Analysts and commentators marveled over the professionalism of the ENCE Esports team at the StarLadder Berlin Major as they dealt with a turbulent time with the team. Now that the event is over, things are turning a bit less professional.
Now that he is officially out of the team, Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen seems to be taking issue with the remaining ENCE players. In particular, he scoffed at a recent HLTV interview with Jani “Aerial” Jussila conducted at the BLAST Pro Series Moscow tournament.
“Wtf did I just read?” Aleksib asked on Twitter.
On its own, the tweet was vague enough that it wouldn’t be controversial. But when a number of other pro CSGO players chimed in, it quickly became clear what he was referring to.
“Apparently you needed to use a grenade launcher, guys out here looking for that firepower y’know?” said Joshua “steel” Nissan.
The rhetorical question specifically references a line in Aerial’s interview, where he states that newly added player Miikka “suNny” Kemppi gives the team “more firepower” than what Aleksib offered.
Ahead of the StarLadder Berlin Major, ENCE and Aleksib revealed that he would be benched from the starting lineup following the event. It was a surprising move from a team that had been ranked among the world’s best in recent months, and it came at an incredibly inopportune time.
Despite knowing that he had no future with the team, Aleksib performed well for ENCE. The team sprinted through the Legends Stage of the Berlin Major with a 3-0 record for a top-eight placement that guaranteed them a strong start in the next CSGO major. That had them looking like a potential candidate for the grand finals of the event but instead, the team were dispatched in the quarterfinals by Renegades.
According to Aerial, there were several reasons for the decision to swap in suNny for Aleksib with the biggest being that the team felt they hit their ceiling with their established lineup. The team was proven top-five-caliber, but the number one spot evidently felt out of reach for them.
Aleksi “allu” Jalli has taken over in-game leadership duties and SuNny theoretically provides more offensive potency than Aleksib did.
The new ENCE lineup debuted at BLAST Pro Series Moscow, but didn’t necessarily look better than it had previously. The lineup placed fifth out of six teams in the group stage, missing out on both the finals and the BLAST Pro Standoff.
Aleksib is undoubtedly frustrated with his benching and annoyed that some of his possibly former friends are being dismissive of his in-game skills, but only time will tell whether the change was the right move for ENCE.