided to bench Aleksib to improve the team’s dynamics. That ended up being Aleksib’s last tournament with ENCE. Aleksib is a very strong in-game leader and benching him raised questions among other teams and fans. Aleksib was replaced with Miikka “suNny” Kemppi.
Aleksib published his opinion on Twitter and especially his fans were shocked about it. Aleksib and Allu had a lot of disagreement and despite his skill, Aleksib was kicked off from the team. After ENCE, Aleksib is rumored to get hired to another game organization called OG. He might be playing with a young rising CS:GO star Elias ”Jamppi” Olkkonen.
Before benching Aleksib and replacing him with Sunny, ENCE lost their touch within the game. It’s almost understandable because the new configuration required some time to get used to it. After Aleksib, the new in-game leader is Allu. Now ENCE is at a turning point where the team has to show if the new line-up will work. We’ll see what happens next.
Picture taken by the author.