The first event of the DreamHack Open circuit in 2019 will break new ground by taking place in Rio de Janeiro, and a combination of withdrawals and a natural outcome of the regional qualifiers means that the majority of the teams will feature all-Brazilian rosters. The depth of the country’s domestic scene is evident, especially after the Americas minor in Katowice – and with MiBR’s well-documented struggles, one has to wonder whether this event will double as an audition for these sides, potentially giving them a boost to go above and beyond Valiance and AVANGAR, the two favorites of the competition.
It’s no secret that the MiBR project is struggling, with their impressive showing at the major proving to be the exception rather than the rule so far. The team finished in the top eight at WESG and completely collapsed at the event with the most skill-testing format they’ve attended so far with an awful showing at StarSeries i-League Season 7. For those who would like to offer up the BLAST Pro Miami bronze medal as a counterpoint, how about looking at the dead last finish on home turf in the same competition less than a month prior? With whispers of the old FalleN-coldzera disagreements flaring up again and fer’s odd non-April Fools non-joke about leaving the team, it truly feels like it’s a matter of time until this experiment is also cancelled. There’s a reason why we compared them to VP a little while ago, and it truly feels like that path is their destiny if they remain unwilling to make a roster change.
So where can MiBR look? We know that their attempts at high-profile signings haven’t come through in the past (though they’ve supposedly met Na’Vi’s valuation for s1mple and flamie), and it makes sense from branding purposes to look for domestic talent if they want to shake things up. FURIA’s impressed the audience at the Katowice major and KSCERATO’s name has already been brought up in discussions like these, but kNg’s redemption story on INTZ or one of the other players on that team could also attract their attention. It wouldn’t be the first time they’d poach someone from that roster if you consider the whole felps situation. Meanwhile, the invitation to Sharks Esports – a team that managed to 2-0 North at the ESL Pro League Season 8 finals last December –, the successful qualification W7M Gaming and the opportunity given to unknowns Redemption eSports means there will be a wolfpack of Brazilian CS talent battling for something that has nothing to do with the event itself or the prize pool on offer.
The chance to join a brand steeped with history in your country, to be guided by the best in-game leader Brazil has ever produced? Don’t underestimate the kind of motivation that could bring out of these guys – a narrative like this could make the tournament more interesting than your usual somewhere-between-tier-2-and-3 fare. Of course, perhaps that’s not a fair accusation to level at the DreamHack Open circuit: two of the events last year were won by ENCE and Vitality, so there’s certainly a way to soar high off the back of a triumph here. Whether that’s going to be the case for an individual or a team remains to be seen.