Winners of IEM Dallas, ENCE have slowly been reasserting themselves as one of Counter-Strike’s premier teams since the arrival of Guy "Nertz" Iluz.
Following a close game against 9INE, ENCE now have their opening win at IEM Cologne 2023, and after the game, we spoke to Pavle "Maden" Boskovic about 9INE, the strengths of ENCE, and how not being able to play at BLAST events affects the team.
Sam “AN1MO” McKenzie, BLIX: A very close game versus 9INE, how are you feeling now you got the win?
Maden: After we came back from 15-10 and won the game, it feels good, but I think we haven't played our level. Obviously that happens though when you haven't played official games for two months. We came back, we started really slow on Vertigo, but we grinded it out and I'm really happy we won this game, and I hope we improve from game to game here in Cologne.
BLIX: We've seen some big performances from ENCE recently, especially the win at IEM Dallas, what is the real peak of this roster?
Maden: I feel like we are a team that is capable of playing in a lot of playoffs now, a lot of semi finals and finals. But when you play on those big stages, all the small details matter and as you can see, not many teams are consistent right now. I think we are able to win trophies, but it's not so easy when there are so many contenders.
BLIX: You've had a while with this team now, how is it now it's all settled?
Maden: The vibes and mentality feel amazing. As I said, it's just a sloppy start after not playing officials for so long, but inside the team and outside of the game it just feels amazing, the vibes are there, the mood is good, and we did a good job in the bootcamp before we came here.
BLIX: 9INE qualified for the Major and now they're here as well, what do you think about them as an opponent and as a team breaking into tier one?
Maden: I think they have a lot of potential, maybe they don't have the experience yet in close situations like this. They played better than us today, but I feel like the experience from us, especially after the Dallas game against FaZe where they had three match points, it just prevailed. The experience on our side won this game, but they're a really good team overall.
BLIX: You're at almost every ESL tournament but not the BLAST events, how much of an impact does that have on the team?
Maden: It definitely has a lot of impact on rankings and everything. BLAST is closed circuit so when we can't get an invite and can't play those tournaments, of course, our ranking will not be high high, and yeah, BLAST is just so much better for every team that gets to play there.