FalleN on constant travel: "As Brazilian players we sacrifice a lot being out of the country"
As Counter-Strike has become more Eurocentric, other regions are suffering as they do whatever they can to reach the highest levels in the sport. For American, Brazilian, Australian, and Asian players, this means spending months away from home at one time just in hopes of earning a few wins. FURIA is no stranger to this, with the Brazilian team setting up a new home base in Malta and spending significant time in Europe.
In an interview with Jeffrey "Mnmzzz" Moore, Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo spoke about those struggles, as well as the team's performance in the group stage, and how Kaike "KSCERATO" Cerato is so important to the squad.
Is the team happy with their performance despite the significant number of matches it took to get to the playoffs?
I'm pretty satisfied with our performances overall, I the starts of the matches were a little bit shaky, mainly the first one against Movistar Riders, we didn't play at our best capabilities. But it was expected, it was the first time playing together on a LAN environment like this, and there are a lot of things you go through. During the group stage, we kept getting better and better.
We got a good win against NIP, a very close match against Astralis. Then we had very convincing wins against Grayhound and GamerLegion, so we leave the group stage knowing it was a bit scary, and we could have lost and gone home, but at the same time we kept progressing and getting better and better with each game.
You've had a long break since your group play and the playoffs? Is this to your benefit or detriment?
If you take away any external factors, which I can talk about soon, It would be beneficial because we would have more time to watch the other games and even improve stuff ourselves, create new strategies. As Brazilian players we sacrifice a lot being out of the country and I have been in FURIA for almost three months and when the Group stage ended for us, I had completed just two months with the team, and we had been 16 days in Europe, playing non-stop, no time for family, no time for personal life.
At the same time as the group ended, I had other things to do, I had the church celebration of my marriage to do in Brazil and the guys had to get their visas, so we did a little break of eight to ten days, just to get some personal things going, and then we got back to Malta to start playing again. We have been practicing for ten days, so yeah, it's been a little bit of a mix, but I do think it's beneficial to just have this break, as we have more time to work as a whole.
KSCERATO is currently on pace for one of his best events since the Rio Major last year. Do you think that, now, as the team has had time to practice he has finally adapted to your leadership style? What role do you think your leadership has played in his return to his star form?
Well, you know, KSCERATO, unfortunately, had to deal with the loss of his dad, which is very tough, and that just happened when I joined the team. At the very first moment, his head was not in the game, so it's very hard to expect someone to perform in any sport after situations like that. Unfortunately, we don't have substitutes to replace him, and he gave the best he could and he is just returning to what he has ever been. He's been playing like a monster and he is one of the best riflers in the world.
His early shaky start is more about his mental state more the situation we have as a new team. He has been playing the same roles, and he is a very capable person, he's smart, and not much has changed for him. Of course, there are some things we changed, but it doesn't have any conflict with his role that much. Overall, I feel he is pretty satisfied with the way we have been playing, he has a lot of say in coming up with new strategies, new pistol rounds, he is more of a set-piece kind of a guy, so there are some ideas I bring from his brain. There is this A exec in Mirage we have been using that was his idea, stuff like that. I'm glad we have him back playing well, and if we want to go ahead in this tournament we need KSCERATO at his best.
You will be facing MOUZ in the playoffs. How is the team feeling about their chances against the young European squad?
It's going to be a tough game for sure. We have practiced against that lineup in the last three months and it's a very complicated team to play against. It's going to be interesting, it's going to be up for grabs. Both teams have good chances, it's going to be up to who performs better in the day.