The Finnish 'Counter-Strike' scene is at a crossroads
It had been some time since Finnish fans of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had a domestic team worthy of their support. And it looks like they'll have to wait a little longer. ENCE Esports closed its doors over the weekend, leaving Finnish supporters unsure of where next to turn.
The closure of ENCE and the disbandment of its Counter-Strike team, do not come as a significant surprise given recent events. After failing to make the top eight at Copenhagen Games, ENCE were forced to pull out of Dreamhack Summer to address personal issues within the team’s roster.
Those disappointments came on the heels of other similar results over the past several months, most notably their failure to qualify for Dreamhack Winter and a shocking semifinals exit at Assembly Winter, where they were heavily favored to win the event against a light field of opposition.
It's time to quit for now - ENCE eSports shuts down and CS:GO team disbands. More info in Finnish http://t.co/GAfPlPzu12. #esportsfi
— ENCE eSports (@ENCEeSports) June 28, 2014
The last straw may have been the pending departure of ENCE’s star player, Aleksi “Allu” Jalli.
Jalli has of late been practicing and even competing with German side Mousesports, whose search for a new fifth player to round out their roster has been well-documented over the past month. While Jalli has still not formally joined the team, rumors persist that it is only a matter of time, and Jalli’s continued play with Mousesports has made each side’s intentions clear.
Joona “Natu” Leppanen, one of the longest-standing professional players in Counter-Strike, has not yet announced whether he will continue his playing career following the break-up of ENCE.
In a statement, Leppanen did hint at the possibility that he and other remaining Finnish players might put together a team for the Assembly Summer tournament held in Helsinki, Finland on July 31. Leppanen also thanked fans for their support.
“Now, unfortunately, is the time to say thanks and to turn off the lights,” he said.