Ricardo "boltz" Prass has been part of the CS:GO limelight in recent times, more so following the stellar performance as stand in for SK Gaming at EPICENTER 2017. The Immortals representative was a contributing factor to the acquisition of $250,000. To those following the scene for a while this comes as no shock, however younger fans may be unaware of the rich backstory of this Brazilian pro.
Prass, 20, has been at both the very bottom and top of CS:GO. The young's man journey took him from being cut from promising Brazilian roster Luminosity Gaming in 2015 due to his lazy and complacent characteristics — as described by his former teammates, coach and in-game leader, Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo — to leading his own roster in Immortals in a grand final match against Gambit Esports at the PGL Major Krakow 2017.
"Back in the days, boltz wasn't very worried about it, and even with some of us telling him "Hey boltz, you gotta fix this thing", he wasn't really focused on fixing issues, and he became someone who didn’t evolve," remembers Toledo.
Prass, 20, has been at both the very bottom and top of CS:GO.
Less that two years passed between these outlying points in Prass' career, painting a lucid contrast between the two mind-sets. Maturation became Prass' defining quality during that period, producing an incredibly gifted player, capable of fulfilling most roles on the table.
The earliest of memorable rosters Prass performed on was Luminosity Gaming, playing alongside some of the most talented Brazilian players known to the scene. Despite the guidance of coach Wilton "zews" Prado and fellow teammates, Prass' teenage mind remained unfledged and lacking focus. He spent four months on the roster, mainly playing as a B site anchor and entry-fragger, before being cut alongside Lucas "Steel" Lopes.
Where farewell messages are for the most part all kind and well-wishing, Prass' former teammates did not hold back. He had stalled and become complacent, a mind-set unfit for a team of five looking to take over the world of competitive CS:GO. These issues translated into his play as well, resulting in consistently underwhelming performances. Devastated and only 18-years-old, Prass had to walk away from what at the time seemed to be an opportunity of a lifetime.
When you play in a young and developing scene such as Brazil's, oustings such as these can be crushing for aspiring players. But in this Prass saw a lesson to be learned and an opportunity to grow. When SK Gaming approached him just two years later to stand-in for João "felps" Vasconcellos at EPICENTER, a different Prass stood in front of the very same captain that kicked up from Luminosity Gaming.
"He even told us before he had any chance of joining the team, 'I realise how stupid I was in the past, being lazy and how I lost an opportunity in my life, but I really learned from it'", Toledo told Cybersport. "He is showing that now and he is a very different person from boltz in the past."
Despite the trials and tribulations of a shattered dream, Prass chose to persevere. He banded together with four fellow Brazilians, to create what was initially known as Games Academy — a team subsequently signed by Tempo Storm. Following his theme of personal metamorphosis, Prass stepped in the IGL role and with the guidance of Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu the team slowly gained traction on the international scene, and secured top placements at tier 2 events. Parallel to his in-game leading, Prass played more of a support role on the team, facilitating the explosive talent that was present in Henrique "HEN1" Teles, Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles and João "felps" Vasconcellos.
Despite the trials and tribulations of a shattered dream, Prass chose to persevere.
It's not to say that Tempo Storm grew to be a formidable team overnight. Initially, the roles were ill-defined and still in the process of setting, but as time went by the individual players began to wear their shoes with more and more comfort. Prass' calling coupled with Tadeu's wisdom showcased just how powerful this roster could be if given the right platform and support. A minor setback was the emotional factor of the Brazilians possessed, but this worked both for and against them. Getting fired up meant a strong, confident performance. A poor showing, on the other hand, meant closing up and tilting.
Prior to standing in for SK Gaming at EPICENTER 2017, Prass IGL'ed for Immortals, a team which until recently had an established roster brimming with immense firepower and raw aim ability. Directing the Immortals show was no mean feat, particularly when one takes into account Prass' relative recency to the IGL role.
Continuing his performance as more of a support player, Prass once again enabled his star players to perform and do what they do best — frag. Immortals' climbing performance continued even after the coaching restrictions implemented by Valve in August 2016, providing further proof of Prass' IGL competency.
The Immortals shotcaller was now leading a team in a world with long-time legends such as Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko and Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo in the forefront, individuals that are fountains of CS knowledge with over a decade of experience playing at the highest competitive level — and winning. Just four years after he kick-started his career in 2013, Prass had achieved heights many up-and-coming players only dream of, the second place at PGL Major the perfect example.
"If you take a look at boltz's game lately with the ex-Immortals line-up and how he has been progressing, he is one of the best players in the world right now," Toledo says. "He was doing an insane job while calling for Immortals as well, so he stepped up in a big way and his mentality changed a lot as well."
The Immortals shotcaller was now leading a team in a world with long-time legends such as Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko and Toledo in the forefront — and winning.
In the SK Roster, Prass took over the B site anchor role from Epitácio "TACO" de Melo in yet another adjustment of his career. His main function during EPICENTER was to create space for individuals like TACO and Fernando "fer" Alvarenga. For TACO, this meant more opportunities to explore new horizons. And for fer, it opened up the much needed wriggle room to allow for his token hyper-aggressive playstyle.
It felt like the Luminosity Gaming roster of the past was reunited, except for the fact that Prass was significantly more rounded, working with a much larger toolset and experience pool. The aforementioned synergy combined with the individual skill ceilings of the five members of the team produced an EPICENTER victory that will be remembered throughout times to come.
The past four years have been a rocky road for Prass. From shattered dreams to leading his own roster to a Major grand final, the young man has persevered through it all, demonstrating a level of maturity and a mind-set associated with the finest in the scene. If he indeed ends up joining SK Gaming in the near future, he will be able to better utilise the help available to him, likely blooming into one of the finest roleplayers the CS:GO scene has to offer.