After MIBR closed out day two at DreamHack Masters Stockholm with a win over mousesports, advancing to the quarter-finals, we sat down with Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo to discuss the addition of Janko "YNk" Paunović and the team's progress since then.
After the day came to close, FalleN gave us an interview about his team's progress with YNk since the beginning of August, their win at ZOTAC Cup Masters last week, and their promising start in Stockholm.
Going back to the first few weeks of August, what kind of an impact has Janko had on your preparation after you brought him in at the beginning of the month?
I think the things Janko is helping us with the most is basically being the guy who is in charge of making sure everyone is on the line, making sure everyone is working hard, making sure we are making good use of our practice. And when here and there we have a practice that doesn't go too well, he says 'hey, this is not the level we need to be at,' so everything that goes wrong, Janko makes sure everyone realizes it's wrong so that it's fixed for the future.
He also has a great understanding of the game. For me particularly, it was important to have him enter the team because it's not that he taught me anything new, but he at least made me realize things I wasn't doing anymore, the pace of the game that I wasn't putting into it, and some particular stuff inside the game, he helped me a lot with my individual style, as well.
He's helping mainly outside of the game, having everyone on the line, and inside the game making sure we're feeling comfortable. It's been challenging for him, as well, because as he's just started being a coach and every group has their own way to play, Janko is trying to figure out how he can help us all, how much input he needs to give for every match and stuff like that. I think it'll go even better in the future, but he's doing a great job.
Although the level of competition at ZOTAC was obviously not up to par with a big tournament, you had quite convincing results there, has that reassured you about the way you play now?
ZOTAC Cup for me is similar to the time in 2017 when we played the cs_summit tournament. Everyone would say the same 'they just beat Gambit in the final, that's meaningless, what's the point,' but it's not about the opponents. I think this group here, this core of Brazilians and now with Stewie, Janko, and tarik, we have to play our best game, and when we do it, it's hard to challenge us.
Even though our competition wasn't tier one at ZOTAC, the teams we played there managed to beat good teams, as well. For example, Ghost, they just came into this tournament here and they didn't play poorly, they played super well, they took a map off NiP and they won the first map against Na`Vi, right, so there are no fools in Counter-Strike anymore. So even though the competition there wasn't tier one, it wasn't easy, and I think we demonstrated a good level of play there.
Here in Stockholm it has almost looked easy for you thus far, after the win over HellRaisers who are here with a stand-in, the game against mousesports looked convincing, what has that done to your confidence?
It's a very important game because, as you say, you're beating those teams that beat someone who was supposed to win, but then come mousesports, a team that we have had difficulties beating in the past, I think we have lost two or three times against them before having this win, so it's a pretty important win. Not only to go to the playoffs but also to send a statement and get more confidence.
It wasn't easy, even though the score was a little bit one-sided on the first map, we had so many rounds that were close, so many situations that we won in 3v3s, and coldzera had an insane performance, he was getting us a lot of those rounds. I like to say that coldzera started well on that map and tarik finished it.
What can you say regarding your own form - after struggling throughout the year, you got the MVP at ZOTAC and here you've started out quite well -, do you feel like you're back to at least close to your former level?
To be honest, I wish I could be playing even better, but I'm always going to be satisfied if the team is winning. I'm always trying to see how I can do the best things for my team to win. At the recent events, in the past with other lineups, it has been a little bit shaky because I wasn't finding the perfect formula and making everyone be in their comfort zone.
So the players have been a little bit shaky, some bad decisions, some bad individual plays, and now I feel that everyone is starting to feel in their comfort zone. And when people are feeling like that and they're playing in a pace of the game that I understand, it's easier for me to lead and play, as well, so I'm taking the risks I have to take, I'm leading when I have to lead, and I have all those things being very well done.
So, yes, I'm satisfied with my level, I think I can bring even more to the table, but, as long as my team is winning, it doesn't matter how much impact I have or how good my numbers are.
You mentioned cs_summit in 2017, which at the time served as a springboard as you went on to win multiple more events shortly after, is this the same situation where MIBR get back to their former glory?
I think it has everything to be that, we have practiced very well, we're feeling confident, we're feeling we're getting into our comfort zone, but this is Counter-Strike. Even though we could be playing our best game, you have teams out there that can beat us anyway if they play their own A game, it's going to be very close and you never know.
I don't think I'm going to be really focused on the result itself, like if we are going to win or not, but I'm very satisfied that we have seen the improvement that we have been lacking in the last couple of months. So, from here on, I think the titles are going to come no matter what. If we keep playing like this and work as hard as we are, it's just a matter of time.
Every tournament we go to is for the win, anything besides that is a disappointment, but we have to trust in the process and not to rush things, not because we could lose at this tournament it means we're failing. I think we're improving very fast and that's what we should be looking for.