yuurih: "Our mindset is to learn new things, gain more experience and grow as a team"
Upon conclusion of FURIA's series against fnatic, seeing to a 2-0 stun from the Brazilians, we spoke with Yuri "yuurih" Santos to discuss the team's progress, how this level of performance was achieved and the team's ambitions for the upcoming Big events.
Coming into Dallas, FURIA were labeled the dark horse - unknown and obscure. Contrary to initial perception, the Brazilian squad have absolutely dominated their match-ups thus far, beating two top 10 teams in NRG and fnatic in convincing fashion.
Those two victories yielded the Brazilians a guaranteed spot in the quarter-finals, and, depending on the outcome of their upper bracket final match against ENCE, a potential spot in the semi-finals.
After the team's impressive performance against Richard "Xizt" Landström and company, we spoke with yuurih, who gave us insight into the team's system, how they managed to ascend to a competitive level in a relatively short time and the impact their move to the US has had on the team.
The team moved to the US in July of last year. Tell me how that changed the dynamic in the team. Did you see improvements after you made the move?
When we moved here, we were a pretty inexperienced team. We started gaining some experience by playing tier two teams, but we still lost a lot. We kept playing and practicing to get experience, and we started to measure up to the top teams.
Nowadays, we are already beating them and, thankfully, we are starting to play tier one tournaments. I expect much more from us.
Your playstyle is fascinating to watch, with an incredibly deep playbook. Could you give me some insight into how you managed to develop something so fascinating?
When arT joined the team, his style was a bit loose, while we played a more tactical game. Since he joined, we have been able to mesh those two styles. Everything we do is quite loose, that is why people think our matches are so fun to watch.
From looking at your results, generally speaking, it seems you are comfortable on all maps. How have you managed to achieve that?
When we reached a point where we wanted to have a better map pool, we heavily practiced one map and, when we got really good on it, we picked another map and repeated the process. That is how we have become good on so many maps. This makes our vetoes against bigger and also smaller teams easier because we can play any map.
You qualified for three large events at the expense of some big North Americans teams. What do you think makes your team so effective against them?
When we qualified for the Minor, we were putting in a lot of effort, we were practicing all day, that was the only thing in our mind. While we were in Katowice, we practiced so much, we were there for two weeks, practicing against really good European teams.
We used to struggle against North American teams, but when we got back from Europe, we were a much better team. That experience in Europe was very good, and now we are able to face North American teams much more easily, even though it is still quite hard.
Let's talk a little bit about arT, the in-game leader. Do you have more of a style where he dictates the decisions or does everyone pitch in with ideas?
Normally, arT gives the calls at the beginning of rounds, but everyone has plays they like to make. For example, I have a lot of plays, and in mid-round situations I ask if I can make them. We go default and then make our plays. He lets us do what we like to do.
It is apparent that [coach] guerri plays a large role, both in terms of keeping the team motivated and helping out on the tactical side. How does he assist you?
To be frank, we would not be here today if it were not for him. He has a big impact on our team, both inside and outside the game. He is never satisfied with our level, he always wants more, and that pushes us to want to learn more. He is essential to the team.
What are the goals that you have set out for these events, considering you did not attend as many international tournaments before? What mindset do you have?
Now that we have started to qualify for those tier one tournaments, our mindset is to learn new things, gain more experience and grow as a team. We are not aiming to go there and win it all; if we win, that is obviously great, but we want to learn from the big teams and play against them, which is something new for us. I believe it will be very good for us to play these tournaments and to keep practicing. I really believe in the team.
What does it feel like to know you'll be in the quarter-finals of Dallas?
I am very happy, I believe the entire team is happy. Beating these guys, who have been competing at this level for so long, is really rewarding. I am very happy, I have no words.