Having lost the opening match of the tournament to Renegades, MIBR had to make a run through the lower bracket of Group A, where they defeated their compatriots Imperial as well as North to clinch a top-eight placing and secure a playoffs appearance in Turkey.
In our interview with the veteran in-game leader, FalleN spoke about things like Vito “kNgV-“ Giuseppe‘s progress and the adaptations the team has had to make upon his addition, MIBR‘s recovery on Inferno, the team’s run at StarSeries so far, and Lucas “LUCAS1” Teles‘s status in the organization.
First of all, I wanted to talk about the beginnings with kNg, with BLAST Pro Series Moscow and V4 Future Sports Festival happening shortly after the signing. There were some promising results at BLAST, not so much in Budapest, can you tell me about that and what the progress has been since then?
I think we have been making good progress. Every practice we play, every tournament we participate in is giving us some lessons and people are improving individually as well as a group. We have been trying different approaches in how much we want to look into opponents, how much we want to prepare for the game we are about to play and all those things, so making different attempts to see what fits best for us. There has been an evolution with kNg every day. We have been working very hard, I think it’s one of the teams that has been working the hardest in the last months from the last teams we had been playing with.
There is a lot of difference between my and kNg’s playstyle, so we’re trying to mix both knowledges so we can have a little bit of a supportive role in him, as well.
What about kNg himself? He had a bit of a quiet start at those two tournaments, but he has seemingly improved, what has his evolution been like?
It was very hard for kNg to join the team because we kind of had the same role, so we needed some adaptation. I’m trying to learn a lot of stuff because being a rifler requires some knowledge and some skill that sometimes I don’t even have yet, and maybe I never will, the aim of other players, but I’m trying to do my best supporting and making the smart plays. He’s finding himself a little bit more and more and getting comfortable with it. I think it was kind of hard for him, as well, because he replaced me and there was a lot of pressure from the community on him, but inside the team, everything is fine, we have been supporting him as much as we can and we have a lot of trust in his abilities.
He’s a guy that doesn’t choke, he really has the personality to be carrying a team and to be the forward guy for a team, so I really like it. We’re trying to make him be the best version of himself, there is some stuff I would like him to learn, as well; when I was AWPing for the team, I was always kind of a supporter, too, setting up strategies, end rounds, making sure I was throwing the right flashes and covering my teammates and all those things. There is a lot of difference in that regard between my and his playstyle, so we’re trying to mix both knowledges so we can have a little bit of a supportive role in him, as well.
You haven’t really been taken that much away from the AWP, but obviously had to take a step back to accommodate him, how has it been for you to do that?
Of course, there are a lot of pick plays you can go for based on spawns and based on how things are going to go for the match. Sometimes he’s going to drop it to me to go for those plays, but mainly he’s the guy I’m looking for, in 80% of the match when we only have one AWP on the T side, for example, it’s going to be him, for sure.
On CT sides, of course it’s a little bit different because there are some positions I’m playing where the AWP is a little bit more effective. For example, on Overpass that we just played, I think the AWP is more effective on the A site than as a rotator, so of course he will take it every time. But it depends on the flow, as well, there was a round in this Overpass game where he told me to AWP and then I played A site, which I’m used to, and he played the rotator role. Sometimes we’re just going off feeling, going off what the team needs more, so the team was needing a lot of nades on B and I didn’t have them, so we just switched it out so that I could have an AWP on A, so it really depends, but most of the time it’s going to be on him and on CT sides we’re trying to have both of us at the same time because it’s quite strong.
It felt bad to lose to FURIA, but, at the same time, we got the spot to go through the qualification process, so that was what mattered, in the end.
There have been a lot of talks about who the top Brazilian team is after FURIA’s rise about half a year ago and you guys lost to them in your first encounter at ESL Pro League, how did that feel?
It felt bad because it was a very close game, 14-14 clutch on the third map and then the map goes away to them, but you can’t take anything away. They’re a very good team and they have a very specific approach to the game, every time they go into a match they have those strategies, they’re going to run in, you kind of know what’s coming but it’s hard to stop. But just as we need to learn a lot of stuff to become a better team and face the top teams in the rankings, I think FURIA needs to adapt and learn other styles, as well, because they can’t really surprise everyone in every single game with different strategies. It felt bad to lose to them, but, at the same time, we got the spot to go through the qualification process, so that was what mattered, in the end.
Inferno had been a rough map for you, but lately, it seems to have improved…
Our best map.
You won the last three if I’m not mistaken…
I think five! Five now, yeah. We’re not stopping. Astralis we’re coming for you. (laughs)
To be honest, it’s either playing Inferno or playing Nuke at this stage. And we don’t feel like playing Nuke at all, so we had to work on our Inferno.
Why have you stuck with it considering the poor record you had on it?
To be honest, it’s either playing Inferno or playing Nuke at this stage. And we don’t feel like playing Nuke at all, so we had to work on our Inferno. Even the games we lost, I think we lost almost 15 games, and there were some games that were really close and that we should have won, there were games where we had such a big lead that it was impossible to lose and we managed to lose it, and there were other games where they just stomped us. It was a little bit of everything.
During practice and during the games we kind of felt it could have been a good map, but always one piece here or one piece there, they’re just not familiar with the position, making silly mistakes that would throw away important rounds and the map would go away. We’ve been working hard to fix those mistakes, understand better what each position needs to do and how we can play better as a team, and it’s working so far. Of course, the position was not so great yet in all the victories we had, but there were some good showings. For example, Renegades is a very strong Inferno team.
The focus is on the competition 95% of the time. Everyone on the team is going to sleep early, not really drinking anything during the night, and being very focused towards the matches, and that’s very important.
I’ve been asking everyone about the dynamic of the tournament, being a big and hard one to win, but it creates opportunities to slack off at the same time. How are you dealing with this as a team?
This place is great, we have been having a lot of fun here, we had the chance to go on jet skis and also go to the pool a little bit, but 95% of the time the focus is on the competition. Everyone on the team is going to sleep early, not really drinking anything during the night, and being very focused towards the matches, and that’s very important. It’s very important for the team to do well. We have nice weather almost all the time where we’re staying, as well, so it’s not like the Swedes, who a lot of the time will be in the cold and this is a great opportunity to enjoy it. For us, we’re familiar with it, it’s not big news. But it’s great to be playing a tournament like that, we’re doing the best we can in terms of being very professional and take as much as we can from the tournament.
How do you see your chances of making it deep? This is kind of your first big tournament after you’ve had some decent practice, so how does that reflect in your expectations?
We’re feeling the progress and both losses we had, one against FURIA, where it went to the third map, 14-14 clutch, so it could have gone either way, and the match against Renegades was kind of a similar story, it went to the third map, 16-12, very close map, as well. So in both defeats there was quite a strong possibility of winning the match, which sucks to lose like that, but it gives you a good idea that we weren’t doing that badly, we didn’t get stomped, so that’s good.
One last thing I wanted to ask about is LUCAS1’s future. When he was announced as the addition, it was on a loan from Luminosity. What is his status with MIBR now?
For now, he’s our fifth player. I’m not so sure, but I think he’s contracted to MIBR already, I could be wrong, you’d have to ask him. But for us he’s been the fifth player since the moment he joined, we have been working towards his progress, towards his evolution in the team, decide what we need and what we expect and use his best abilities, trying to put him in the system. He’s getting more and more comfortable.
We recognized that one thing that happens in our team sometimes is that we keep trying to teach some of the stuff we’d like to do to our teammates who just joined, and sometimes they lose a bit of their own feeling, their own way to play the game, and we recognized that this was happening to LUCAS1. With a good talk, with a good approach to the situation, I think he really felt more comfortable and he’s playing much better now. I’m very satisfied with the level of his play. He brings a lot of stuff to the team that I think is pretty good, I think he has insane aim, one of the best aimers of the game, in my opinion. A little bit crazy over smokes sometimes and the nades, it’s something he has to work on, sometimes he’s not hitting those (laughs), but he’s a great player and I really enjoy having him on the team. We have been making a lot of progress with him.
So we can expect him to stick around.
At least for now, we can expect this team to stick together, there are no plans of changes. You never know, this team has changed a lot in the past, but I have high expectations for this team. I think we can do much better and go much further.