FalleN: "To finally have kNgV- has been a blessing; I think everyone deserves a second chance"
We spoke with Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo during the BLAST Pro Series Moscow media day to discuss the team's performance at the Major, the addition of Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe and the role he will assume in the squad.
MIBR will take on Natus Vincere in their first match at BLAST Pro Series Moscow, which will mark kNgV-'s debut with the team after he was recruited to replace Marcelo "coldzera" David in the line-up.
In this exclusive interview, MIBR's captain shares his thoughts on the performances at the recent Major with coach Wilton "zews" Prado as a stand-in, and discusses the long process of acquiring kNgV- and the in-game adjustments that have been made to accommodate the new player.
In all, considering you were going into the Major with your coach as a stand-in, do you feel you lived up to your aspirations going into Berlin?
We wanted to try to reach Legends status, just to make our lives easier for the next Major, and also because of what it means to us, as we had always secured Legends in the previous Majors we had played, so that was important for us. At the same time, our expectations were a bit lower, but during practice, we felt that the team was working, in some regard, and that we really could have had a good run.
We were a little bit disappointed in the end because with all the practice we had and the way we were playing in some of those practices, you could see that it could either go very wrong or it could go very well. We were hoping for the best, but it didn't happen this time.
zews' performance at the Major - how do you think he did, all things considered?
To be honest, I think he played well considering the circumstances. There were actually some matches we lost where he definitely wasn't the losing factor. From watching it, you could see that he really held his own, so it was very cool to play with zews - I think he did well, and did ok for the Major. It's a shame that we couldn't do a little bit better to give him the Legend status.
A hot topic as of late is the addition of kNgV- to the roster - could you take us through the process of securing him? The move had been in the pipeline for quite a while but only materialised recently.
Yes, we had been thinking about getting kNgV- for a long time already, but he had all the issues with visas and other things, which made it impossible. To finally have him on the team has been a blessing because I think he is a very strong player, he has a lot of experience. I have been playing with him for so many years, it has been more than ten years since we started playing each other at cybercafes and LAN tournaments in Brazil. We come from the same CS school, we can say that, and he is very motivated to achieve more, to really further his career. It feels like he's just starting, so it's some fresh blood. He's bringing a lot to the team, and he's very unique in his skills - he's a very good AWPer, and good with all the other weapons as well, so he has a lot of qualities.
There's some backstory in regards to why kNgV- was unable to join MIBR outside of visa issues, tied to past controversies with Immortals. How was this relationship mended and why did the organisation reconsider and subsequently agree to sign kNgV-?
I can't really judge what happened in the past because I wasn't part of it, but what I can say is that the MIBR brand and the people running it right now really support us, and they try to do everything they can to make us succeed in every aspect - in-game and outside. They knew that Vito was a very important piece for this puzzle we want to put together and that all the other options we wanted couldn't really become a reality.
They really wanted to make us happy by giving us the player we wanted and the player we needed, so it was very cool on their part to really go over things that were said in the past to really make this happen, you know? I can only see this in a good way, I think that doing more harm to Vito was not the answer, I think everyone deserves a second chance. It's a cool thing that MIBR is giving him a second chance as well.
In terms of the game, kNgV- is an explosive AWPer, a testament to which were his numerous outstanding performances on INTZ. How will he fit in MIBR, considering you're already the established main AWP of the squad?
I have been leading and AWPing for a long time, and in a lot of situations I felt that one thing was kind of going over the other one. There were times where I would be throwing nades, setting up plays and holding angles with the AWP at the same time. If I'm throwing that flashbang I can't really be holding this angle, and just small things like this, I felt that my game not as good as it could be as a result. To some extent I feel he is a very good AWPer and I think he is capable of doing the same things that I can do, so that gives me a lot of confidence to really put him in situations where I know he is going to be able to do the same things I would, sometimes even more. It's been a pleasure to play with him in that regard, so I'm trying to use the opportunity to really give him a lot of freedom, to give him a lot of space to be the best player he can be and do things he likes to do.
I'm trying to use this as an opportunity to pay attention to this other part of the game where I'm making sure my other players can play well and set them up for plays and being the supportive player every team needs. I'm trying to evolve myself into more of a support player; of course I'm not going to be giving up the AWP all the time; on the CT sides we will be able to double-AWP for example. I'm trying to make Vito the main player and the main AWPer of the team. He needs to get confidence and be the main factor of the team.
In terms of preparation for BLAST Pro Series, how much effective practice did you get?
It's only been one week, to be honest. We started after the Major ended, and it's been six or seven maps a day, going for some PUGs over the night, watching replays and talking stuff over. It's been a very intense week, and, of course, it's not really enough to build a juggernaut, as some like to say, but it's a start, and we're very happy to have him on the team, having him on-board. We can already feel the difference of having an experienced player back again.
Have the long-term goals of MIBR shifted with the arrival of kNgV-? Now that you have that key component do you feel the team has to live up to different expectations?
The goal has always been getting back to the top to some extent, and really trying to become the best team in the world again. Of course, sometimes it looked like we were a little bit far away from that goal, and everyone wants the same goal, in the end, every Counter-Strike team is looking for that. We had the chance to become the best team in the world in the past, we wanted it faster than others sometimes. Sometimes you don't know how to deal with it; in fact, we're not there yet, but we're it taking step-by-step with Vito now. We know that five days of practice might not create the juggernaut we want, but we know that getting better every day might be the way to really achieve it, so we are just looking to have fun during the process, put a lot of commitment in, put a lot of discipline and really become better players every game we can.