fox: "If we go through [the play-in] everyone will be surprised by us, I'm pretty sure"
Giants beat Queso and Cream in the BLAST Pro Series Madrid 2019 Play-in, earning them a spot in the final against Movistar Riders. The winner of this match between the two top teams in Iberia, which will take place tomorrow at 16:15 at the Madrid Arena, will have a berth in BLAST Pro Series Madrid.
In the interview, fox talked about Giants, what the team has been up to in the past few months, how they square up against Movistar Riders, the opportunity of having a play-in into a BLAST Pro Series, and some of the communication problems plaguing the team, among other topics.
Tell me a bit about the team, in general. You've been together for a while, playing some local leagues and online cups. What have you been up to, as of late?
We're doing pretty OK as of now. The leagues we played so far we won, and we are top 4 in the leagues that will give us access to LAN finals. We've been together for about six months, and we've played quite a lot of cups, but we just use them to get used to playing online tournaments. We have a lot of internet issues in Portugal and we use those tournaments just to get in shape and try to play with some of the best teams, which is something we'll keep doing.
The last time you played Riders on LAN you beat them. Portuguese teams tend to be better on LAN than Spanish teams, so what are your expectations for the play-in final?
I think it's pretty even right now. They just changed their lineup, they lost loWel, one of their best players, and we changed RIZZZ. Not because he was bad or anything, just because of other internal issues, but we're kind of in the same situation since we changed our lineup one or two months ago. I think Movistar Riders are better than us as a team, when it comes to playing, but individually, I think we have better players.
You haven't been to any event as big as this with this Portuguese lineup. How important is it for you and for the local scene to have a play-in such as this one?
It's a unique opportunity for us to show the world that we can play and beat some of the best teams in the world. I think if we go through, everyone will be surprised by us, I'm pretty sure about that.
You're playing a lot of Spanish teams in the leagues you're in, and you're playing for a Spanish organization, but can you tell me a bit about the Portuguese scene? How is it developing, what's happening?
The scene in Portugal is super big, and the fanbase is super big, what we don't have is the support from organizations, tournament organizers... We had BLAST last year, and Moche XL, although BLAST was invite-only so we couldn't play it.
We can play Moche XL because if we win the Portuguese league we get a slot there. Last year it was with SK and HellRaisers, when we were in Tempo Storm. But Spain has more leagues, and they're more professional. They make everything really professional for the players and everything. In Portugal, we're missing some support from companies, but the scene, the people... It's big. Super big.
You were saying you're struggling a bit after a roster change. What is it you need to take the next step? To play a bit better leagues and so on?
Our biggest problem right now is communication. We talk a lot and sometimes it's just super confusing for everyone to understand what is happening in the moment. We're working on it, but it's not how we want it to be yet. It's 100% our biggest problem.
You talk about communication being a specific problem, but what about getting experience and learning from playing against better teams. Is that something important for you, to get experience out of this event if you're able to play against the top teams in the world?
They actually have already had a lot of good results against top teams before, my teammates. The communication thing is about our culture, we talk a lot and fight a lot with each other, and sometimes in the middle of the match, we just lose control.
We need to stop that, and I think we'll work on that better when we have big opportunities like this one, when we play against the best and try to be calm and play our game without thinking about fighting and if someone fails this or that, just forget it and talk later...
What are your days like, your routines and so on?
In a normal day, without tournaments, we play like 8-9 hours, like a normal job. We also put in a lot of hours individually. Before events, we try to always bootcamp, for this tournament we played like 12 hours a day for 10 days.
So you have similar projects to Movistar Riders. mixwell went to North America and came back to create a Spanish team. You played internationally and then came back to create a Portuguese team. What are the complications you've found since coming back? How has it been for you?
I think it's OK. It's easier because trying to speak another language is super hard. For me, at least, because I don't have perfect English. When I played internationally I had a lot of ups and downs, and it was all about communication. I'd play events like this one and I'd be struggling with communication, I wouldn't understand what people were saying, so then in the game, I'd be super lost. In Portuguese, it's really easy, so for me as a player it's better, and I'm trying to get our team to the top level. I think mixwell is doing the same and I like that.
Have you thought of working with a psychologist or something like that?
Giants, the organization, actually talked to us about that already, but our players didn't like the idea. I don't know why, I personally went to a psychologist like once a month. You know, I've played this game for 20 years, sometimes I'm super exhausted and I go to the doctor and talk to her. I think every team should be forced to do that because I think it's good for the players.
Did you set any goals before coming here?
We worked a lot, and we watched demos from all of the teams here. Especially Movistar Riders, but also Cloud9 and Astralis, the two teams we would play on the first day if we win. We did our work as if we're going to win. If we lose, it's fine, but we did our work.