steel: Beating SK... feels like a curse was broken
Earlier today Immortals managed to upset SK, taking their first LAN victory over FalleN & co. To hear about that match and the recent role and roster changes in Immortals, we talked to Lucas "steel" Lopes.
Even though domestic matchups often seem to level out the chances between the favorites and underdogs, the Brazilian derby between SK and Immortals was a one dominated by the more experienced and decorated side. Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo's team had a 14-3 W-L difference and had never lost against Immortals on LAN—until today.
After picking up a convincing win against MOUZ, Immortals "broke the SK curse" on Cache by securing a 16-10 victory that also qualified them for the playoffs. To hear his thoughts about that, Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe and other Brazilian talents, we talked to Lucas "steel" Lopes.
You placed second at the Minor, your last event, so what was the feeling coming here? Did you feel better prepared, how was the energy inside of the team?
I think we are feeling really prepared after kNg came in, we are still not 100% but we are getting there, we are feeling confident playing with him.
The first match against mousesports, at the beginning it was pretty tight, 5-5, and then at one point you just broke away and closed out the game I think 16-6. What were the crucial things there, what flipped the switch, so to say?
Actually, to be honest, I don't remember. I remember that at the beginning it was so hard, we always struggle to play against mousesports, they are a tough team to play against, at least for us. When the game was 5-5 I think that was the round in drop, when I killed four people and our confidence started getting higher and higher. I think that was the point that we got back into the game.
Moving on to SK: you never beat them on LAN, you beat them a few times online but still have a 14-3 record overall. What were you expecting from that match?
I am so relieved, because as you said, for us it's so hard to play against them. And to finally beat them... it feels like a curse was broken. So I think we can start playing more matches and doing well against them, from now on.
Regarding the map, Cache, at least I think, is one of your best maps, while for SK it's getting there but it's still not a classic SK map. Do you think it was an error on their side to go that map instead of, let's say Cobblestone? Did that help you in the matchup?
I think it helped because we just played Cobblestone and they were probably watching, and they would know our new tendencies because we are playing differently than before on CT side, we switched positions. I don't know why they preferred to play Cache because, as you said, they are getting better, but it's not their best map and it's one of our best maps, especially with kNg because we can play double AWP on CT side. Yeah, Cache is one of our best maps for sure.
You mentioned kNg a few times, he's been playing great in this tournament, with the AWP and without it. Is he fitting in the team better than fnx did, is he a better replacement for felps?
Well, fnx is a legend, everyone on our team learned a lot with him. But kNg, he is primarily an AWPer, but he is always saying to us: "I'm a primary AWPer, but I play Counter-Strike, I know how to play with rifles too, I can do everything, I'm all around". So, when he wants to AWP he buys the AWP and when he wants to rifle he buys the rifle. He's doing whatever he wants.
What's the dynamic now in the team regarding AWPing, is there any doubts in having hen1 as the primary AWPer? If kNg ends up being the better AWPer, is there going to be a swap regarding who is the primary one? Are you thinking about that at all?
No, we don't think about that, in theory, hen1 is still the main AWPer, but there is no secondary AWPer on our team, they play whatever they want, if they feel confident. Even me, I can AWP. We are free to do whatever we want on our team.
Talking about roles, boltz is now in-game leading again. Tell me about that change, when did it happen and what is the difference now in comparison to when you were calling?
It happened after Kiev, where we had such a bad tournament. Me and him were talking and he said to me: "Man, I have new ideas, I think I should be the new in-game leader, we are going to be different, we are going to be unpredictable because we are going to change our playstyle". And he likes to study opponents, that is why we are coming to matches more prepared. Ever since he became the IGL we are playing better.
There was one round against SK when you were on CT and you did a setup with 3 or 4 on B and SK went for a B rush. You had the perfect answer to what they were going to do. Was there a read on that, who called and how did you know?
That was the round after the pause, and if we lost it we would be money-fucked, and they were playing SMG's so we knew that it would be a fast round, an explosive round, and we said "please, focus on B, it's going to be B", and we made a perfect setup for that kind of round. It was mainly boltz who called the setup, but me and lucas were talking and we knew it's going to be on us because it was going to be B for sure.
Now that we've had kNg coming out, someone who wasn't on the radar of the mainstream CS people at least, you mentioned horvy as well as a good up and coming player... How deep is the Brazilian CS scene right now?
I think we have a lot of upcoming star player. As I said, João "horvy" Horvath is, for me, a great player, he can be super good, and we also have another player, his team is going to start playing in North America now—Marcelo "chelo" Cespedes from paiN, he has such an amazing aim, he's like ScreaM, he has just incredible aim. If they start getting more experience in North America they are going to become a good team and chelo is going to become a super player.