Swedish version

Natu after Allu leaving: ”Realistically, there’s no replacing a player like him”

av Tobias Lundgren

On Tuesday 3DMAX officially lost their star AWP:er as Allu was recruited to Ninjas in Pyjamas.
But according to team captain Joona ”Natu” Leppänen, the team is still confident with their lineup and with their replacement sniper Stonde.
– You have to think about the positives in a situation like this, and we have a player in him that’s an amazing AWP:er, one of the fastest I’ve ever seen, Leppänen tells Aftonbladet Esport.

After standing in for Ninjas in Pyjamas in a couple of games, after the team announced their intent of replacing Mikail ”Maikelele” Bill, Aleksi ”Allu” Jalli became a full-time member of the organization on Tuesday. His team knew what was coming since he told them right away when NiP contacted him, so they weren’t taken aback by the news.
– He’s been open to us about this whole thing, but we weren’t really thinking it would be a viable option because of the language barrier so we were laughing it off, captain Joona ”Natu” Leppänen says.

”Stonde is an amazing AWP:er”

Despite the language difference, Allu signed with NiP, leaving his former team in a precarious situation only weeks before the first major of the year in Katowice, Poland. Now, Tom ”stonde” Glad will fill some big shoes as he takes over the AWP in 3DMAX. But Leppänen is confident stonde will shine in his new role.
– You gotta think about the positives in a situation like this. I’m gonna quote Allu, he said in an interview with YLE that stonde is gonna be one of the best players in the world down the road. We have a player in him that’s an amazing AWP:er, one of the fastest I’ve ever seen. The only thing he really needs is to play more and get more consistent. It doesn’t change the mechanics or the way we play. The biggest issue is that we have to change roles and positions.

Still, how big of a blow is it for 3DMAX to lose Allu?

– Allu is in a very small group of players talent wise. There’s a limited amount of players like him around the world and you gotta be realistic and realize that there’s obviously no replacing a player like him. It doesn’t matter which team he goes to, he’s gonna seem like he’s carrying them always. He’s an impact player and you don’t have a lot of those in the world.
– But at the end of the day you’ve got to look at the big picture, how you make it work and how the team plays together. It doesn’t matter if you have the best players if you don’t play well together as a team. That’s what’s gonna matter, the joint decisions you do in small situations. Of course the biggest hindrance is that the timeframe is to tight and we have to do a lot of adjustments. That’s the biggest concern.

”Our goals in Katowice remain the same”

Have you changed your expectations for Katowice after this, or do they remain the same?

– They remain the same, there’s no reason to not think about it the same as before. The first goal was – and is – to make it into the top 8 and take it from there in the BO3:s. That’s the goal we set for the initial part and it’s not gonna change in any way.

When you made it into the semis during DreamHack Stockholm people started hyping you because you were ”the underdogs”. Do you still feel that way now?

– We had a different lineup compared to now, a fresh team with a different mentality and approach. The end of the year was rough. We started the team as a one event project and even though we decided to keep playing that mentality sort of stayed. In the back of our minds we didn’t put enough effort into it. So I would reset the situation now. We’re in a similar situation as during DreamHack Stockholm. People recognize we’re a good team since they’ve seen us play. You’ve got to respect us and teams are not gonna think they’ll crush us because we have a lot of tricks up our sleeves and a lot of individual skill. If you give us room you’re gonna pay. But we’re obviously still in a challenger state and even more so with the changes.

How do you think Allu has done so far in NiP?

– I think he’s done what he does. The first time I played with him was five years ago and he was just a kid. A really good AWP:er but he would take took many risks, like re-peek and die because of it. He’s really developed into a play that reads situations well and he has a huge impact with his ability to read situations and make the right plays, when he’s not feeling overconfident. That’s still something he has to work on, being a bit overconfident sometimes. But he’s done a solid job and for me, skill wise, he’s the only option for NiP.

Language barrier could be a problem

In some Finnish regions, Swedish is considered a second language. Several big newspaper publish their news in Swedish and a lot of Finnish people speak it as a mother tongue. But unfortunately for NiP, that’s not the case with Allu.
– The only problem I see is the whole language barrier and how it’s gonna work in the long run. In high pressure situations in a tournament like a major, is that gonna be a problem? I don’t know. I haven’t been there to see and hear them play. That’s the concern I have. Swedish is his third language, at best, and I’ve never heard him say a word in Swedish. In those situations, like a tight 2 on 2 with someone, is that gonna be an issue? It could be a problem but they’re gonna work on it and practice shitloads, I guess. But playing wise I don’t see a problem, he’s definitely gonna melt in straight away.

You quickly brought in Mikko ”Xarte” Välimaa as a replacement. Was that a given choice right away?

– We’re good friends all of us and have known each other for a long time. We knew that we didn’t have to discuss who we wanted with the team if it actually did happen. Xarte was a given option and we didn’t talk to him until late on Sunday. But it was a bit awkward because he’d been playing with a team that got a sponsorship from Menace that they just announced, and we knew we had to ask him to come and play with us if this happened, and that he would probably come if we asked him.

”Enables us to use two AWP:s”

You used him as an AWP:er before but in your Facebook post you stated that you’ll use him as a rifler now since stonde is stepping up?

– He was the only one in the last lineup with an AWP:ing ability so he was kinda forced to. But he developed into a good AWP:er and did a lot of good stuff. Now he enables us to do two AWP:s that a lot of teams do. It’s good to have on Dust2, Mirage and even on Cache so we’re gonna keep using it when it feels comfortable and necessary.

And you also said that the Finnish eSports Federation will set you up in a gaming house before the major. How much will that do for you?

– It’s a great help with the time frame we have. We’re gonna do two extended weekends, probably Thursday night to Monday night practicing. Bootcamping is like practicing on steroids, it’s twice as efficient as playing online. It’s so much easier to pick up on stuff and work on them.

This week, 3DMAX will debut it’s new lineup at LanTrek in Tampere, Finland.



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