Even with MIBR’s fall from grace, Brazilian CS fans could console themselves with the impressive depth of their domestic scene, especially as FURIA became a fan favorite around the world and they got to send a third team to the StarLadder Major in the form of INTZ. Fast-forward to day three of the event and everything is in shambles as the two “smaller” sides were sent packing and FalleN’s men handicapped themselves with the whole coldzera situation.
The StarLadder Major already had its fair share of upsets and suprises, but the comprehensive failure of the Brazilian contingent is perhaps the most interesting one so far. INTZ went out 0-3 with a mere 42 rounds across five maps played but the real shock was FURIA's elimination with a 1-3 score today off the back of a comprehensive defeat to minnows Syman Gaming.
Is it time to admit that KSCERATO and co. were a one-trick pony of all-out aggression? I still think they’re the future of Brazilian CS but that is rapidly becoming less and less of a compliment and more of a monster diss on the dumpster fire that is the MiBR project. We haven’t seen that much of them since their Cinderella run at ECS Season 7, and what we have wasn’t actually that impressive: they’ve been found out by GamerLegion of all teams at a small Portuguese LAN, only managed to post a win over a flagging Renegades side at Cologne… and that was about it against top teams. To their credit, they did have a fairly straightforward run through the Americas minor, though they were still defeated by NRG 2-0 in the upper bracket semi-final.
They clearly need to rethink their approach, and if MIBR fail to shake things up in the near future, it seems quite likely that Bad Fallen will make these guys an offer they can’t refuse. FURIA’s young guns are in desperate need of an IGL with a deeper playbook and MIBR needs a complete reinvention. It’s quite clear that nothing is worth salvaging from INTZ apart from kNg (and even that is a shaky proposition for now), and that move is guaranteed to be a firepower downgrade anyway if coldzera is going to leave.
Speaking of which, there was that interview which seemed designed to ensure that there’d be no way back for the Brazilian star to the active lineup. Whether this kamikaze PR strategy helped or hurt his position behind the scenes remains to be seen, but so many high-profile moves were clogged up over the last year due to exorbitant buyouts that this one’s pretty hard to tell. He might regret this power play later on: for the first time since the beginning of his career, coldzera is not part of the main storylines at a major, and there’s not really a precedent of top players making a strong return after being sidelined for an extended period. HLTV graphs tend to trend downwards once you post your first big results, and olofmeister was never the same either after his wrist injury knocked him out of commission in Columbus.
This major made it clear that the tale of Brazilian domestic depth was not much more than an illusion, and if all interested parties accept that you’ll probably only be able to put together one competitive side from the current crop of players. Whether business realities will stand in the way remains to be seen. Right now, the core problem of Brazilian CS seems to be very similar to what the French went through during their myriad shuffles which amounted to nothing: player politics, cliques and no willingness to adapt their game to the new meta. It’s not a good sign that it took a generational talent in the form of ZywOo and the complete collapse of Happy to finally force the necessary changes over there, especially considering how much of a freefall the Brazilian sides seem to be in. It’s not just a dumpster fire: the entire rainforest is burning.
(Photo credit: HLTV)