steel: "Casemiro is very close to us, [...] he makes us feel like home even if we're in Europe"
The Brazilian in-game leader is happy to be surrounded by his countrymen once again after playing with Movistar Riders for two years.
Case topped the first Americas RMR open qualifier to become a top seed at the Major qualifying event, but have since failed to go through as one of the top teams in Bucharest. Now holding a 2-2 record, the Brazilians will face their paiN countrymen to keep the Major dream alive another day ahead of the 6-8th place decider bracket.
Lucas "steel" Lopes took a moment to chat with HLTV after he and his teammates eliminated Isurus from the running on Wednesday evening, beating the Brazilian-Argentinian team 2-0 on Mirage and Overpass.
In the interview, steel went over the team's creation at the beginning of the year, what they have been up to since then, and where they're headed, while also giving some personal insight into being back with a Brazilian lineup in an organization that despite being based in Madrid, Spain, has a strong Brazilian element in Real Madrid's Casemiro, the organization's founder and CEO.
Your team, Case, came together in January. Tell me a bit about the team forming and what you've been up to until now.
We live in Europe, our organization is Spanish and we live in Spain, but we went to Brazil to play the RMR qualifier because it's a regional thing and then we returned here.
How have these first few months been going since bringing the team together?
It has actually been great because I was playing with Europeans for two years, so playing with Brazilians again was something that made me very happy. I got a lot of good experience playing in Europe with European players, but it's good to be home again. You know what I mean?
We've been practicing a lot, but we haven't played many officials because we're not in any league and we've just played some tournaments that begin and end super fast. After that we went to Brazil, so we didn't play that many tournaments yet and we're not on the radar yet.
In Brazil you won an Aorus cup and were first at the RMR qualifier, so it seems like you were doing pretty well there. Do you think living and practicing in Europe helped you get those results?
Yeah, 100%. Playing and practicing here helps so much. This is the best place to practice so we had some kind of advantage when we went back for the RMR. We were a lot more prepared than we would have been if we only played in Brazil. But the level in South America is growing super fast right now, so it was still super hard when we went back. Of course Europeans have more teams that are good, but the South Americans are getting there as well.
I know yepz was in the previous Case lineup and you were already in Europe, but how was the adaptation for guys like RCF and f4stzin?
It's been good, they sound super happy because for to come here and play internationally, it's the goal for every Brazilian. They're super happy, and we're super happy that we found them because they were players that had a bit of experience playing in North America, so they played with and against good teams.
It was kind of lucky on our side and everything came together. It took a while because we were supposed to start last August and we didn't get going until January, but so far everything has been great. We're a new team and we're kind of in a honeymoon and it's lasting very long, so it's good.
Case is 2-2 now and still in the running at the RMR. You had some tough moments but you're still fighting for a spot at the Major. How has it gone
We had a pretty good opening match against Bad News Bears, we played super good, after that we played Imperial and they were just the better team. The experience counted a lot, I believe, because it felt during the game that the experience was really in their favor and they played super good because of that. And also just because they're super good.
We played Party Astronauts on the second day and were super prepared for them, but they played a lot better than we expected, to be honest. They kind of caught us off guard. Then we played Isurus, a team we've played before and always had good results against.
Now you're facing paiN, is it a team you know at all?
I think it's going to be a hard match, they're one of the best Brazilian teams, they're a very experienced team these days, so it's going to be tough. We never practiced against each other, but we can't choose our opponents, we're 2-2 now and whoever comes we'll do our best. It may not be the hardest one, but since it's a best-of-three it's going to be a nervous match, I believe. Now it's life or death and we're going to give everything.
And it seems some of these Brazilian match-ups can get pretty heated, right?
Yeah, there's a rivalry. Individually we don't have any rivalry with them, but when the game begins against Brazilians the rivalry is created. Even if you've never talked to the other team, when the game starts it feels like you kind of hate each other. Only inside the server, of course, when the game is over it doesn't matter.
Before traveling here, what did you expect? Did you think you'd be a bit better off, worse, or kind of exactly where you're at?
To be quite honest, we believed we'd be on the top, so we're facing reality because we had very good results in Brazil, but coming here now the level is a bit better than we faced there. Before that we didn't play that many tournaments, what we had were the results in Brazil, so we had to wake up to reality a bit. But that's good, I see the positive side.
Being 2-2 as a brand new team, in our first LAN, we're going to get to play more series and better teams, so on the bright side it's good for us to create more, to build more experience, and in the end it's good. Of course I wanted to be 3-0 and qualify, but being positive, this could be even better.
You're playing for Case, an organization tied to Real Madrid's midfielder Casemiro. What is it like to play for an organization headed by such a big Brazilian figure?
It feels good because the last time I played with an organization that had Brazilians running it was maybe like 2014 or 2015. Case itself is a Spanish organization, but Casemiro is very close to us, we're always dining with him during the week, every time he has a day off he calls us to go over to his place and he makes us feel like home even if we're in Europe.
We feel like home in his organization, he's super cool and even though it's a Spanish organization it feels Brazilian, so it feels good to be playing in Europe with an organization that feels like that.
Are you staying in Europe after the qualifier or are you going back to Brazil to play anything there?
We're going back to Madrid to our gaming office regardless of if we qualify for the Major or not, and we'll stay there. We live there and will be playing tournaments in Europe. I'm not sure what's next, but we're based here so any tournament that comes up we'll play like any other European team. The only difference is that we're five Brazilians, but we play and live here.