SHOOWTiME on fer: "He has a completely different vision of the game"
The 24-year-old praised his new teammate's impact and gave his take on Imperial's chances heading into IEM Summer.
Imperial have been working around the clock since arriving in Serbia, the destination of choice during this pandemic for Counter-Strike teams from the Americas wishing to practice and compete in Europe. There is much work to do to get all the basics down before IEM Summer and the best-of-one clash against world No.3 Heroic.
The $250,000 tournament comes less than a month after the Brazilian team failed to qualify for cs_summit 8, the North American Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament. But it's not like Imperial feel that there are many lessons to take from that, given how tumultuous their time in Mexico was. After all, they had to play the qualifiers without their in-game leader and AWPer Caio "zqkS" Fonseca, who was denied entry into the country, and had to recall Guilherme "piriaz1n" Barbosa, who had been temporarily placed on the bench while the organisation and Valve investigated a potential VAC-banned account owned by the player.
With zqkS back in the fold, Imperial hope to give a better account of themselves in IEM Summer, their first tournament since bringing in Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu as their coach. Gustavo "SHOOWTiME" Gonçalves praised the veteran coach's contribution so far, but he admitted that there is still plenty of work to do and a lot of room for improvement. "We are just going through the basics, step by step, because the lineup is very recent," he told HLTV.org.
The 24-year-old hailed the impact of Fernando "fer" Alvarenga, who has been playing for the team as a stand-in, adding that he still doesn't know if the two-time Major champion will stick around beyond IEM Summer. When asked about his expectations for the team's opening clash in the ESL tournament, SHOOWTiME said: "Since it's a BO1, I do believe we can surprise Heroic."
I wanted to start off by asking you about your tweet on the intensity of a bootcamp in Europe. How is the bootcamp going and how would you compare it with your previous trips to the region?
It's been a little bit different because of the fact that it's a newer lineup. We are just going through the basics, step by step, because the lineup is very recent, so we have to go map by map and take it slowly, which is different from what we did in the previous bootcamps that I had here because the team had been around for a while, so we were just focused on improving stuff rather than doing everything from scratch. I wrote that on Twitter because the level in Brazil and the level here in Europe are worlds apart. It's not just that teams here are better, but it's also that the level of seriousness in terms of scheduling, in terms of how teams approach CS and how they practice, is ridiculously higher here.
You went through a lot of issues before and during your stay in Mexico, with zqk being deported and piriaz1n removed from the team for a while due to his alleged ties to a VAC-banned account. Do you think that this instability played a role in your results there?
For sure it did because our plan was to play with our regular lineup, with piria and zqk, and a few days before we were due to travel to Mexico we learned about this account that supposedly belonged to piria. Even though he said that it wasn't his, he would have to prove that to Valve, which takes time. We didn't know how long that would take, so that's why we asked fer to help us out. But an even bigger problem was zqk, who was deported when he arrived in Mexico. That really caught us off-guard because he is a very important part of the team. Besides being our captain, he is also our main AWPer, so his absence was missed. We had to improvise in the tournament, and given the conditions, I think we did well. We also had problems with the delivery of our computers. We had to go to Mexico City in a hurry for the first qualifier because the delivery of our computers was delayed. For the second qualifier, GODSENT allowed us to use their gaming house. It was very hard because of zqk's absence.
How did you use your time in North America? Did you have any time to practice?
We used the time we had as best as we could. If I'm not wrong, we had a week to prepare for the qualifier. We gave our best and we improvised a lot. Given the conditions, we did what we could, there was nothing else that we could have done. We had some good games against Triumph, I believe that if we were playing with our regular line-up, at least with zqk as captain... I had to be the AWPer and the captain in his absence, and it was all last minute, so I believe that if zqk was on the team we would have beaten Triumph and reached the closed qualifier at least.
fer has been on the team for a few weeks now. What has it been like to play with such a storied player like him, and what sort of impact does he have on the younger players of the team?
He has a completely different vision of the game, much broader than that of everyone else here. zqk and I are also very experienced, but he is even much more experienced, he has a much different vision and he's trying to make sure that we're more versatile, that we do things in a more simplistic manner and that we take it one step at a time and don't skip any steps. I believe that if he wasn't here, we would be playing a bit of an older style, a more Brazilian style, so to speak, and we would have more difficulties here.
When announcing fer, Imperial said that he would play at least through IEM Summer. Have you talked about what will happen after this event?
We haven't discussed that yet, we truly don't know what will happen not just in regards to that, because we also have zqk's problem. That's not our focus now, we want to wait until this tournament is over to make some decisions because we want nothing to influence our performances in the tournament. We are putting those things to the side for now, we are focused on getting as much practice in as we can to enter the tournament in the best possible shape since we'll be facing Heroic first.
After the RMR tournament, you brought peacemaker in as your new coach to fill a void in the team. Can you speak about your first days with him?
In fact, we always had adr [AlaNDieg0R] with us, he was helping us a lot, and they're now splitting tasks. There is a lot of work involved, I'm paying attention to what they're doing and they're waking up really early every day to help us, to bring in new stuff, especially during this stage where everything is still new. It's very important to bring in things that that the team can take in, especially new things, so they're splitting tasks. Because peacemaker is more experienced than adr, he has more things that we can take in, but adr is learning a lot from peacemaker and is also trying to bring his own things.
You had already worked with peacemaker in the past. Do you see any differences in him?
In my opinion, the only difference that I see is that he's more experienced now. Back in Tempo Storm, he was always a very tactical coach and very strict with our schedule and stuff like that, and he hasn't changed in that regard. It's one of his strengths, I believe that a coach needs to be like that, to get on players' nerves, and he's always been like that. There are some things that may be a bit complicated for us and he'll simplify them, just like fer does. He's still the same hard-working guy, and he brings a lot to the table from a strategic point of view.
You are about to face Heroic, the second-ranked team in the world, in IEM Summer. What are your expectations for this event and this particular match-up?
We will try to surprise, we know it will be very hard, especially because our first game will be against Heroic, who are in the top 3 in the world for a reason. They have been making the semi-finals of every event, and sometimes they even reach the final or win the tournament. We know it will be very hard, but I think that this match being a BO1 will make things a bit easier for us, especially because our lineup has had some changes and our map pool is not that wide. We are working on expanding our map pool but we haven't had much time to do that. Since it's a BO1, I do believe we can surprise Heroic. Then we'll see who we have to face next, depending on whether we win or lose.
What is your take on the current situation of the Brazilian scene?
I believe that Brazil has a number of good teams and is being well represented abroad. We have O PLANO, GODSENT, also FURIA, who are the best Brazilian team at the moment. There's also paiN and MIBR. There are several teams that have the potential to surprise people, but I don't see them beating the best teams in the world, like Heroic, Gambit or NAVI, at the moment, but I believe they have the potential to surprise those teams in a not so distant future, especially when LANs return. I believe that when we get LAN events back, those teams will improve even more because they all have experienced players.