arT: "We've had people trying to buy our players since the first month of the team"
Our final interview from ESL One Cologne features Andrei "arT" Piovezan from FURIA, who talked about developing his style of play, bringing that to FURIA, and fighting off teams that want to sign their players.
After a thunderous breakout earlier this year, finishing 3rd-4th at DreamHack Masters Dallas and second at ECS Season 7 Finals, FURIA jumped into the top 5 of the team rankings, but only held the spot shortly.
A disappointing 3rd-4th place at Moche XL and a sub-par 9-12th finish at ESL One Cologne, where they lost to NRG and Natus Vincere, have shown that the Brazilian youngsters still have a long way to go.
In an interview with arT, which was conducted at ESL One Cologne following the team's elimination, we discussed his path up to this point, the issues he has faced because of his playstyle, the approaches from MIBR, and more.
Your style as an individual player is obviously risky, aggressive, you do things that most players don't do, perhaps they are afraid to do. Has that always been your style? How did it develop in you as a player?
I think the way I play is something in me because I have been playing like that since the beginning. I think that something that people don't see is that when you make an aggressive play, it is not like a 50-50 play, it is more like a 70-30 or 80-20, because even if you die, you can create enough space for it to be worth the death. So when you make a play, it is not a 50-50, and that is something I think about when I make aggressive plays. It is not just about the kill, sometimes it is just about space, about the waste of nades or the pressure. That kind of explains a little bit of my thought process.
Do you think that in a way, people overvalue being alive on the server? Because there are, as you just mentioned, other things in the game than kills and deaths like map control, economy, what weapons you have, etc. Do you think there is a part of the game that people misvalue in a way?
Yeah, I think that is true. I think that a lot of people overvalue, like you said, not dying or being alive. In some situations, maybe most of them, it is important to be alive, even more so when you have the advantage, like a 5v4 or 4v3, but I see a lot of players playing passively in situations I would play more aggressively.
You said this style has always been in you. Was that an issue with you coming up the ranks, as a young player? Because when you are on the big stage and you are doing that and people see it works it is easy for them to support you. But when you are coming up, people are usually very critical about things that you do.
[laughs] Oh yeah. In the beginning, when I joined FURIA, I was not a known player, my way of playing and leading the players was different from what is usual in Brazil. There were some teams that were very upset about us and did not want to scrim us anymore, they said my team and I will never play like that on stage or against good teams, that it is not the way you play CS. I heard that from a Brazilian team that came from Europe, that practiced there for a month, and we played against them in my second scrim with FURIA. One of the guys just said "arT, you are playing CS wrong. That is all wrong. That is not how you do it. We played in Europe and that is not how you play". I think I never let it hit me, I never took it personally, because I knew there was something good about what I was doing. I don't know, I kind of ignored it and kept going.
Were you then always an in-game leader, how did that come about?
I think that in my second or third team I was already in-game leading. When I started playing CS I never wanted to be a captain or an IGL, I just wanted to be a player, I just wanted to play the game, but I was good at it, second calling and helping the captain and, with time, it just happened. I'm a good caller, so why not become the IGL? I think it was a natural process for me, and when I joined FURIA I was already an IGL.
During a game, your coach guerri is often writing things down in his notebook. What is he writing down?
I don't know exactly what he writes down, but I think it is mostly about the economy, so he doesn't need to ask us to press down tab. So he writes down if we lost a round, won a round, if it is an eco, a gun round, and if he knows if we are missing some information, for example, they are ecoing and we are not aware, he will sometimes pause the game to let us know. He also writes down some important things he notices so he can call them when he pauses.
What do you think is the most important thing he brings to the team, overall?
I think I would describe him as a captain, I have learned a lot from him personally, he brings the morale way up. If it were not for him, the morale of the team would be way down, we probably would have disbanded the team already. We have gone through a lot of problems, a lot of people harassing us trying to buy players, and the morale was not good when we were losing a lot way back then. guerri has helped us a lot because we have a young team, he is the oldest guy, he is like the father to the guys, like a big brother to me. So aside from what happens in the game, he has a big impact outside of the game as well.
Having bad results and people wanting to buy out players from you. When did that start? Was it around the Major or before?
That was back in the first month of FURIA. We've had people trying to buy our players since the first month of the team and that kept happening until... well, now. [laughs]
You are bringing in new strategies to the game but some things you used seem like things that were popular maybe two or three years ago. Do you maybe go back and watch a demo from 2015 and find something that could maybe work now? What is the thinking when you come up with some of these things?
I don't think I have ever watched an older game to get strats, I think I have watched some to get an idea of how CS worked, but I have never brought anything from it. I think most of our strats are our own adaptations. We have some strats, we use them a lot and get some ideas for new strats around that or some completely new strats. I think it is more of a process, we adapt our strats to new strats.
Touching on this tournament, you went out to Na`Vi and NRG and you beat Renegades, before this you had that Moche XL tournament, which didn't go so well. So where do you put yourselves as a team, how happy are you with the recent results?
I'm not happy with the recent results, I think the Moche tournament was very poorly played by us, we could've played way better. Here, though, I don't think we have such a big fault because we faced very good teams. I think we could've played the NRG game better but we know we always struggle against them so that was ok for me. Against Renegades we played ok, not great, and Na`Vi are a good team, we need to be at our best to beat them and we did not play to our full potential. We really need to play our best game to win against these guys. So I was not upset, but I really wanted to take the win against Na`Vi.
One of the things that happened recently was the AUG nerf and you as a team had brought in a lot of the AUG and a lot of the SG as well. How do you think it affects your team? Is it going to be a big hit, adapting to an AUG that is not as good as before?
I think it is more of a personal question because the SG is still the same, we can still play it normally. The AUG, for some of us, is unplayable, and others can still play it. I think VINI is going to struggle more now because he had been using only this weapon for a year or two, way longer than the rest of us.
For the rest of us it will be normal, we will go back to normal CS - fu** the AUG! [laughs]
Obviously there were attempts from MIBR to purchase some of your players. How much pressure does that put on you as a team?
I don't really think that we feel pressure due to other orgs trying to buy our players because, as I said before, it is something that we are used to, it happened in the first month of FURIA, the second month, for a whole year, so I think we are used to it. I know that it is probably going to happen again and again and again, if not from MIBR, then from other teams. I think we are solid right now. We know what we want, other players know we are sticking together, so I don't think it is going to be a problem.
At some point, every team makes a roster change. As a team, you've been putting a lot of emphasis on sticking together and have done very good things so far. What do you think would have to happen for the team to consider changing players?
We have never thought about changing the roster, but I think it is a natural process, I think most teams have to go through it because it is a good thing, eventually, to change players. Not because they are playing badly or something, sometimes it is just good to get a breath of fresh air. I don't think we are close to that, it is going to take a lot of time [before we reach that point]. If you are performing badly on the stages or qualifiers and if you feel you have to make a change, it is a natural process. We don't really mind or think about it.