fer: "When individual decisions need to be made people are just too stressed and we are struggling"
We caught up with Fernando "fer" Alvarenga following MIBR's victory over Sharks at ECS Season 8 Finals and heard about the team's Inferno struggles, the Brazilian talent pool, and his team's dry spell.
MIBR bounced back from a day one defeat to fnatic and took down Sharks 2-0 to stay alive at ECS Season 8 Finals in Arlington, Texas. Up next for the squad is a rematch against the Swedes, with a playoff spot on the line.
In our interview with fer, the rifler discussed map control problems and hinted at people having different thoughts on how certain situations should be played, which causes issues. fer also touched on Sharks, praising their development with two Argentinian players, and talked about the big buyout issues organizations from his home country put on players.
Playing fnatic on Inferno in the opening game, you had a rough time as a team there. That is a map that seemingly all the teams play, it is kind of simple, and you guys have been struggling on it for quite a long time. Why do you think that is, what is the issue for you on the map?
I think it is not only Inferno, but in general, all maps that we play, when we have to be patient and then take decisions individually or call teammates for help, we are struggling. On the other side, when we go for a full strat, we all know what to do, it is more natural for everyone. On Inferno, our map control is not good right now, even though we have everything to do map control, we know how to do it, but sometimes we can't do it. We are working on Inferno and we know we are going to play fnatic again and they are probably going to pick it and we are prepared this time. I mean, we were prepared last time, but at the end of the day it was bad for us, so let's see how it goes this time.
Anyway, we are three months together and I think we should have more experience on those things. But I don't think it is just Inferno, on all maps we are struggling for map control. Of course, on some maps we are doing really good, for example on Overpass we were really good, but then we were not playing it for a month so we forgot things. I think we need to practice more and we have to do what we know we have to do. I think sometimes we are just forgetting stuff and that is basically it.
Why do you think you have these issues when things need to be a bit slower, because going back to the original success of this team, that is what made you good: mid rounds and small individual plays. When do you think that went away and why?
As you say, in the past, we were known for having patience, getting map control, pushing them back so we have a lot of map to work on. But nowadays, as you say, sometimes you have to take decisions individually, in your space of the map, and we are doing bad decisions in the end. Sometimes it is kind of frustrating for the team, because for example against fnatic we were doing four-person Banana control because our Banana control is bad as T and we want to get that map control because we want to finish on B. And then KRIMZ pushed window and killed me while I was trying to fake something on mid.
People think that what happened is bad because if you are alone on the other side of the map you should play safe, but if you do that and your teammates are going four B, the opponents on B will read that and communicate, so the A players will push for map control. So sometimes you have to play as if there are a lot of players with you and people don't understand that. It is frustrating because you are trying to do something and if you get killed people will say "oh now they have second mid and they will play three B"...
I think that in CS you have to play what you see in front of you. If you are going Banana and they want to fight you, you have to chose if you want to fight or you want to let them have Banana and retake later. I think that in our team people think differently, some want to fight, some want to let them take control and retake, but people have to be calm, patient, and wait for FalleN's call. Sometimes people want to do what they think is best but in a game that is based on teamwork, you have to work with your team. If you are an individual player it is not going to be good in the end. Of course you can go walking up Banana and if they let you, you will get Banana. But if they want to fight you will lose the fight and it will be bad for us. I think when individual decisions need to be made, people are just too stressed and we are struggling.
Moving to the Sharks game, you started off on Vertigo, what is your feeling about it right now? Do you think you have a good grasp of the metagame and how it should be played?
Before this update, I think we had a good Vertigo and we knew how we wanted to play as T and CT, we were comfortable playing the map. But after the update, we were in China so we didn't have time to practice. I mean, it was a small change, but at the end of the day they changed the ramp on A, they changed the site on A, these things we are not used to yet. As the T side, for us, it is kind of easy to play the map, but at the same time, we don't like the map. We are comfortable playing it, we know how to play it, but personally, I don't think it is a good map to play at a high level.
Talking about Sharks, they are a Brazilian team but recently they added two Argentinian players and that is something that didn't happen before, these two scenes combining. Do you think that this is a sign that the Brazilian talent pool is getting depleted, that there are not enough up-and-coming, new Brazilian players? What are your thoughts on the approach Sharks took?
For me, it is a mix of things. Sharks, I think they did great with both Argentinian guys, meyern is a really good player, really talented, Luken as well, he has sick aim and is a good player. But I think that in Brazil right now the problem is that everyone that goes to an organization, the organization puts a really high buyout on them. You play one tournament in your life, you go to an organization, and your buyout is $200,000. Who is going to pay for it? Sharks are a good organization but they would never spend $500,000 for a player that plays in Brazil and never played international tournaments. So I think you have to go for other options and I think Sharks did it because of the player buyouts in Brazil.
At the end of the day it is good for them, they got two really good players, Sharks is doing well, they almost beat Astralis on Nuke, their best map, so it shows that they are confident in playing their own map. It doesn't matter if it is Liquid, Astralis, EG, they want to play their best map and they are confident. Today they picked Vertigo on us, of course Vertigo is a really good map for us and we are comfortable playing it, so if they picked it against us it is because they are thinking about their game, not the opponents game. This is a good team, this is a thing good teams, high-level teams do. They don't think about their opponents, this is a good mentality and I like it. Talking about Sharks I just have to clap my hands because they are a really good team.
About a month ago FalleN took back the primary AWP, how does that affect the team and you particularly? Is it different playing now that FalleN is the main AWP again?
Yeah, I played with FalleN AWPing for years so I'm used to it. I know the plays FalleN likes to do so I know how to cover him and I know what he needs when he is doing his plays. So I'm really good adapting my playstyle to playing with FalleN. Playing with kNgV-, of course he is a really good AWPer but I've never played with him for a longer period so I don't know which plays he wants to do, what is comfortable for him, I kind of don't know how to help him.
I think FalleN's impact with the AWP is really really good, when FalleN gave kNgV- the AWP it was to have kNgV- in his comfort zone, have him play his playstyle, do what he was doing in INTZ. But at the end of the day we just saw that for the system we have in our team we needed the impact FalleN has. But I think we can mix FalleN and kNgV- with double AWP setups and I think it is good for the team as well. I still think both AWPers are good, but for the system and for me, because I played with him for a long time, I think FalleN is better.
Looking at winning, you guys have won a lot of championships, won Majors, but the last big event you won was two years ago, the ESL Pro League Finals in Denmark. How has that part been for you personally? Obviously you had ups and downs and you fought through that, but when you look at that period, it is a long dry spell. How do you feel about it right now?
I think the fact that we won a lot of titles, when you lose, it is much worse. When you are just trying to win tournaments and you lose, you are kind of used to losing. On the other hand, when you are used to winning and you lose it is really bad. I think that in those two years we tried a lot of things, we tried to go international, we played with Stewie, tarik, two American players, that was a new experience for us. I think we've tried our best with some new stuff, but the lack of tournament wins is bad for us.
However, I don't put that pressure on myself because I know I'm doing my best, I know our team is working hard. I mean, taking Astralis for an example, they didn't win a tournament for 13 months and then they started winning. I think we have to just stick together and work hard because our time will start soon. We are close to winning tournaments, we know how to go and win them, we just have to work hard to win. Of course this is bad, I want to win a tournament soon, but if it doesn't happen... It is not that I'm satisfied, but I'm happy with the progress in the team. I think that every team shouldn't look at the result, but at the progress. The progress is the main key to success.