It's been hard past couple of months for the former SK boys, now under MIBR's brand. Following their early exit from ESL One Cologne, we caught up with captain and leader Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo to discuss their transfer to the new organization, the reason behind their struggles, and their looking-for-coach situation.
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Last we spoke, you were still part of SK, and now you're MiBR. How does it feel to be part of the brand?
It's great. It's a new start for us, we still have a lot to do in terms of achieving the things we want, we want to go back to the top. It's a great feeling to be part of MiBR, this tag has represented so much for the Brazillian community for so long.
What would you point out as the cardinal differences between SK and MiBR?
From our perspective as players, the main differences are going to be the fact that now we're going to be a bit closer to our organization. SK have always been German-based so we're a bit far from each other, and now we can be a bit more centralized.
The second difference is that we're going to be playing in an office instead of from a gaming house. We're still setting up the last details. Besides that, there are not many more differences. Organization-wise, [SK and MiBR] can be set up differently, of course, but for us players, those are the main differences.
In an interview, Noah said that MiBR will have a lot more interaction with the Brazilian crowd. Are you looking forward to this?
The people behind MiBR and Immortals have big plans. They are exploring the market and a lot of things are being done at the same time. So it makes a lot of sense for them to contribute to diverse areas regarding CS:GO and other esports in the area. I am looking forward to that, I think it will be very important for our scene and it will help us develop even more talent in Brazil, grow the esports as a whole in the country.
Jun. 23 was a monumental day, that's when it was all revealed. Tell me about the day, I saw zews being there... everyone.
It was pretty cool, we had the chance to even meet some of the old MiBR players, some of whom I've been watching personally for so many years. It was a great atmosphere, a lot of fans came up to check the news, even though they kind of knew what was going on. [laughs] The crowd was packed, a lot of people came. It was inspiring, I love such things a lot, being close to the fans, to those who like us and cheer for us all the time.
There are a lot of reasons why we're not succeeding, it's hard to point one out.
Let's talk about more game-related stuff. Stewie2k has been with you guys for a while, how has it been going?
There's been an improvement. A little bit slow, baby steps every time we play, every tournament we go to. The tournament here was a little bit disappointing since we wanted to go to the playoffs and play in LANXESS again after winning it twice in a row. But it is how it is, we lost to BIG, which was very challenging. We lost to FaZe Clan, as well, which is also a difficult match-up, and both those teams did super well in the tournament. BIG are even playing the grand final now and might win the tournament. [BIG ended up losing the final 1-3 to Natus Vincere G2A — Ed.]
There were some rumours circulating about you guys looking for a coach. Did you explore this? Is this something you're actively seeking?
We might be able to find a new coach. Ricardo [dead] has always been our coach, but his tasks are way more related to managing the team than actually being an in-game coach. This task [in-game coach] has been divided between all the players and Ricardo but we might be able to get a new coach. We're now exploring the options.
Previously, way back when you were LG, you had Zews as a coach. Tell me about the interaction you had back then. How did Zews help you?
The best thing about Zews is he'd go on the server and would try to find some tricky stuff to help us get a kill here and there, find a new smoke that can set up a new strategy. He always came up with something interesting with which we could surprise our opponents. He was also an ex-player, he used to play CS on a high level, so he knew the way the team could play and the strategies we could do. Those were his main tasks and he did them pretty well, in my opinion.
In a hypothetical situation where you have a list of all coaches who are currently within the game, who do you think would fit MiBR best and help you get back to your old form, back when you were winning back-to-back Majors, for example?
To be honest, I don't know why people blame the lack of results from the team on [not having] a coach. If that was true, we wouldn't be that successful the last two years and not be the best team in the world for two years in a row. If that was true, Astralis would not come back to be the best team in the world after staying with zonic for so long, who was also their coach when they were not winning.
I don't think the lack of success is 100 percent related to lacking a coach. Of course, there's a partial truth in that, but what we're looking for in a coach is someone who has a deep knowledge of the game, not only to teach us a different way of playing but to really understand all the possibilities we have within the team, all the strategies we can use, someone who in-game can come up with a good idea when things are hard. It also needs to be someone who we can have a good relationship with outside the game.
You mentioned baby steps in regards to your improvement. Has there been any practical stuff that you've been doing? Are you talking to Stewie, for example, on increasing efficiency of communication or is it just a natural process, you letting things just happen?
We're letting it happen naturally. Of course, we always try to set up the things we all want to play based on our skillset. It's just that when it matters, when it comes down to a match, sometimes we're a bit unlucky, sometimes we chose wrong things, sometimes the players don't really do what we planned and then it looks like we're silly. There are a lot of reasons why we're not succeeding, it's hard to point one out. I really can't blame only one player, to be honest. We just need to step up as a team and try to get better.
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MiBR might be struggling right now, but there's plenty of time till September — the month that really counts in this year's Counter-Strike. London will host the second Major of the year and you can never count FalleN and co. out, especially when a third Major trophy is on the line.
More ESL One Cologne interviews
— s1mple: "Against [Astralis], we should have played a lot looser, more boldly securing territory across the map."
— zonic: "To have a team below us steal one of our players — that kind of triggered something in us."
— dennis: "We can't get worse. So it's only gonna be better."
— SmithZz: "We should have won Cache [vs. BIG]"
— LEGIJA: "It’s [Smooya's] first event and we made top 2. What else can we say? What else do we want?"
— Thorin: "The Zeus structure looked like a joke earlier this year [...]"