Best quotes from MIBR's AMA
We have compiled some of the best quotes from the AMA with MIBR this morning at the Movistar Esports Center in Madrid, where the team is currently bootcamping.
MIBR are currently in Madrid, Spain, where they are practicing to get their new Brazilian roster up to speed ahead of the IEM Katowice Major.
During the AMA, Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, Fernando "fer" Alvarenga, Marcelo "coldzera" David, Epitacio "TACO" de Melo, João "felps" Vasconcellos, and coach Wilton "zews" Prado answered questions about topics including the roster changes, going back to their roots, the preparations for the Major, roles within the team, and more.
Read some of the most interesting parts of the interview below, or press play on the VOD at the bottom to watch it in full as it was recorded live.
It's your third time bootcamping at the Movistar Esports Center, are you starting to enjoy coming to Madrid?
FalleN: Madrid is a very cool place, and the facilities here are very good. People treat us very well, they give us a lot of freedom to play whenever we want. The computers are good, the internet is awesome. Being in Europe is important because we can play against the best teams in the world, and there are a lot more teams we can play against compared to other regions, which is why we like to be here. Madrid is a beautiful city, and we had some time to watch some Real Madrid matches, so we're having a good time.
Why is this the right time for this project? What is different now from 2017? TACO, why did you leave a team like Liquid, a very solid team, to go back to MIBR?
TACO: I would say that I believe in this team because we went through a lot of stuff in 2017 and it was a great year for us. I know every player on this team, I know they're really good, and I know if we want to work, when we want to work, when we stick together and try our best, it's very difficult to stop us. They are my family, they taught me how to play Counter-Strike, so I'm very thankful to these guys.
We were doing really well in Liquid, and I love the guys. I had a really, really good time there. The organization was really good, the teammates were really nice to me, we had a really good structure, but there's nothing like home. Playing with my friends and playing in my country's team is an awesome feeling. Winning for them is an awesome feeling, as well, so I think it played a big part in my decision. Going back home is always great.
Talking about Liquid, you were there as well, zews. It is a well-known organisation, with a good structure, nice training facilities and a large staff. Is there anything you saw or learned there that you could ask for in MIBR, or something you could apply to your new team?
zews: Yes, Liquid is amazing. I loved my time there. They were really receptive, as TACO said, to both of us, and our teammates were great. The structure they provide is really nice in the sense that they allow us to just focus on playing, and they did teach us a lot about the psychological part since that was related to a lot of the issues we were having in the team back then.
Even though TACO and I, and everyone here from Brazil, have a different mentality, there's a lot of stuff that we can bring in that will help us to focus more on performance-related stuff, and I think none of that would be possible without Liquid because they are kind of visionary in getting that performance psychology part. Astralis and they are ahead in that, and I think now we have it as well.
What are your expectations with this roster for 2019?
felps: Our expectation for the year is to win tournaments and to become the best team in the world.
Who do you think is going to be a rising star in Brazil this year?
felps: As far as a star player, I think yuurih. I think he has a high level and I think he is a star player. He plays really aggressively and he has great aim.
Who have you been practicing against?
felps: We have played against Na`Vi and some Russian teams. We try to not play against teams we can face, although sometimes we'll play against them just to test some things.
In 2017 you were the best team in the world and there was another competitive Brazilian team, Immortals. What does Brazil need to get a couple teams or more up there?
FalleN: I think the game keeps changing. The way it's played, the meta, and the way teams are approaching it, strategically speaking. If we go back, I think we were a bit ahead of everyone else in terms of the way we approached the game and the way we understood how the game should work. Nowadays it's a bit different and we're trying to catch up. It's basically a catch-up game and making sure our players are playing their A-game. The median level is so high nowadays that you can really lose to any team that has some good players because the middle ground is at a really high level right now, so we really need to have something else to get ahead of everyone.
Astralis are the team to beat, have you identified any weaknesses that you can exploit if you are to face them at the Major?
coldzera: Astralis are always a hard team to face in tournaments. They are really structured, they know how to play really well, but last year we saw when we played them that they were a bit scared when they played us. They weren't playing the same game as they did against Liquid or other teams. It was kind of hard, but we know the secret to beating them. We were really close to doing it three times, and we actually beat them one of those times. We were very close on the other two, going to overtime both times, so it's hard to play them but at the same time, it's not that hard.
I think this year they did not play that well in their first tournament. We were watching their final against Liquid at iBUYPOWER Masters and they were not at the same level as before, so I think this year they're going to drop down a bit. It's going to be hard at the Major, I think they're going to be really prepared, but at the same time I think it's going to be a good game against them and we have a good chance to beat them.
Actually, you were talking about the two times you lost against them. If I remember correctly it was at BLAST Pro Series Istanbul and the ECS Finals. Those are two big finals, if you would have beaten them there, do you think MIBR would look different now? Would that have changed the way you saw the team last year?
coldzera: I think when we played with the Americans we had a really different style. They played one style, we played another style, and we tried to make them fit together, but at the same time it was kind of hard. When we started a tournament well, we finished it well, but when we didn't have a great first game, the confidence during the tournament started to drop and that was the reason we played really poorly the whole year. If we had won one of those two tournaments, I think it would have been much better. We would have had more confidence. Stewie and tarik are both great players, but our confidence during tournaments, that process, it wasn't great.
In an interview, YNk said it didn't really matter which players were brought into the team, it was more about practice and professionalism. Do you think there is some truth to those words and do any apply to MIBR?
fer: I can agree with some stuff, but some people are picking up on what Astralis do because they were really good last year, and people are trying to copy them, but I don't think this is the way. You have to create your own way. I agree you have to be more professional because tournaments are becoming more professional, so there are more sponsors coming up and you have to be more professional in everything in your life, but I kind of disagree in some aspects.
YNk was trying to be a coach for the first time in our team, so he was trying some stuff and we were open-minded, there were some things I didn't like, individually but I was trying to adapt to his style. I think it was a good experience for everyone, but at the end of the day he was trying to do what he thought was right and people were trying to help him with that... for me, it was a good experience and I don't have any regrets.
To follow up on that, you say people are trying to copy the Astralis method because they're playing so well right now, but you disagree with that. Can you give me an example of what you disagree with, or what you mean when you say that you have to pave your own way?
fer: There are a lot of people talking about what Astralis is doing, but at the end of the day you don't know what they're doing 100%, right? So people are saying, like, "they have a sleep schedule, they have a Deathmatch schedule, they have a schedule for everything", but I do not think it is supposed to be that way. Players have to be happy and excited to play Counter-Strike. It's our job, right? Not everyone enjoys their job, but we have CS as our hobby as well, so if you are playing all the time you will be doing it too much.
Individually, I don't like to play a lot of CS, I like to practice with my team, but I don't like to play PUGs alone because I don't think it's worth it. Every time I play PUGs it's bad for me, you know? So people say "oh, they play DM one hour, or two hours, or they show up two hours later, or they woke up eight hours before the match..." I just think you need to know yourself and say "OK, if I wake up two hours before the game and I eat something healthy or whatever, I will feel ready to play." I think that's good for you, you know? Not every player is the same, so I think every player has to create their own way to be comfortable and ready to play the game, I don't think you have to copy other people.
So we touched a bit on YNk, what are some of the differences you've noticed between him and zews, both now and before?
fer: Actually, when zews was with us, in the beginning, it was pretty good. We had more freedom, we were friends, we were a family, so it was like a family atmosphere. It was really good for us, but he wanted to be a player and left the team. We didn't kick him. Then we didn't have a coach for a long time, which was a good experience for us. We could take care of some stuff, but there was some stuff we didn't care about too much. Like one time I woke up 30 minutes before a match...
FalleN: And we won it!
fer: Yeah, it was 2017, we were winning. Not everything, but a lot of tournaments. So having YNk was a new experience. We were more professional and had more structure, more rules, but now we have zews, who was pretty successful in Liquid. He's trying to bring in the good stuff he saw in Liquid, and I think we're doing pretty well.
If we talk about the English-speaking roster, communication usually comes up, but I'm interested to know if it was perhaps also had to do with cultural differences.
FalleN: I don't think there's just one thing that kept us from getting all of the success we wanted, and I think we were close to achieving it. In a previous question, you talked about a tournament we should have won that would have made a difference, and I think Istanbul would have made a lot of things different. We lost that match 14-16 in the last map, and it could have been a different world if we had won.
Communication problems came when things got too chaotic because we wanted to be really specific about what was going on and sometimes English words just didn't come as easily. For the English-speakers, they would sometimes say something that would take us a little bit longer to understand, or they would mention something and we wouldn't get the whole idea, so the ideal play wouldn't come up.
There were definitely communication issues, but it wasn't the only factor. The role clash was something else. In my point of view, when we picked up tarik for boltz, we saw him as an upgrade, and he's a very good player in terms of numbers and how well he has done for his teams in the past, but for the team it was a bit harsh because in situations in which you can't expect he's going to flourish and do something good for the team, but when I tried to have him do something specific, and something he had to be careful with, to not take risks, that was not his game, so sometimes there were some flaws and we lost advantages and stuff like that.
I can't only criticize one player, though, I think all of us had our problems, but it was a good time. We were one of the only teams who were almost capable of beating Astralis, and that was something good because they were playing an A-class game. It was a good experience overall and I don't regret anything we did together.
You went into the roles, talking about tarik, but this begs the question of the team as it is now. The reason you broke up in 2017 was that there were some roles clashing. When felps came on in 2017 he was an aggressive player and you struggled with having to change the way he played, so what makes you think you'll be able to fit everybody into the structure this time around?
FalleN: So the last time we played with felps, we didn't know how to play with two aggressive players like fer and felps at the same time. That happened in Vegas and the two tournaments after it. The first one, we got to the finals, and we even joke about it nowadays, that we lost to a clutch by TaZ and lost a tournament that was supposed to be ours.
Then the two tournaments after that were really bad because we were taking all of the risks and being very aggressive didn't pay off. My game started to drop a lot, coldzera wasn't comfortable anymore because of the lack of structure, so after those tournaments, we had a meeting and we told felps, "hey, we need you to be someone else on the team because the role you have is affecting everyone and this isn't the way we want to play." He understood very well that the team needed someone else. Not a different player, but that he had to become a different player. He started adapting to become more of an anchor and a support player that did what was needed from him and we won five tournaments in a row, and we were close to winning a Major as well. Unfortunately, we lost to Astralis in the quarter-finals, and if we had a different match-up or if we had won that match we could have won the Major.
I think in the end the problems on that team weren't even about roles, I just think we didn't deal with the problems we had in the team, specifically after losing the Major. I think we needed more maturity, to be smarter about what was going on, and we lost the opportunity to stay together and build something that was more long-term. Now, with TACO and zews having experience in other teams, we've played with foreign players, felps also played in other teams, so I think now we're more grown up and we can face those adversities a bit better. If there's still a bit of a role clash in the team because felps is by nature a very aggressive player, and there isn't much room for him to be aggressive every time, but he understands that well. And we also try to make room so that he can make us flourish with those skills. Overall, he has to be the player the team needs him to be, and he knows how to do that. We proved that in 2017 and we're going to prove that again.
This lineup already existed in the past, do you think nostalgia had any influence in bringing this roster back together?
zews: Yes and no. This roster existed before, although I wasn't a part of it. As FalleN commented earlier, a lot of the issues they had came down to not being able to deal with their problems, and I can help a lot with that. Nostalgia helps, of course. People who say that this roster failed are very wrong, in my view, because you don't win five events by failing, right? I think the roster was amazing, they just didn't follow through with it.
Nostalgia helps in bringing back the beautiful feelings, but we have to be aware that it's 2019. Two years have passed, and two years in CS are like dog years, so it's like 14 or 15. CS evolves at an exponential rate, so we have to develop a new style and incorporate felps and TACO. TACO is a completely different player than he was when he was a part of SK as well.
FalleN: He's better now!
zews: As much as we like to think about the nostalgia, which is nice from the emotional side, professionally we're a completely different group, so don't expect the same playstyle, map pool, everything. A lot is different and I think people will be happily surprised.
Getting into Major business, you're here preparing for the biggest opening event you could hope to have. Other teams have played events to get the ball rolling, but you're going in without any official matches, just practice. Do you think that's an advantage, or a disadvantage?
TACO: You have to think positive, right? People won't expect the way we play, so that's an advantage for us. I don't think we need tournament experience since we have over 30 or 40 tournaments under our belts as players. I would say we have an advantage. It was our decision to not go to iBUYPOWER Masters. Coming into the bootcamp we´re creating a lot of new stuff and changing a lot of things in the style we had before, so I'm pretty sure it's an advantage and it will pay off for us.
You say you've played a lot as individuals, but don't you think it's good to get a feel of how you're doing now ahead of a big event, or is there some secret weapon you're going to bring out and just wow everyone?
FalleN: We're playing AUGs, five AUGs.
So you're in the meta!
TACO: I think it's different. We have the advantage because people won't expect the way we're playing. We have changed a lot. I think that's it. I don't think playing a tournament three weeks before would change a lot. It would just be bad for our confidence because we were on vacation for a month and we weren't really ready to play a tournament. I absolutely agree it would be good to try the stuff we have out, but...
FalleN: Other teams would love it too, yeah!
TACO: Yeah, I think we can just fix stuff in practice.
FalleN: Every practice is a game for us. We're taking it very seriously and we have a lot of practices. We did the math and it's something like 90 maps.
TACO: We were going to have a day off, but we decided to cancel it, so it's going to be over 100 maps.
What are your goals in Katowice? What do you expect to achieve there?
coldzera: The goal is always to win, but this is a new lineup and we were not together for a long time, so we're trying to improve as a team. If we don't win this Major, we're not going to be sad or mad because we want time to better ourselves, to be in the finals... we're going to try to make it to as many finals as we can and win the most tournaments we can, so it's not a team made just to win the first one, it's a team built to win during the whole time we'll be together.
To close it out, FalleN, I'm curious about the leadership, and how that's working. In the past you've changed, but how's the dynamic now? Are you carrying the voice? How about mid-round, or what does zews say when he jumps in?
FalleN It's pretty much the same as it was before. I'm still leading the team in terms of trying to be the voice during rounds and being the leader during the game, but I think outside of the game we have a lot of personalities and they all have the qualities needed to be leaders in different aspects. Some of them are leaders in practice, others on how much they study other teams, others in how much hunger they put into coming early to practice... We have different leadership skills in the team and that's very helpful. It's not all on me, and zews is bringing a lot to the team, as he has done before. A lot of new stuff, quality stuff, that can allow us to get kills and make opportunities.
zews is very critical when things aren't working, so he has a different overall perspective. There are some games in which he calls so I can have different ideas and take one or two things from maps that I'm not calling well on, so I think everyone is contributing in every one of those aspects, but in-game we try to unify all of the voices in me because we need a direction. We like to say that there are many times when a lot of things would work, but you need a direction because if half of the people go one way and half of the people go the other way, then neither of them works, so you need a structure in which everyone knows what to do and they just choose one path to go down. So that's basically how it works, and the team is doing pretty well.
Well, that's all from us...
TACO: I would actually like to take the chance to thank Movistar Riders for the bootcamp. I'd also like to thank our sponsors and the fans in Spain. The hospitality here has been awesome, we really like to come here. To every Brazilian fan, and every MIBR fan in the world, thanks a lot. I hope you enjoyed the AMA and I hope you support us during the Major because we're going to go strong!
FalleN: Just to wrap up, you should be proud of the project you have here because every country would benefit from a company that's providing this structure for creating content and supporting scenes like the Counter-Strike one, so Spain should be very proud of the project here.
To view the full interview, click on the link below: