FalleN: "We want to reach top eight"
Next up on our list of pre-ESL One Katowice interviews is Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, who talks about Keyd Stars' preparation for the major.
The Brazilian team's road to Katowice was rocky to say the least as they turned to crowdfunding to be able to attend the offline qualifier, where they beat INSHOCK and dignitas after losing to mousesports in the opening round.
Upon returning home from the qualifier, Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo and company parted ways with KaBuM and signed for Keyd Stars, a Brazilian organisation that recently agreed a sponsorship deal with Vivo, the biggest telecommunications company in the country.
FalleN believes his team can go through to the playoffs
This will be the team's debut in a major CS:GO tournament, and they will have to turn in a great display to advance to the playoffs after being paired with Ninjas in Pyjamas, CLG and HellRaisers.
In this interview, FalleN discusses his team's chances in Katowice, what the deal with Keyd Stars represents for them and also the need for Valve and tournament organisers to bet on regions like South America and Asia.
If you would like to have a look at our previous interviews about ESL One Katowice, check out the table bellow:
How confident do you feel with your preparation going into ESL One Katowice? Are you having a bootcamp or only practicing online? Is there something you focused on in particular?
We have been practicing for about a week at Inferno Online, in Sweden, because playing against European teams is essencial for us to improve. We have only been practicing online, and we are trying to improve our strategies, working on maps that have not been going well for us, and I am sure we will leave this place much better than we were when we got here.
What do you think about your group? Can you go through each team and tell us how you think you match-up against them? Which two teams should be advancing to playoffs out of NiP, HellRaisers, CLG and Keyd Stars?
You can never bet on which teams can come out on top, especially because these are best-of-one matches, in which any top team can be surprised. We have always met NiP while playing abroad, we have not yet been able to beat them but I am confident we will be able to turn that around now. They are without a doubt the favourites of the group. CLG are a team we really like, we practiced against them every day for a week in the United States. They are good players and we will have to be very focused to beat them. HellRaisers are a bit different after their roster changes, I do not know what to expect of them but you can be sure we will not underestimate them, they have really good players.
What is the minimum placing your team will be satisfied with in Katowice? Do you feel any pressure to succeed; will you be extremely frustrated if you fail to reach your minimum goal?
We want to reach top eight and secure a place at the next major. As you take part in tournaments abroad more often, it is natural for you to achieve bigger things. Qualifying for this major was hard, but we did it. Now, we want to advance from the group stage. Who knows, maybe we can cause a surprise in the playoffs? One thing at a time! The only pressure there is is to represent our country, which really deserves to have a top team. I will never get frustrated, frustration only happens when you feel you did not give your best. We are so dedicated that not giving our best will never happen, regardless of results.
This will be the Brazilian team's first major
The professional scene has probably never been as competitive as it is now going into this major, but who do you think will end up in the top4? And who do you see as the most likely surprise, whether to win it all or get out of the groups ahead of some big favorites?
Fnatic, EnVyUs, NiP, Titan/Virtus.pro are top teams that are used to these big events. However, I believe that Na`Vi can have a great campaign and, who knows, get one of the top places.
Is there a player or two in your team who you will hope to make the biggest impact in order for the team to achieve its goal?
We hope that fer and boltz are playing on their usual level, getting important kills for the team. As far as I am concerned, I hope to remain calm and to get a good understanding of the match to guide my team to victories.
You had a lot of pressure going into the qualifier due to the community’s help in funding your trip. Will that be different now that you joined Keyd Stars or do you still feel you owe the community to put on a good showing at the major itself?
That additional pressure was really something hard to deal with, but we did it! On the other hand, it was also very motivating. With Keyd we are calmer and we have a better structure, we are playing to represent our country and to give joy to our people. We are no longer feeling the same pressure. I will always feel the desire to play for everyone out there, our Brazilian fans are without a doubt our sixth player! They cheer for us like they were here with us.
Back at X-Games and ClutchCon you proved your strength on Mirage by taking down Cloud9 and fnatic convincingly. At the LAN qualifier for Katowice teams banned it against you straight away, do you expect the same scenario at the big event? How confident are you on other maps compared to Mirage now?
I do not know which maps teams are preparing for, but this time around we will have more options. Thanks to our practice here and in the US, we were able to work on other maps. Who knows if they are on the same level as mirage? We will see with the results!
What does your team think about the changes to Overpass and Cobblestone? Are the changes for the better or worse? Have you practiced them?
The bombsite A on overpass really needed some changes because it was very easy to smoke it off and hold it down. Cobblestone is the map that teams like the least in Brazil. We are taking the time abroad to practice these maps, maybe they will make a difference in this tournament.
Do you like the current state of the pistols, Tec-9 and CZ-75 in particular? Would you make any changes to them or are they all finally balanced enough for competitive play?
In my opinion, Tec-9 should have fewer bullets and should be less accurate when you shoot while jumping/running. I like the pistols because they make the game more fun, you can never be sure that you are going to win a round and any mistake can be fatal, even against eco/forced buys.
FalleN wants to see more events in South America
Reportedly the sticker money from the previous major, DHW, was split according to the number of stickers sold by each team. Which way would you prefer it this time, an even split between all legends/challengers or distribution per selling amount? Or perhaps you would like to see a part of it added to prizemoney?
I believe that all teams should work to build their fanbase. I like the way it is distributed. The sticker money can be used to fund our attendance, or maybe we can use the money to attend other events, because in our case, we are far away from Europe and it is always very expensive to go to events. I do not think this money should be added to the prizemoney.
What is your stance on the current tournament system in the majors? Ever since DreamHack Winter 2013, the system has remained the same with a BO1 group stage, as well as a playoff spot securing a place in the next major. Also, the seeding is determined by the team’s result at the last major or at the qualifier. Would you change it in some way or keep it the same going forward?
Teams prepare so hard for a tournament that it is a bit unfair for those who lose two maps to be eliminated, so I believe there should be more games in this early stage of the competition. About the seeds, I do not think they should have that much importance. They are useful for the group draw, but the best teams get to choose the side they want to start on, which, in my opinion, makes things even more difficult for the challengers.
Since the start of 2015 the prize money in most tournaments is rising. Although no single tournament “outweighs” the majors yet, do you think that time will come? ESL One Katowice will be a huge event nevertheless - do you expect the viewership record will be broken? How many do you estimate will watch the grand final this time?
Prize money is important and the growth of e-sports as a whole is important to everyone. I think the increase in the amount of money given out by tournaments is a natural thing. We will break all records and more and more people will continue to follow CS:GO. What I hope is that Valve and tournament organisers will help the game to grow in other regions. Where are the South American, the African and the Asian qualifiers? I think that each continent/region should have its own incentives. That would boost immensely the local communities! Brasil needs that, just like Argentina, Chile, Peru and many others do! My biggest dream is to see it happen in our country!