horvy: "We have to play [all the time], if we stop for a few days we go to a low level"
We spoke with João "horvy" Horvath from INTZ following his team's last group stage match, which they won 2-0 over BOOT-d[S]. The Brazilian opened up on their ESL Pro League performance, living in Canada and the hurdles they are trying to overcome.
INTZ stumbled at the start of the torunament, losing 16-7 to BOOT-d[S] in the opening match of the tournament. However, they bounced back against Chosen5 and secured a revenge-victory over the Singaporeans to advance to the playoffs in Abu Dhabi.
I want to start with you fitting into INTZ and how the team has been progressing lately after playing a couple of international tournaments. How does the team feel right now?
It feels like we are progressing. We played really badly in Odense, I think staying in Brazil and practicing there really took a hit on us. I feel like we just don't practice hard enough there because it is harder to find practice there, everyone has family there so you want to spend your time with them ... it is hard to practice there. It is not a good place to practice for us. We really got in a pretty bad shape there, from time to time, even when we played WESG, when we didn't play with xand, we could already see that we are at a low level.
We knew that we had to go and have a good day of practice when we arrived in Denmark, so we played 7-8 maps the day we arrived. It is still hard to play just as you arrive, we tried to do our best, to play a good tournament there, but unfortunately, we played really bad, I had a really poor presentation on the important maps. But it happens, it was my first big international LAN so I guess it is ok. I learned from it, I'm already a lot better on this LAN even though it is a tier two LAN I would say, not a tier one LAN, I already feel a lot more comfortable playing here, I don't really care anymore. I never really cared about LAN situations, [ESL Pro League] was just a really bad tournament for me.
I feel like our team needs to be in shape, we need to practice. I think that is why we played badly yesterday, the delays didn't help either but the main thing is that we hadn't practiced for four days because we were traveling and doing all this stuff. We were in hotels and we didn't have practice PCs... so we were just chilling, we couldn't do much. We could just talk about stuff, but we really need to play to be good.
I think that is our biggest issue right now. To be consistent we have to be playing [all the time], if we stop for just a few days we go to a low level in our play. That is a thing we are trying to figure out how to fix because if we keep growing as a team we are going to be traveling always, and you can't really practice when you travel a lot. So we can't really get that low on arrival when we are not practicing that much. We are going to find a fix to it, I hope.
You are actually living and playing from Canada now, how did that come to be? Why pick Canada, most of the teams are in the US?
I think there are two things. Firstly, we want to go to the US with P1 visas, everyone, so we don't have any problems in the future. Because we know how visas work in the US, if you are working there with the wrong visa it could be a lot of trouble and everyone knows how stuff works there. So you have to go full legit, with the P1 and play the best you can from there. In Canada, you can go with a tourist visa because you don't need a work permit to play tournaments there, it is fine for us, we can just go there, we got a house there now, INTZ got us the house, and we are very comfortable there.
Secondly, it is cold, so it is a good thing because we don't want to go out so we play more CS. It is something we talked about actually, when you are in LA you want to go out after the day because it is a nice play to go out. When you are in Canada it is snowing, it is cold as shit, you just want to stay at home playing. I think it gets us to do better, it is funny, but it works.
felps has transitioned to the in-game leader role, it was kind of unexpected for a lot of people, seeing him as a player he was in SK and before that. How has he been fitting into that, he seems like a reserved, shy guy, can he control the troops?
I think felps is the best captain I played for, he is really smart, he knows how to put us in our place, so to say, so he is not a shy guy when we are playing. He is someone who, if you are doing something stupid, will say to you that you did something stupid. He just wants you to get better, that is why it is good to play with him. It was hard to start, we had to see how he would handle everyone. It is not like he is toxic, but the way he says what you are doing wrong is really direct. I think it is really good right now, when we started it was weird for us, we were just getting the handle of it.
I think felps is underrated in that aspect of his game, he is so smart, he knows so much about the game, he can explain stuff to us. If you look at it, I've played in Immortals for a week or two weeks, so I never had that growth. I would say that I was always a really good PUG player, I'm good when I don't have any pressure, that was something I was something I was always working on, playing under pressure, and I think I'm getting a lot better now. This was a pressure game for us because it was an elimination game and I did really well.
The secret... I talked about it with felps and I realized I have to talk, I have to be a guy who is really communicative in-game, I can't be the guy who is not talking too much. When I'm not talking I'm playing bad, I can feel that I'm playing bad when I'm not talking, that is something about me that felps even helped me discover. He has been teaching us so much about the game and how to play it. I don't know, in the future, I could be the captain again, but I think that for some time I will keep growing from him until I come close to what he is right now.
You touched on it now, you obviously had this long period when you were in a team for a week and then you were stuck in this contract that you couldn't get out of and couldn't play on a team. So you are finally on a team now, playing with INTZ, how has that been for you after a long lull in your career? To have a team with which you can practice and develop with?
I think the time when I was under contract, when I couldn't play for any team, even when I had some offers to play, people didn't want to pay [Immortals] to try me out. I was new, they saw I had some potential in FPL and they really wanted me to try out with them, but paying for it turned them down. It was hard for me because I'm a guy that is really competitive about everything. I used to play soccer but I stopped because I hurt my knee.
I had to find something else to play so I even went to robotic tournaments to be competitive, but after I started playing Counter-Strike it just grew on me, I guess. Because of my dad, everyone knows this story because we did the series for Hulu in Immortals, and I talked a lot about it, my dad is a guy who really put me into gaming because he owned a LAN cafe in Brazil and it was really big at the time, it was one of the biggest ones in Brazil in 2002. I was four years old and I would play CS1.6 then, I always had a love for games, so when I found CS:GO again, I was like 'Oh, CS! I'll play this.'. I tried it in 2012, I hated the game, I played for 10 minutes, uninstalled and never played it again. I think I tried it again at the end of 2015, when it started growing in Brazil, and by the end of 2016 I was already a really good player in Brazil and I was leaving for Portugal.
I guess it was just the love for the game, how sad it was for me to not play competitive matches when I was in Immortals. But I used my time there to grow the most I could, by myself. The thing that people don't see is that is so hard to grow by yourself when you don't have a team to help you grow. Because some stuff you can see in VoDs, you can watch demos from other players, but you still won't see your mistakes sometimes. You don't have a team environment to see what is wrong in what you are doing. Because you are trying things in FPL and FPL is not a team game. Now it is better I think, thanks to Mikey, people play a lot better, but when I played there, when I started the first time, it was just individual skill and that didn't really help me that much. But I tried my best when I was there just to grow as a player.
Lastly, you had a rough start to this tournament but you managed to make the playoffs, what are your thoughts so far on this event?
I think we just need to keep growing at this event. I think we are getting better at LAN, everyone is getting calmer when we are playing. We are a team that either we don't communicate or we communicate excessively. We still need to find our middle ground to be a better team. We found that middle ground in practice in Odense, after we lost there we practiced for five days, but it is hard to translate it into the real game. But we are going to do it, I hope that before the Minor we can find this middle ground in real games.