At the end of the semi-finals day of EPICENTER, we interviewed one of the finalists, Marcelo "coldzera" David. One of the big stars of the tournament walked us through the Astralis series, explained what the difference between felps and boltz is, and shared his thoughts on fer's playstyle.
SK became the first finalists of EPICENTER earlier today following their win over Astralis, as the Brazilians grabbed Train 16-11 and pulled off a comeback from a 6-14 deficit on the Terrorist side of Mirage.
The first semi-final was one of the main topics of our interview with Marcelo "coldzera" David. The best-rated player of the tournament up to this point also talked about the difference between João "felps" Vasconcellos and Ricardo "boltz" Prass, as well as the Fernando "fer" Alvarenga effect:
First of all, on Train, it looked like you were in control throughout the first half, you didn't let Astralis get consecutive rounds, but tell me what happened in the second half where they had a streak of six rounds before you closed it out?
We won the pistol in the second half, but the first weapon was not good for us. They punished us with Xyp9x pushing on B, so they broke our hold. In the second and third round we didn't have a good hold, so they punished us a lot every time, we started with four every time.
The beginning of the game was hard, but when we paused, we were talking about how we could not be punished when they were playing aggressive. We started playing faster and we tried to catch Astralis when they tried to punish us. We started to do this and we almost closed the first round when we rushed ladder to mid, we lost the clutch, but afterwards we had a good eco and punished them. After this eco, we started playing fast again and that's why we closed the match.
I think the veto was quite predictable, that you were going to pick Mirage, but was there any consideration for Overpass in the discussion beforehand?
We had a discussion the night before the game and we were thinking they would pick Overpass. But at the same time we were in doubt, because we beat a lot of good teams on Overpass, but we lost it to them a lot of times.
So for us, the good scenario would be that they pick Train. I don't think it was a correct choice for them, we play really good on Train, I don't think anyone likes playing Train against us offline. When they picked Train, it was really good for us, and when we went to play Mirage, we knew we had a great chance to beat them.
Now that you touched on Train again, with felps it looked like you were a bit shaky on it, do you feel like you've got it down better with boltz?
In the beginning, when felps joined our team, I had doubts because our team was going to be too aggressive. We have fer who plays really aggressive every time and when we brought felps, we lost a little bit of our passive parts and that's not in the system.
We have a system that works really well, so when boltz joined, we have this system again that is step-by-step and gives more freedom for fer and especially for me. When felps joined, I stopped doing a lot of good things I used to like to do so that he could try it. But he didn't play inside the system, a lot of the time it was random. He tried to do it, but it was random.
I don't think it was working really well, so when boltz joined now, he does the passive part of the system and I do the aggressive part but step-by-step. I can control the team more, for example on Mirage I can control everything.
So the balance between aggressive and passive components is now better?
Yeah, when we want to play aggressive, we have a good setup for fer. And if we want to play passive, we have a good setup for me, so it's really good.
Getting into Mirage against Astralis, that was such a different story, being down 4-11 in the first half. Talk me through the comeback, what was the key to turning it around on the T side?
Talking about the first half, the beginning was hard for us, they won the pistol and in the first weapon round we lost a 2v5. It broke our economy really hard. They have a lot of strats about just going A and use some modifications of this, sometimes they put two mid, sometimes they use a full execution, sometimes they do a fake. I think they played really well from my perspective.
In the retakes we played really well but never finished the round, sometimes one stayed alive, two stayed alive, sometimes we made a mistake and lost the round. In general, they were winning 8-0 but the rounds were pretty close.
You even broke them after getting just one round...
Yeah, when we won one round, we broke them for two rounds. The half was pretty good for us, I think 8-0 to 11-4 is good, because they had control of the game. And on the T side, we won the pistol and we started to take some space.
When we paused when it was 14-6, we knew they were playing not to punish us on mid but to try to punish us on the sides of the map. We understood that and just one guy started to put pressure on mid solo and we started putting more people on the sides of the map. And we started punishing them for it, so that's why we started the comeback.
This is something that has been talked about quite a lot recently, that fer is such a hard player to deal with even if you know what's coming. I think we saw some of the best examples on Mirage now against Astralis and on Overpass versus FaZe. Why is it so hard for teams to deal with fer, what makes him so successful in that aggressive style?
I think when we had felps, fer stopped being so aggressive, because he knew if he dies, felps will try to play aggressive too, so it wasn't good. So I think now he has more freedom and he plays the style he loves to play. fer is really good because he takes space every time, so I think he's more confident now in doing this.
He knows that if he dies, someone can trade, because we have setups so that we can trade now. We have good aggressive setups, when he dies we put pressure on another side of the map together and we trade kills. So I think he's more comfortable.
Regarding the best-of-five final tomorrow, did you ever expect to meet Virtus.pro again after what you did to them on the first day, when it wasn't even a contest?
I was expecting G2, because G2 is a good team, they beat us every time. But for us it's going to be a good match, because VP won when we changed a player last time at DreamHack Las Vegas and now it's our time for revenge.