fer: "It's a new year and everyone is hungry to win"
MIBR are out to make amends after starting 2020 with a disappointing loss to Cloud9 in the grand final of the North American closed qualifier for IEM Katowice. BLAST Premier Spring will be the first real test on LAN for the Brazilian team since picking up meyern, who was recruited from Sharks just days before cs_summit 5.
Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo's troops will be hoping to set the record straight against Liquid on Friday after failing to beat the North Americans on LAN in 2019. The last time the two teams faced each other was at BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles, where MIBR fielded coach Wilton "zews" Prado as a stand-in following Marcelo "coldzera" David's benching.
In this detailed interview, fer discusses the decision to part ways with Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles and bring in meyern, the setback against Cloud9, the team's progress in recent weeks and the upcoming clash against Liquid.
Last month, the team replaced LUCAS1 with meyern. What was the reason behind the roster change and what did you feel wasn't working out with LUCAS1?
Lucas is a pretty good player, but the way he thinks about the game is kind of different from the way we think. We had people thinking "A" and people thinking "B" about the game, different mentalities. I think we had good results with Lucas considering the time he spent on the team, like a few months. In the end, it was not working out because people thought differently about the game.
We then decided to replace him and looked at our options. We watched meyern's demos and his playstyle, and later approached him. We thought he was a pretty good player, with a lot of potential, so we decided to bring him into the team. He is a really young player with a lot of talent, and I think the decision to add him was a bet on his future development. We had the option of bringing in an experienced player that we had played with in the past, but we opted to sign a new player and see what happens in the future, like we did with coldzera. He was a really good player as well, really talented, but he hadn't proved himself at the time. We tried him out and it turned out really well for us. This time it's meyern, so let's see if he's going to be good for the team. I think he's been pretty good so far. We are working out our communication because he speaks Spanish; it's similar to Portuguese, but not the same, so sometimes we have some problems with that, but we are trying hard to fix this problem, and I think we are doing well with him.
As with all roster changes, initially, there is a period where roles need to be adjusted to accommodate the new player, something you went through with Lucas. Could you give us an idea of how that process has been like with meyern?
Every time you put a new player in your team, you have to adapt some positions and sometimes you have to change your roles and positions on maps, and I think this is a normal thing. With Lucas it was really easy when he joined, even though he wasn't used to the new positions, he adapted to them really fast. meyern and Lucas play similar positions, so when we had the roster change, I think it was easy for meyern as well because he was playing A on Mirage and playing on open bombsites, so the adjustment was kind of easy. meyern is playing different roles sometimes, like FalleN, kNgV- and I are; everyone is giving up some positions so that we all get comfortable on the maps.
When you have a change and you have only played for a few months or a few weeks, you have to play in different positions, but I think everyone on our team is comfortable right now. We had kNgV- change his role a lot, so he's playing as a lurker now. Not full-time, but he is the lurker on our team right now. I think everyone has adjusted really well, and of course, we need more time to get experience in all these roles and new positions. I think meyern is an open-minded guy, so every time we ask him to try something new, he tries to search for new things in his positions. I think he's adjusting well to the team and has really fit in.
Touching slightly on a recent result, the team was unable to qualify for IEM Katowice 2020 via the North American qualifier as you were unable to beat Cloud9 in the best-of-five grand final. What were some of the issues you ran into against them?
For this specific qualifier, I think because it was held at the beginning of the year and we had just got back from vacation, we didn't have time to practice. We had played with meyern for three days during cs_summit 5, which was the first time that we played with him. We didn't have a lot of time to practice, and when we arrived in the US, we had to play the tournament. We weren't used to playing because we had just got back from the holidays and our vacations. We weren't playing well at the time, but I don't think it's a good excuse because all of the players had been on vacation. Cloud9 played well at the tournament, and I think we had a good overall result as well, but of course we expected to qualify and unfortunately, we couldn't. It's sad for us because Katowice is one of the best tournaments to play and we wish we could go there and play the tournament. Cloud9 played well, props to them.
In an interview at the ECS Season 8 Finals, you mentioned that the team was quite stressed and struggled when it came to individual decision-making. With all of the adjustments that have been taking place, do you feel this has improved since then?
When I said that people were shaky when it came to making individual decisions, like holds for example, it was because we changed the team a lot of times. When a player joins a new team, he has to adapt his style and that takes time, you know? Like Lucas, for example. He is an aggressive and reactive player, so when things happen on his side, he likes to react really fast, and our style is kind of slow. For us, it's better to think about the situation and figure out what the best solution is, and sometimes when you react really fast it can be really bad for the team. During that time, some people wanted to react really fast and some of us wanted to react slowly and think more about the situation – that was the problem at the time. People were reacting fast, while others were just waiting for the situation, so it was like, 'Dude, why are you going so fast? We were not ready to react like you were.'
That was the problem we had, but I think, with time, people will understand the team style and will think more about situations as a unit, instead of doing it individually. Our team likes to wait for the call and wait for the best solution, not just react and go. I don't think it's a 'problem', I just think it's a different way to think the game. When people have just joined the team, they will think about how they want to play the game, not how the team wants to play the game because they are not used to the team. I think we're getting on the same page right now and I think the situations are playing out the way the team wants them to.
In meyern's situation, the open-mindedness you mentioned must play a huge role in allowing him to better adapt to the team...
Yes, of course. As I said, when you think that the team is above the individual, it's way better. Sometimes you might see a gap and your team is not ready to use it. If you go for it, it could turn out well because you can be sneaky and kill two people, but sometimes your team might end up failing because they weren't ready for your play. You can screw your team because of that, but I think meyern and the rest try to think about the situations. Sometimes we have fast reactions as a team, so when you see a situation where you can react really fast and when everyone is on the same page, you react as a team, but the problem is when people don't think the same way. meyern is really open-minded and he tries to fit into how the team wants to play, so I think it makes it easier, yeah.
Here at BLAST Premier Spring, your opening series is against Liquid, a team you have a poor track record against. How are you approaching the match-up?
We had a bootcamp in Poland and practiced for almost three weeks. Of course, we're not ready to win all the tournaments, but I think we are ready to play against the best teams. It's going to be hard because Liquid is a really good team, they're one of the best in the world, but I don't think we have to think about them, we have to think about ourselves and do what is best for us. If we start thinking about the opponents we'll face, of course, they are really good teams, but if we play our game, I think we are ready to beat them.
It will be hard, and as you said, we've been shaky against Liquid in the past and we have a lot of losses against them, but it's a new year and everyone is hungry to win. Everyone is working really hard in our team, and I think that if we play our game we have a chance to beat them. Let's see.