Vintage performances from FalleN and fer helped Imperial overcome the odds to make Rio

FalleN: "I'm aiming to stop at the end of next year, but there are times when I want to stop now"

Imperial's legendary IGL and AWPer explained the emotions behind making the Rio Major and his future in the game.

In the final match of the Road to Rio qualifiers, the story could not have been more perfect. The legends of the Brazilian scene, who have frequently referred to this lineup as the "Last Dance" had to dig deep in a thrilling series against Complexity for the final spot at IEM Rio. The godfather of Brazilian Counter-Strike, Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, rolled back the years and put on a vintage display in order to qualify for the historic tournament.

After an extremely emotional celebration,' Liam Slevin talked to the legendary AWPer about the team's rocky road to Rio, what this Major means for the Brazilian scene, and the possibility of hanging up the mouse and retiring.

You have just qualified for the Rio Major, tell me about the emotions you are feeling right now?

So many emotions during this tournament. From about to be crying on the shuttle towards the tournament, kind of meditating on the process on the process thinking about what we have to do, how we have to lead. What are the things we have to say to conquer what we want, to the battle mode when the game starts and then letting these feelings go and focusing on every single round. This is the most emotional I have been during a tournament in my life and the biggest win I have ever had.

You guys had a lot of ups and downs to get here, it looked like you might not make it, did you ever doubt you were making it to Rio?

Definetely, we had to deal with this doubt the whole way. We have been dealing with that doubt since it was announced in Brazil for the first time. Back before covid our team wasn't doing great and it was a challenge for us to qualify for the Brazilian Major, everything happened the way it happened with the Covid situation and it gave us some time to live in a different situation in CS. I'm so glad that in the end, everything worked out it feels to us like this Major belongs to us too, we had to be there and we found a way.

Complexity have been playing some lights-out Counter-Strike recently, they took FaZe close at ESL Pro League, tell me a bit about this series it was up and down, and there were multiple overtimes, highs and lows tell me about how that felt.

Yeah that last game was intense. It's kind of funny because in every single situation we had to win convincingly or make it easy for us to finish a game. During the whole tournament, apart from the first game where we were able to win 16-5 I think, all the rest we had to make it harder for ourselves or it got harder. It makes sense now the amount of energy we received from the entire world, the emotions we could give to everyone around the world, it doesn't get better than that. We are happy with the way it was supposed to happen.

Everyone knows how passionate Brazilian fans are, and how big the scene has got in Brazil, What does the Major in Rio mean for the scene?

The Major in Rio, it's a celebration for Brazilian Counter-Strike. We have been doing so many good things for the past 23 years I would say, that's more time than I have been playing, there are older people than me there. Brazilians have been passionate about CS for a long time. Since the Cyber Cup days when we are playing against neighborhoods and all those things, now there's a chance for everyone to cheer for the Brazilian players and celebrate the best players in the world going there. It's going to be the biggest esports tournament we have ever seen, I'm sure about that.

You mention the history of Brazilian Counter-Strike, there are a lot of legends here one of them being zews. I had a chance to talk to him earlier and he told me that he got a chance to catch up with you. After his health concerns with the heart attack earlier this year, what's it like seeing him here?

Yeah it was very intense for zews, he had kind of like a wake-up call he had to take more care of himself. That's kind of true for every single one of us, it wasn't as intense as a heart attack but I had some back problems recently. When you don't take care of yourself enough those kinds of things can happen, I'm so glad that zews had another chance to live on and do the things he likes the most. I'm so happy to see him and my old teammates during this tournament. The vibe in this tournament is something I have never experienced before, everyone has been friendly with each other the energy has been very special. That was a big win too for me, being able to see old friends like TACO and cold and relive all those moments together was something very special for me.

You mentioned TACO and cold specifically, what's it like to have that 00NATION at Rio alongside you?

I feel TACO has another opportunity to bring another Major to Brazil. I think they are the team, for me personally, that has the biggest chance to win a Major. If not now then in the future. They are doing some very nice work there, I appreciate the work he is doing, the leader he has become and how sacrificing he is for the success of everyone else. Just like he did for us on SK back in the day, that's the recipe for success when you have people of integrity, working hard like they do. I'm very happy to see cold finding himself again, he was one of the best players in the world and he can for sure play at the top.

ESL announced that all the stages are going to have fans, what's that like considering it is a Rio Major and there will be fans at every stage for the first time?

I think it's very smart from the organisers honestly, I don't think the Brazilians have big odds, or a big chance at making playoffs the situation of CS globally right now doesn't give us that impression. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but I think it's smart for them to do it that way because that's going to make the festival and show much better. Everyone is going to enjoy what they are coming for, it would be such a bad feeling going to see the Brazilian teams and not getting to watch them play. That's going to help the Brazilian teams go forward. That's going to be instrumental for success if the other teams are feeling the pressure too much, that will be beneficial for the Brazilians.

At the start of the RMR you put out a few tweets that your storied career might be winding down, considering this team was branded as 'The Last Dance' what are your plans for the future?

I don't know exactly when I'm going to stop. I'm aiming to stop at the end of next year, but there are times when I want to stop now. Just because I'm outside of my home since 2014, it's been almost 10 years I've not been home. I want to live things with my girlfriend, do other things in life and I think I'm going to be able to do different things in esports in general. Help other people in different ways, I have already had some thoughts about the process. For me it's about this transition phase, I do love CS I love playing but it just costs me too much. CS is always my priority and I take it as number one priority in my life, that means I don't have much time for relationships with my family and in the end it's all about the connections we make with people. I feel I have to do a little bit more of that.

Is there anything you want to say to your family and fans now you have made it to the Rio Major?

I just want to express my gratitude to everyone that has been following me and helping me and playing with me. All the tournament organisers that have provided this opportunity to us, to showcase us as players. All the fans watching over the world, all my teammates that never give up that listen to me and i listen to them. I can conclude by saying this is the second biggest win in my career, the first one was the first Major and this tops the second Major by far, this was the most emotional I have ever been and it's a pleasure for me to be living that.

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#1(With 0 replies)
October 11, 2022 09:08AM
Really hope he doesn't
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