Up next in our Major preview series is the spiritual partner to Vitality, the Finnish powerhouse that is ENCE. The both rose to prominence since the Katowice Major, although Vitality definitely shined a little brighter. ENCE and Vitality foil each other nicely, as Vitality relies largely on their prodigious star ZywOo, whereas ENCE likes to spread the burden out, letting all five players carry the burden.
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Last Six Months Stats (on LAN)
Team K/D: 1.04
- Train – Played 18 times, 83.3% win rate
- Nuke – Played 17 times, 82.4% win rate
- Mirage – Played 15 times, 66.7% win rate
- Overpass – Played 16 times, 50.0% win rate
- Dust2 – Played 15 times, 46.7% win rate
- Inferno – Played 12 times, 33% win rate
- Sergej – Rating 1.13, K/D 1.12
- Allu – Rating 1.12, K/D 1.18
- Aerial – Rating 1.06, K/D 0.99
- Aleksib – Rating 1.02, K/D 0.95
- Xseven – Rating 1.00, K/D 0.95
If you bet that Liquid and ENCE would come in first place at every tournament so far this year, you’d be up. ENCE have been incredibly consistent second place finishers since the beginning of the year, netting three second place finishes out of the five LANs they’ve attended this year.
This has a lot to do with the way their team is constructed. ENCE relies heavily on all five of their members, which spreads the responsibilities out. By giving every member a chance to contribute, they are able to stay more consistent than a team like Vitality or Na’Vi.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of firepower, they have a defined ceiling. That ceiling is second place at a Major event, which isn’t bad, but still.
I think it’s fair to say that sergej has transitioned from exciting young prospect to bona fide all-star. He’s the best performing player on ENCE and it isn’t really close. No one else on the team is as dynamic as him, due to their second best player being an AWPer, which means sergej gets saddled with a lot of playmaking responsibilities. Despite this, he’s thrived over the last six months, putting up a team high rating.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been enough for them to bring home any trophies. While I think that a personnel change would be the best thing for this team at this point, there’s also a chance that sergej could take another step up. If he could go from all-star to top five player, ENCE would have an even better shot at taking home the trophy at the StarLadder Berlin Major.
Allu is really an incredible story. By all accounts, his career should have been over after he was removed from FaZe. Instead, he went back to work with a young core from his home country, and revitalized his career.
Now he stands on the precipice of the StarLadder Berlin Major, ready to take it all this time. He is one of the most effective AWPers in the game right now, and he is going to be absolutely crucial in Berlin. He is the team’s second best fragger, and they rely on him to have impact with the big green gun.
Aerial is the X factor at the StarLadder Berlin Major for ENCE. He is supposed to be the second or third option on this team, and the second most impactful rifle. There are times when he fills that role, and that’s usually when the team excels. Unfortunately, that’s frequently not the case.
He has had his fair share of no shows and disappointing performances, especially when the lights are the brightest. ENCE will surely need a big tournament for him if they hope to overcome the ever present specter of Team Liquid.
There isn’t much to say about Aleksib. Most of his value comes in his off the server work and his ability to call, which is solid. He runs a tight ship on both sides of the map, and likely won’t ever be the reason that ENCE loses a map. You can count on him for a couple clutches, a rating above 1.00, and a solid T side. That’s about it.
Xseven might be one of the most underappreciated players in professional CS:GO. He is a huge asset for ENCE in the same way Xyp9x is for Astralis, although he’s not quite as good of a clutch artist.
Xseven is excellent at the dirty work that a top five team needs, which makes him invaluable. There are only a handful of players that can do what he does, the Xyp9x’s, the Stewie2k’s, the NBK’s, he’s right up there. I have no doubt he’ll be a huge asset for ENCE at the StarLadder Berlin Major.
I’m actually amazed by ENCE’s map pool. It’s not often you see a team playing at this level with such a well spread map pool. They have a near 50% win rate or higher on five of the six maps they play routinely, which is impressive.
The top portion of their map pool is good even for a top five team, with their two most played maps being over 82% win rate. That puts them on strong footing in a best of three against just about anyone, especially because they are fairly niche maps. You can pretty much guarantee that ENCE will get one of Train or Nuke, and will likely have a better win rate than their opponent on whichever they pick.
The middle of their map pool is encouraging as well. They can play any of the aim heavy maps, Mirage and Dust 2, while also being adept at Overpass. Best of ones become no problem for them, as they can handle aim happy NA teams as well as more tactical EU teams. This also gives them options in the late pick ban stage against just about anyone. They have several places they can take teams to on decider picks.
The bottom end of their map pool is a little concerning. They permaban Vertigo, which will enable/force mind games against teams that also refuse to play it. Their Inferno, on the other hand, is really weak for a top five team. While it does seem like they’re willing to play it, it’s a popular map in tier one competition. Teams will first pick that into ENCE pretty much everytime and it could become a serious liability.
Strengths and Weaknesses
ENCE are one of the longest running lineups in CS right now, believe it or not. They’ve been playing together since April of last year, and it shows. They have excellent teamplay, which complements their play style and their team composition. Few teams would benefit from continuity as deeply as ENCE does.
One two punch
Allu and sergej are a top tier combination. They’re one of the best duos in Counter Strike right now, both in skill level and in fit. Not to mention their excellent consistency. They work like a hammer and an anvil, with allu controlling space with his AWP, and sergej exploiting the space created with his aim and his positioning.
As I’ve alluded to, ENCE lack a player on the level of EliGE, s1mple, Device. Allu and sergej are both excellent players, but neither of them are superstar players on that caliber. That puts them at a big disadvantage as soon as they get in the server.
ENCE excel when they’re playing together, spreading out the load, and relying on everyone to do their part. This gives them a high floor, as they’re unlikely to lose a best of three just because one of their players didn’t show up. Their map pool is rock solid, and should give them a chance in a best of three against anyone.
On the flip side, they lack a true star that can carry them through the toughest best of threes, like against Liquid. I like ENCE to make a deep playoff run, but I don’t trust them to win the whole thing unless we see an ascendant Aerial.