Slingshot’s Vince Nairn had the chance to catch up with FaZe Clan’s Aleksi “allu” Jalli ahead of the ELEAGUE Season 2 quarterfinals (2 p.m. Wednesday) to talk about his matchup against Virtus.pro, trying to build a Finnish club with ENCE and FaZe’s recent roster swaps.
Vince Nairn: First of all, what do you expect out of your match against VP tomorrow in the quarterfinals?
Aleksi “allu” Jalli: We expect a really tough match. VP is definitely one of the best teams in the world right now. We’ve been going through a lot of stuff, been preparing really well. We expect a tight game, and hopefully we can come out on top.
VN: In the group stage, you lost your first match and then had to win two best-of-threes to reach the playoffs. Did you learn anything about your team having to play with your backs against the wall like that?
AJ: No, not really. When we played Cloud9 in the first game, we knew we played on Train and knew exactly how they were holding CT. We lost a lot of X-v-X situations. Eventually that cost us the game. But after the match, we realized what we did. We thought we could win. We just needed to close out the rounds, and we took that into the next day.
VN: What was it like making the jump from ENCE to FaZe? And likewise, how have you adapted to all the changes you guys have made since you got here?
AJ: Overall (this year) has been good and bad. When I left NiP, I wanted to do something in Finland. I tried to build up a team there, so I went forward with that especially because we didn’t have a good Finnish team for a while. It didn’t go so well. When FaZe contacted me, I thought really hard about it. I knew they had a lot of potential. With practice and correcting mistakes, we could make it to the top. My time with FaZe now has been really good. Obviously, we had a couple of roster changes. We’ve been finding the correct pieces of our team, and I think we have them now. It’s all about hard practice.
VN: Yeah, how did you handle the swap with adding Karrigan and then benching Kio before bringing him back? Because I feel like that could have been a bit awkward.
AJ: Yeah, it most definitely was awkward. We lacked an in-game leader. This is what I knew from the first day I joined them. We really needed structure. We had RobbaN as coach, who works really hard, but in the end you always need a player inside the team who is coordinating stuff. We lacked that a lot. Then when we heard Karrigan was going to be benched in Astralis and immediately reached out to him and asked him, “Do you wanna play?” He said yes. Then we had a choice to make. As a team, we talked with everyone, and it came down to either removing jkaem or kio. At that time, we thought keeping jkaem would be better for some reason. I don’t really know. Then we played with jkaem for a while, and a couple days before we had to leave for iBP, jkaem told us he didn’t want to play anymore. He didn’t have any fun. He was not feeling it right now. Then we asked Kio if he wanted to play with us, and he said yes. And here we are.
VN: Was there anything you could do to make that transition easier? It’s not as if you had a bunch of time to practice.
AJ: We just have to go through a lot of stuff and fortunately kio and jkaem played the same roles in the game. The transition in that way was easy, but we’ve had a lot of new stuff with Karrigan. It’s been a little hard for kio to remember everything, but he’s been great. It’s all about dedication.
VN: What’s the key for you guys being able to have some consistency as you still try to shape this roster?
AJ: The key for all five players need to be on the same page. Know how we need to play. I think I have exactly that right now. Communication. Paying attention to communication in game. We try to be able to talk to each other. If somebody isn’t speaking enough, point it out so it gets better. It’s been great on that behalf as well.
Cover photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack