We sat down with Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo for another interview from ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals to talk about their semi-final victory in detail. We also managed to get his thoughts on WESA's message and what he believes people should be aware of.
"There is no team we fear on Overpass," says FalleN
We questioned Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo about the best-of-three versus the Swedes, the final ahead, and also the recently announced World Esports Association (WESA).
After advancing from the group stage you met NiP on three maps, in our previous interview you talked about preferring Dust2 over Cache, has that changed now after quite a one-sided Dust2 with NiP?
Yeah, we are still trying to figure out how to get better on Cache or Dust2, because we can't veto both of them every time. During the past year we have been trying to veto Dust2 and play Cache - didn't take us so far in my opinion. We were always losing Cache against good teams, so we now decided to give Dust2 a chance. I mean, we still have a lot to learn on this map to be honest, we need to improve there as we've been improving on other maps. It's gonna take a while, but we're gonna be good on this map.
On Overpass, you have about a 90% win rate on LAN only this year, I imagine you were confident against NiP despite them being quite good on the map as well.
Overpass is a map where we feel confident every time, there is no team we fear on it. I think the only loss we had there was to fnatic and we had a 12-3 half, so we kinda threw it and they played insanely well to come back that time. Overpass is a good map for us, but it could've been Mirage or other maps, we're just confident, Overpass is not our only strength and we showed that on Cobblestone this time.
Did you rather expect Mirage to come out last, considering it's also one of NiP's best maps?
To be honest, I think NiP is super good on Mirage and Train. I actually was happy that it went to Cobblestone and we started on T. Cobblestone nowadays is a map that needs some work in my opinion, T side is just too strong. We made a 10-5 half and it could've been even more if we won some clutch rounds. And actually, they were stomping us on T side as well, so you can see that it's pretty strong on Cobblestone. I don't know, I think they were looking for our weakness as well, because Cobble is one of our weaker maps, if you look at stats and who we lost to. The only map we lost in NA for the group stage was Cobblestone to TSM. They might have been looking into that, but I think they have a better Mirage and Train, so I don't understand why it went to Cobble.
In the final you will meet either fnatic or G2, is there a team you'd prefer to face?
To be honest, I don't care who we'll face, both teams are going to be difficult. Maybe fnatic has a better map pool. Theoretically speaking, we should be fine and a little better against G2, but that's not true at all when it comes to playing on stage. I'm just going to watch this match and face whichever is better.
You are not part of the WESA that has just been announced, what do you think about the format and the message that they are trying to send out there?
The first thing is, I'm a noob in these kinds of things. I've been trying to get more info so I can have better knowledge before talking. But what I know is Counter-Strike has been awesome so far, having a lot of people doing tournaments and taking care of the community in general. I read some of the interviews and stuff about WESA and it seems like they want to do something where they are the biggest one. I don't think it's bad or good, I don't know, I'd need more knowledge to speak about that. We've heard people saying this is bad, some people say it's good. They [WESA] actually say that they don't want that, but for me it doesn't make sense to make a move like this if this is not the goal. I can't be naive and think they're just doing this for fun, and actually WESA doesn't make sense, it's supposed to be a global thing, but they don't have any American teams, any Asian teams, so they lack some stuff. Let's see what happens. I think for Counter-Strike there are two things we need to be looking for: First, we still need to give opportunities to small teams, and that's something that bothers me, because if we start having something like WESA, things like FIFA and this sort of associations, I'm afraid that organizations will take a role where their names are being valued more than players. And I think that this is dangerous, because then players will be in organizations' hands. So organizations can say "Come play to me, I have this spot", but it shouldn't matter whether players play under an organization or not.
FalleN points out dangers in light of WESA's announcement
So, there's a conflict of interest...
Yeah, I think this is dangerous, for me they need to take care of that. The second thing is, Counter-Strike has been evolving a lot with a lot of people working on it. You have MLG, ESL, DreamHack, FACEIT, a lot of people, those guys know how to do tournaments. So I'm just afraid that some people can be damaged and not be able to do it, lose importance somehow. For us, I think we need to take care of both things and see how it goes. Again, I need to get more info to speak better about that.
Considering all these organizers have different ideas and different goals - be it in terms of how they want to run events, the format they want to use, teams they want to have, or the qualification process -, do you believe there is a possibility for more organizers, not just ESL, to be able to join this association?
For me an association like that would only make sense if everybody who is in the scene right now would have a part in that. If we had MLG, DreamHack, FACEIT, ESL, everyone, then it would make sense because everyone would be included. But it feels weird to only have ESL and don't have the other guys on it, and if you look at the comments, ESL say that they tried to talk to other organizers, but those say they have never been contacted. There is some miscommunication there, some stuff that is not being said, which is worrying. It's a very dangerous matter, we need to take a good look and see what we need to do or not. As a player union, one of the guys that are trying to be a part of that, we need to evolve as well and start doing something. We need to help getting a good calendar, we need to help organizing it. So a lot of things to Counter-Strike, we need to be honest and think of the community, always. This should be on everyone's mind.