steel: "Playing freestyle can work but it's a dangerous game"
Luminosity beat G2 twice in Valencia, in a BO1 in the opener and in a BO3 yesterday in the decider match, to make it to the semifinals of the DreamHack Open event. Today, they will face Heroic to try and make it to the final of the event in Valencia.
We talked to steel about topics ranging from the team's structure, the addition of the Teles twins, the lesser known players, Gabriel "NEKIZ" Schenato and Gustavo "yel" Knittel, to what works and doesn't from a tactical standpoint for the Brazilian side.
Did you do anything special to prepare for the event?
Nothing special to be honest, we just practiced as much as we could, during the scrims we were trying to practice what we were going to try and replicate in tournaments, but besides that, nothing special.
Coming into the tournament what were your hopes and expectations?
To be honest, I didn't think about expectations because if you put an expectation on the team, that can add some extra pressure. Like "oh, we have to go to semi-finals" or whatever and then you're playing the elimination match and people start to feel it, so I didn't put any expectation. We're just going to play match by match and series by series and see how it goes.
You beat G2 twice to make it out of the groups. What were the keys to those match-ups?
I think the key is that we're playing the way we used to in Immortals, which is playing free. We don't anti-strat or anything like that, we just play our game. I mean, it's mostly based on skill on an individual level and if the guys are on point I know we're going to have a high chance of winning, but when we have to rely on executions I know the game is going to be a bit harder because people aren't on their A game. But basically it's just like that, we just try to play our game and work on our defaults.
What happened against Fragsters. Did you underestimate them a bit?
No, we didn't underestimate them, they played well for sure. We won't take any credit away from them, but we were a bit tired because we arrived one day before and were super jet-lagged. We played the second match and last match of the day so we felt the tiredness physically.
Tell me a bit about the move, having the twins (HEN1 and LUCAS1) coming onto the team. How did that develop?
It's never a good situation when you have to make roster moves, especially for us, Brazilians, because we all live in the same house. It's a different relationship within the team than on other teams. But the addition, it's... in the beginning, it wasn't that good because we didn't qualify for the Major, an online qualification which was super hard, but we've had more time to practice. This [DreamHack Valencia] is our first test for the lineup.
How about adaptation to the team?
I thought it would be slower because they haven't played all year and Counter-Strike is always evolving and the level is evening out, everyone can beat everyone, and I thought that for them to get ready for the new level of Counter-Strike it was going to take a little bit more time. But maybe they're just talented and know how to play the game.
Playing this freestyle type of CS, perhaps that's what has made it easy for them to join in?
Actually, that's a good question. It makes total sense because our T-side is really based on being free so they can do whatever they want. In the beginning, I was trying to practice executions because when the freestyle is not working you need to rely on some executions, but it wasn't working. Maybe it's their playstyle, maybe we just haven't played that much, but it's something we have to improve because, as I said, playing freestyle can work but it's a dangerous game.
You're facing Heroic, any specific to look or go with the flow?
To be honest, personally, when I was not an in-game leader I liked to study our opponents, but right now I just call what I feel. I don't like to anti-strat because that creates some tendencies, like "oh, they're doing that smoke so there's a chance they're doing that thing," but for me, as in-game leader, I don't plan for any team specifically. We're just going to try and relax because beating G2 was super good already.
LUCAS1, HEN1, and yourself, are obviously the more experienced players on the team, but what about NEKIZ and yeL? How are they holding on?
They're evolving a lot, this is the best place for them to do it. Last year they didn't play that many LAN tournaments. It's totally different when you're playing at home in your own house, drinking a Coke, on your own PC, on your own schedule. It's so different from this.
Right now it's good that they get to play LAN tournaments, they're improving faster and they have the talent that a Counter-Strike player needs. They're dedicated, they put time into Counter-Strike, which is super important. They just need to play more LAN tournaments and they're going to be on the top, for sure.
You're living in NA, how is that going? Is that where you want to stay?
Yeah, our plan is to always stay in North America. For us Brazilians it's our second home, Brazilians have been playing in NA for a long time, since 2015, so I can only say good things about the NA scene and the country for sure.
It has been good because NA has gotten to the level of the Europeans and the practice has gotten better, there are a lot of teams playing there. I would like to bootcamp in Europe every time we have a big tournament, but it's not something you need to have good performances, anymore, because NA is playing super well right now.
Moving forward, as you told me earlier, not making it to the Major qualifiers was a bit of a hit for you guys, do you have any specific plan or structure to try and get yourself up the ranks quickly?
To be honest, I don't have anything planned, no new structure or meta-game, because I think Counter-Strike has been the same for a good time now. Of course, we have Astralis doing the HE grenade stuff which is super good, but besides that, I don't see anything new, like different timings or executions or different ways of doing fake strats. So I don't have a new structure, I just think time will help us, playing more tournaments and practicing more.