Luken: "I really hope to play MIBR or G2 or one of those teams in the playoffs"
Furious started off the day by coming back on the first map of their opener agianst FrostFire, in a match that they would go on to win 2-0. Their second match didn't go quite as well, however, as they lost two maps to Absolute, but they were able to clinch a spot as the second seed in the three-team group.
In the interview, Luken, who was featured in our Five players to watch feature, talks about the team's formation, the players and their roles, their hopes for the WESG World Finals, regional aspirations, their group stage matches, his role as an in-game leader and AWPer, and a little bit of his personal history.
Could you start off by telling me a bit about the team for those who don't follow Furious?
We're an Argentine team, and only four of us are here, so we're a bit of a mix. I'm the IGL, then we have Nahuel "nhl" Herrera and Guillermo "guishorro" Areco, two entries, and Genaro "restikk" Hokama, our support player. We're playing this tournament with Nahuel "Straka" Vazquez, since we made it through the qualifier with him, although Nabil "nbl" Aleua is our fifth player. So we came as a mix team, we don't have much prepared and we're just trying to play as best we can.
Well, you're four, so it's not that bad...
Yeah, yeah... I mean we have a couple of things here and there.
Yeah, we've been playing for like eight months or so. We played with Ignacio "meyern" Meyer and Maximiliano "max" Gonzalez, who are Isurus players now. We changed a lot of players and couldn't really practice for this event because we had the Pro League qualifier against them not long ago. But it's good, we're getting good experience here.
We knew Absolute are a very structured team. We started off as CTs and they didn't follow the gameplan we thought they would, so that screwed things up for us early on, but we eventually focused on ourselves instead of them and were able to get some rounds. We made a lot of mistakes, they were almost always playing with the advantage after getting an early kill, and we lost the trade battles during executes. We made it to overtime because we were able to make it a brawl, not because we were playing well as a team, but then it was the same in overtime. We lost a 2vs4, a 1vs3...
We also knew how they play on the CT side and wanted to anti-strat, but then they switched things around so that also cost us rounds. Then we had a lot of communication issues, which we didn't have against FrostFire. We made some mistakes against them, but nowhere near as bad as against Absolute, which sadly kept us from winning in overtime.
After 30 rounds it was you and Laz battling it out, both of you dropping 30-bombs. Did you know he was the star? Did you expect that?
No, we really didn't know them that well. We watched some demos, but we didn't know who was their star or their fragger, just like they probably didn't know I'm fragging for my team. Well, maybe they did because of the HLTV mention...
Yeah, Laz was in the honorable mentions, at the bottom.
Oh, right! I didn't notice...
So you're also the team's IGL. How do you call? Does the team play around you?
I give a lot of freedom to the players. Since we don't have a very solid default I just call whatever I want us to take and then let the players find out how to exploit the areas they're playing and have them talk so that it's not just me telling people what to do all of the time because that just leads to losing time and everything needs to be quick, so it's more about the whole team communicating properly.
I'm AWPing now, which is making calling a bit easier, but I don't like people to depend on me or what I call. On Dust2, for example, I'll say "let's play slow and take mid," and if we have the chance to split B we'll do that, if not then I'll call a play, but it all comes down to situations and decisions that we have to be able to make on the fly.
Going back to out-of-game affairs, you all live in Argentina, right?
Yes, we do.
Isurus, for example, live in Brazil. Do you have any plans to join them there?
It would be great to have a gaming house in another country because you learn much faster. Being at home, you have to do everything by video and so on, while in a gaming house we could all just sit together and look at stuff, I could tell people what to learn and so on, and that makes progress much faster, so I think a team that wants to compete seriously has to at some point go to a gaming house or you run the risk of stagnating.
Where do you think you stand as far as Latin America goes?
I think in Argentina we're the best team. Isurus as well, but I consider them more Brazilian now since that's where they live and play, and it's different playing against Brazilians from Argentina where you have much more latency. I think we're growing well, and I think if we can get a gaming house in Brazil we're going to grow a lot.
The last change, bringing nbl on, that just happened recently...
Yeah, we spoke with him in January and then put the roster together in February. That was the only change. We had talked with a couple of other guys that couldn't make it, Matias "tutehen" Canale, who was on holiday, and we had removed restikk because he didn't want to compete seriously. He couldn't practice because he had a job, but once we got contracts and pay then he came back into the team. The team's core was guishorro, nhl, and myself.
So you weren't getting paid until now...
Yeah, exactly, we just started in February, so it's all new, we haven't had much time to practice, either, and we had a lot of problems with the China visas and traveling to Brazil, but I think the results we've been getting show that we have a tall ceiling and a lot of room for improvement. Despite barely practicing we beat Isurus—who have been practicing in their gaming house for over a month—, on their map pick, 16-3, and lost in overtime in the decider in the Pro League qualifiers.
So not having been able to practice that much, have you set any goals for the event?
Our first goal was to make playoffs, which we did. Now our goal is to try and finish high enough to get some prize money, which would mean making it to the quarter-finals.
When you get back home, do you have a plan of action?
We're going to start practicing for the upcoming qualifiers, we're invited to the DreamHack Rio closed qualifier and we'll talk about the gaming house with the organization to see if we have any real chances of getting one, and just getting all of our affairs as a team in order to start practicing and try to win everything in our region.
Your name has started popping up in places, here on HLTV you were featured in our Five players to watch feature. Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your background?
Yeah, I never thought about competing. I played 1.6 my whole life, but not professionally. I played CS:GO in 2014 for half a year, but then moved to League of Legends. In 2017 I gave CS a chance again because I knew I was good in 1.6. The team I learned most with early on had guishorro, tutehen, and Roberto "reversive" Themtham. At that time I saw that I could start to grow, people were starting to say that I was pretty decent and playing well.
At some point I was in talks with Isurus, there was no formal offer but it was kind of an option that was there, although I wanted to make my own team and lead it. I won't tell you I love to lead, but I do like to make decisions and make the calls, so I didn't want to step on somebody else's toes. Luckily it's working out, I think I'm doing things well and I do everything I can so that the people around me can learn from me and vice versa.
How about personal goals?
To play in North America. That's my goal. NA. Sure, playing a Major, but that's a whole other level. First, to play in NA. Then I could see if I'm really a good player. Playing in Brazil is nice, but it's not the same as playing Europeans who have a completely different playstyle, and I want to see that I can fight against those teams and those players. I really hope to play MIBR or G2 or one of those teams in the playoffs. I know they'll very probably beat us by a very large margin, but I would still like to measure myself against them.