Despite a strong year for Aleksi ”allu” Jalli – perhaps not in titles, but in performance – he was the one who eventually was let go from Ninjas in Pyjamas.
The Finnish star however, does not seem bitter.
– I’m glad I got the chance to get to know four amazing people who I can call friends, he tells Aftonbladet Esport.
After becoming the most successful CS:GO team, a long period of struggling followed before Ninjas in Pyjamas finally won their first major title in late 2014. Shortly after the team’s long standing AWP:er, Robin ”Fifflaren” Johansson, departed from the team, marking the end of an important era for esports.
The hunt was on for a new sniper specialist. Mikail ”Maikelele” Bill became the first official replacement for Fifflaren and the new squad went on to place second at the next major, Dreamhack Winter 2014 – and things seemed like they were moving up for NiP.
Even though Maikelele had managed to deliver, he was soon let go. Instead Finnish former 3DMAX star, Aleksi ”allu” Jalli, got his shot.
– My initial thought was of course ’why would NiP get rid of Maikelele?’, as from what I’d seen from their games with Maikelele in the lineup, it didn’t seem like it was his fault they didn’t progress to where I suppose they wanted to be.
– I didn’t put a lot of thought to it, because I was really excited when NiP approached me, as I finally got a chance to play in a proven tier 1 team, which at the time was not something I had experienced before. As for expectations, I was really convinced we would eventually reach the number one spot in the world with time and effort.
”Can you actually drink the red bulls?”
For the once more revamped NiP lineup, the first test was ESL One Katowice, the initial major of 2015. In a fashion that has become famous as NiP magic, the Swedes – along with their new Finnish colleague – fought their way to the grand final, only to lose against the team that would go on to be the most dominant of the year, and perhaps of all time – Fnatic.
– I still think we should’ve had the game 2-0, but unfortunately we lost 1-2 against Fnatic, allu says and continues:
– Obviously after we lost we were all really disappointed, but team spirit-wise our camp felt strong and I was looking forward to future events with a positive mind – and that this event was only the start, so the only way from here was up.
Afterwards two more grand final losses followed, striking the confidence of both individuals and the team as a whole. The performance was in decline, and according to Allu there were other reasons, beyond confidence, affecting the teams performance.
– I also think we never found the correct ”groove” to our gameplay as a team. Third and final point being that there were a lot of talk behind the scenes that some players were going to be replaced in our team which never materialized. But I think it also affected our general mood, team spirit and trust to your teammates, which in a way are small things. I’m quite certain those things also affected our performances.
New changes to NiP
The year continued – as did the rumors. NiP evolved and allu more and more proved he belonged in a world class team. On December 7, 2015, however, the Finnish star officially announced he would not be a part of NiP the next year – a decision sparking emotions among fans: Allu delivered, why is he getting removed?
– It’s a mixed feeling, Allu says on the subject and continues:
– Even though we had a rough year, we experienced many amazing trips together and that is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The only thing that feels bad about our ”breakup” is how it happened, but that’s water under the bridge and I’m glad I got the chance to get know to four amazing people who I can call friends.
As time past, Aftonbladet Esport could reveal that all four original ninjas, Christopher ”Get_Right” Alesund, Patrik ”f0rest” Lindberg, Richard ”Xizt” Landström and Adam ”friberg” Friberg, were to stick together and once again bring in fresh blood to the squad, this time around in the form of Jacob ”pyth” Mourujärvi along with former professional player and CS legend Björn ”THREAT” Pers, joining as coach.
– THREAT to NiP is something I really look forward to seeing, as he can provide a lot in the tactical aspects of the game which is the main asset NiP missed when I played there. I don’t really know a lot about pyth but he must be a talented player as he got the chance to play in NiP.
The rebirth of ENCE
Following the departure from NiP, it seemed as the Finnish AWP:er was on his way across the Atlantic Ocean to settle down with Spencer ”Hiko Martin and Team Liquid.
– There were a lot of offers flying my way, allu says and continues:
– Liquid was my first choice if I would have moved abroad to compete. It was a decision I did not take lightly and at times I was already packing my stuff and getting ready to move to North America. I also had discussions about building a Finnish team and essentially I realized in my heart that going this path is something I really want to do right now.
ENCE was born, an organization seemingly built around the motto: ’By the players, for the players’. Former CS professionals, Joona ”natu” Leppänen and Tomi ”lurppis” Kovanen have joined the staff while former ROCCAT players Tom ”stonde” Glad, Juho ”juhob” Lampinen, Miikka ”suNny” Kemppi and Mikko ”xartE” Välimaa complete the new team that has been built to represent Finland.
How do you feel about joining ENCE?
– To be part of ENCE feels amazing. It’s been a really long time since Finland had a team who can call themselves professional gamers, but with ENCE’s support we can do exactly that and only focus on the obvious: Playing CS.
What are your expectations with the new team?
– Our goal is to establish us as a top 10 team in the world in 2016. It will be hard and it will require a lot of time, effort and determination, but I believe with this combination of players – and with ENCE’s support – it’s more than possible to achieve.