ENCE come into ESL Pro League Season 18 as one of the favorites in Group B, if not the entire tournament. We sat down with the team’s talismanic AWPer SunPayus to get his thoughts on the tournament, with various topics discussed.
Here, you’ll find out how ENCE have established themselves at the top of CS:GO, SunPayus’ thoughts on IGL Snappi, and how the team are preparing for CS2!
We’re coming into ESL Pro League off the back of two Grand Final defeats for ENCE. How do you guys bounce back mentally from that?
We are willing to do as best as we can in this tournament, we obviously have higher expectations right? But yeah, we are trying to focus on smiling, having fun. Overall, we also know that at some point there will be some tournaments that we will just miss. Like, we will not be on point, we will miss, and it can be whatever tournament. We are trying to keep our form – that is our chance, and we are also ready for that, it’s fine.
Since IEM Dallas, you guys have been considered one of the top teams in the world. What do you think has made the big difference for the team?
I mean, we fixed it after the last Major in Paris. We fixed a lot of things outside the game. We became more healthy, and we have started to work on our mental as a team and as individuals. So I think that’s obviously the main change because when you feel really good outside the game, you are feeling confident. Like, having good friends, focusing more on team sports in general. You will be a better teammate, and you’ll also play better CS as an individual. If you play better as an individual, you will help your team more.
As your results have improved, as you say, expectations have increased for ENCE. Does that change anything about how you approach the individual matches and tournaments?
I don’t think it changes because we already made the change and as we can see it’s working, right? These individual routines and stuff we’re fixing as a team. Food, and sport, all this stuff. So yeah, we just need to keep going with that. Keep improving in a deep way on that stuff. But yeah, I think we’re ready for whatever tournaments are coming.
I’ve got to talk about Snappi. At 33, he’s one of the top-performing IGLs in the world. How does his experience help the team on the server?
He helps the team a lot because he’s sacrificing himself too much for me, I would say. He’s giving AKs, AWPs – he’s dropping all the good guns to us. And yeah, he’s doing the entry roles, taking a lot of space. He’s actually insane because he’s killing a lot actually. So I don’t know. Like, for me, he’s the best IGL in the world by far. I don’t have any bad words for him – he’s just insane.
It seems likely that ESL Pro League Season 18 will be the final big CS:GO LAN tournament. Does that raise the stakes for you at all?
No. We just take it as it is – another tournament, right? We already talked about the goals of the team and the tournaments. Obviously, this is an important tournament for us, so we are ready and we have prepared quite good to play this tournament. I mean – that’s the point.
Are there any teams that you particularly want to face at ESL Pro League?
Yeah, I mean I would like to face Vitality to get revenge from Gamers 8, and G2 for revenge from Cologne.
Once ESL Pro League comes to an end, it looks like we’ll move over to Counter-Strike 2. How much are you guys thinking about that – are you practicing at all, or is it all CS:GO still?
We’ve been practicing only CS:GO still, because until there is no more tournaments of CS:GO we have to keep focus on this game. Obviously me and my teammates, we are really looking forward to CS2 because I think it’s quite needed – a huge change with new challenges to develop ourselves a little bit more, even.
What are your thoughts on MR12?
I didn’t think too much. I think it’s gonna be a complete change of the meta. People will save less, they will go more for the rounds. Obviously, I think the economy will have to change also, so you don’t have to do two or three ecos in a row. Or having two ecos and a really bad buy, still, without full nades. If there is MR12, I think something will change also.
What’s your one big hope for this ENCE roster going into 2024, if you’ve looked that far forward?
I don’t think too much about it. I’m that kind of person that is actually quite focused on the present. If I have to think of something, for sure, I would like to keep being a top-3 team in the world, with these main goals of trying to achieve an era, right? But I think it’s really hard right now to get an era because everyone is really good, everyone is improving really fast, so we just need to keep having fun, keep fixing ourselves in terms of outside the game, and yeah, trying to do our best in tournaments.