arT: "honda will be kind of an arT 2.0"
The 24-year-old discusses the roster changes during the winter break and his goals for 2021.
It’s just the fourth day of practice that FURIA have had with their recently-added sixth player, Lucas "honda" Cano. The 20-year-old prospect, who became last week the fourth player in the organisation's history to be promoted from the academy squad, will face a baptism of fire against G2 in the first round of the BLAST Premier Global Final, at 19:30 .
The Brazilians didn’t have a great time in Europe in late 2020, when they attended three events and the furthest they went was the semi-finals, in DreamHack Masters Winter. Facing G2 could be a scary prospect for any player, let alone someone as inexperienced as honda, but Andrei "arT" Piovezan stresses that the team will not put undue pressure on the youngster.
"Honestly, I’m a very confident person, and I think honda will be able to perform well," the FURIA captain says. “We keep telling him that there’s no need to feel pressure because we don’t depend on him to win a tournament or a match. If he contributes, obviously it’ll be impactful, but we are playing as a team.
"I can say for sure that honda will be kind of an 'arT 2.0', he’s going to be the kid who’ll help the team by entering bombsites first and being very aggressive. It’s the way he plays, so we can’t use him much differently. In my opinion, he joined the team to share this responsibility to be aggressive with the AWP. When you have guys who can trade, like yuurih and KSCERATO, there’s no need to change that."
honda will be playing for the team instead of Paytyn "junior" Johnson, the North American AWPer signed to replace Henrique "HEN1" Teles, who wants to reunite with his twin brother Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles in a new project that also includes the other four players who represented MIBR in late 2020. Once the former Triumph player joins up with the rest of the team, the players will have no choice but to communicate in English.
"First of all, I think Junior is a very good player, the team noticed that when we played against Triumph, and we wanted someone new but with some experience,” arT says. "The idea to start speaking English came from FURIA. guerri and I embraced it, and the idea is to become an international lineup. The team won’t be necessarily international, but it’s beneficial for us, both personally and in-game, because it opens an array of options. We’ll get to learn how to speak English fluently, which opens doors in every aspect of life, not only in esports."
FURIA's Brazilian players will be taking English lessons to improve their grasp of the language, but arT assured that he’s already capable of making calls in English. He noted that everyone in the team understands the strategies and that there’s no need to micromanage people during the freeze time, for example. Still, they'll have to assure that junior will be settled in the squad and that the cultural differences will not create a barrier between the players.
“We will have to make Junior feel as comfortable as possible, learn his culture and try to include him in ours, because he’ll be away from his family for the first time and will be alone, so to speak," he says. "We, Brazilians, are of course away from our parents and friends, but we have become a family.”
FURIA peaked at No.3 in the world rankings in October after winning DreamHack Open Summer, ESL Pro League Season 12, and IEM New York in a span of two months, but they were brought back to Earth once they landed in Europe. The first thing arT wants now is for his team to stabilise in the top 10.
"Preferably, I want to win a big tournament in LAN, this is the biggest goal I have for this year," he says. "And, if everything goes well, I want us to become the best team in the world. These are my goals for 2021, I know the last one is more ambitious, but if I reach one of these goals I’ll be happy, in general."
The BLAST Premier Global Final will not only mark honda's debut, but it will also be the last tournament in which the team will play without Nicholas "guerri" Nogueira's support. The Brazilian coach has only nine days left on his four-month ban for using the spectator bug in March 2019.