ENCE is in a tough spot right now and they are making some big changes as a result.
The Finnish team has slipped down on HLTV’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive rankings to the point where they are no longer ranked as the top Finnish team in Counter-Strike. That spot has been taken over by HAVU Gaming.
HAVU has been on an upswing over recent months, posting first-place finishes in Assembly Winter 2020 and Lantrek 2020. This was followed by HAVU successfully qualifying for Flashpoint’s inaugural season, where they posted a surprise third-place finish, defeating Gen.G and Cloud9 along the way.
Though ENCE likely isn’t overly concerned with losing that top spot on HLTV’s Finnish rankings, the team knows that production has dipped and is making big changes to address this.
ENCE has announced the acquisition of teenage standout Elias “Jamppi” Olkkonen, with the organization planning to field a six-man roster. This follows Astralis making a similar move, adding Patrick “es3tag” Hansen to its roster. The reasoning behind the move stems from Astralis looking to address player burnout from CSGO’s exhaustive tournament schedule, something they have previously handled with extended breaks and prioritization of tournaments with shorter durations.
Don’t forget to give our newest addition some love and a follow on Twitter 🥰
— ENCE (@ENCE) April 21, 2020
ENCE did not specifically cite this as the cause for adding Jamppi, but alluded to similar reasons:
“It has been a rocky road in the past few months, which has caused issues with the players mentally and affected their performance…Signing Elias to the team was an opportunity we couldn’t pass on and he deserves the chance to showcase his talent to the world,” ENCE GM Niklas Ojalainen said in a statement.
ENCE was one of the biggest surprises of 2019. A surprise grand finals appearance at the 2019 IEM Katowice Major was followed by strong showings at BLAST Pro Series: Madrid 2019, DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019, and IEM XIV Chicago. ENCE was in a very strong position heading into the StarLadder Berlin Major, but the team made the surprise announcement that it was planning to release in-game leader Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen, regardless of the outcome.
The team reached the Champions Stage playoffs, but was eliminated by Renegades. True to their word, Aleksib was benched and transferred to OG three months later. ENCE has been in a free fall ever since.
ENCE has performed poorly in almost every tournament they’ve competed in, with the only exception being a second-place performance at the 2019 CSGO Asia Championships. The addition of Jamppi will give the team some flexibility with its roster and will also allow them to comfortably play around the fact that he is currently disallowed from competing in Valve-sponsored tournaments.
This ban stems from Jamppi allegedly being the owner of a Steam account that has a VAC ban. Jamppi states he did not cheat, but purchased CSGO for a friend who eventually used cheats several years ago. This ban robbed Jamppi of the opportunity to compete for OG, something that he is currently suing the CSGO developer for.
ENCE will next compete in the ESL Road to Rio European division, but Jamppi’s debut with the team likely won’t come until the Elisa Invitational.