The Godfather looks to steer the Brazilian ship back on course as he returns to his roots

Opinion: Will Bucharest see Imperial falter in their biggest test yet?

Could FalleN and company bring Brazil their third Major trophy?

The "Last Dance" project was announced close to four months ago, with Imperial signing the roster shortly thereafter. The newly-built squad brought together the Major-winning trio of Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, Fernando "fer" Alvarenga, and Lincoln "fnx" Lau with the equally experienced duo of Ricardo "boltz" Prass and Vinicius "⁠VINI⁠" Figueiredo. The announcement of the project immediately elated the Brazilian Counter-Strike scene, with hopes of this lineup being able to repeat the Luminosity/SK dominance seen throughout 2016 and 2017.

Despite the optimism and hype, Brazilian CS:GO has been on a steady downwards trajectory for many years, with the closest a lineup has been to the aforementioned Brazilian glory being FURIA, with VINI on its books, peaking at third in HLTV's world ranking back in October 2020.

However, if FalleN and company's new project want to once again bring Brazilian Counter-Strike to the forefront, there is no better place to start than the Americas RMR. Here, they can tussle with some of North and South America's best, book their spot in the PGL Antwerp Major, and show the world that they mean business, all at once.

Imperial's performance in its few tournament appearances thus far can help in predicting how well the quintet will perform in Romania. Ironically, their first event together was arguably their most important - the South American Open Qualifier for the upcoming Americas RMR back in early March.

Thankfully for Imperial fans, of which there are plenty, the side managed to brush aside most of their competition, only falling 16-7 in the grand final versus Case which was played purely for seeding purposes. Despite being unable to run up a flawless campaign, there are positive takeaways from this event. Firstly, VINI had a standout performance individually with a team-high 1.32 rating across five maps while the other four players all posted ratings above 1.00. This strong performance across the board will undoubtedly be a confidence booster heading into the RMR next week with the main goal of booking a spot in Romania being achieved and then some.

The team's most recent event saw the squad travel across the pond to compete in the OMEN WGR European Challenge. This tournament might actually prove to be a lifeline for Imperial, as practice against European/CIS competition is worth its weight in gold nowadays, especially with the drought North America is experiencing with regards to reputable teams. In addition, Imperial's strong showing in the tournament also saw the side impress, with wins versus MOUZ NXT and Falcons along the way bringing some much-needed confidence to a squad with a large amount of weight already on their shoulders.

FalleN is one of the world's most revered IGLs. He was at the helm when Brazil took home back-to-back Major championships a few years ago while also having years of experience leading various rosters. However, the last twelve months haven't been kind to the 30-year-old, going from a solid 1.14 rating across all of 2016 to a record low 0.95 rating last year. This fall from grace can be offset should the other four members of Imperial pick up the slack, and his time away from an all-Brazilian roster may have helped him reset as an IGL, returning with fire in his belly as he looks to restore Brazil's former Counter-Strike glory.

Meanwhile, fer and fnx are the two players on the squad who were essentially "teamless" for the past couple of years. The success of the squad at the RMR relies partly on how quickly the two Major winners can find their footing since both players have suffered from a lack of tier 1 experience in the past year. fnx is the biggest question mark of the two, seeing the 32-year-old playing a ridiculously low three maps throughout the entirety of 2021. Going from such limited experience to sparring with FURIA, Liquid and other strong sides is going to be quite the shock. Elsewhere, fer's 2021 was far from better, notably seeing the Brazilian veteran boasting a less than impressive 0.93 rating during his brief three-month stint with 00 Nation towards the end of the year.

As for the final two pieces of the puzzle in VINI and boltz, they may have an easier time at the RMR given their most recent experiences with FURIA and MIBR, respectively. The latter has worked under FalleN's leadership multiple times in the past, and joins the squad after a year-long tenure with MIBR where he averaged a respectable 1.11 rating across 135 maps. VINI, meanwhile, isn't one of the world's best players, but he continually hovered around the 1.00 rating across four straight years whilst with FURIA. This consistency, coupled with the experience gained from being within a tier 1 team in the past couple of years, could provide the roster with some much-needed stability and reliability.

If FalleN is able to find his leadership mojo again, and his teammates can slot back into competition relatively quickly, then Imperial does have a good shot at making it to Antwerp. This isn't to say that their ticket to the Major is set in stone, but they have as good a shot as any, barring the main heavyweights who should (should being the keyword) have few issues in their respective campaigns.

Imperial's Americas RMR campaign will begin with a matchup versus fellow Brazilian side, São Caetano, on April 11th at 06:15AM. This might prove to be one of the easier games for FalleN's men with their foes ranked just 175th in the world at the time of writing. Alas, another two wins will still need to be required if they're to have a shot at making it all the way through the event which could put a spanner in the works since all teams will be undoubtedly firing on all cylinders, desperate to secure one of the six Americas spots in the Major.

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#1(With 0 replies)
April 9, 2022 07:41PM
Idk man they have like a 50/50 shot IMO
#2(With 0 replies)
April 14, 2022 04:38PM
Great article, interesting take too.
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