Over the weekend, MIBR faced Astralis in the final of BLAST Istanbul. Before this tournament even started, Astralis was clearly the team that had the upper hand in the race to the championship. They just won the Major and in the process they destroyed three of the best teams in the world: FaZe, Na`Vi, and Liquid.
When they met MIBR in the finals, it seemed the story was similar. Astralis won MIBR 16-3 on the map train. In the second map, Astralis won 10-5 on the T-side. However, MIBR was able to shorten the score. They turned the game around when on T-side Overpass to win 16-14 and lost with a narrow score of 15-16 in the third map. The most notable thing is the new way of playing T-side by MIBR. This is a team that has struggled to create a cohesive T-side on the old roster as well as the new roster. In this final, we got to see a new MIBR. A team that has combined the tactics and playstyles of the old players and leveraged the strengths and playstyles of the new NA players to create a monster. This is the brand of FalleN, able to harmonize the advantages of new players.
The current MIBR lineup is a lineup of big names that come together to create a very difficult puzzle to solve. The current roster includes: FalleN, Stewie2K, Tarik, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga, and Marcelo “coldzera” David. In theory, each player on this team has the best talent in the world. There are only a few teams in the world that can match the skills of all five players. However, the puzzle is how to assemble these five pieces into a unified block. FalleN, fer, and coldzera are core cards that have won numerous titles across various rosters since their time at Luminosity Gaming and SK. They had two distinctive playstyles across different lineups.
With two North American players, can MIBR once again return to the hegemony?
The first is with a roster featuring Lincoln “fnx” Lau and Epitacio “TACO” de Melo. That roster was built around FalleN as AWPer and Coldzera as superstars. During the time this roster competed, FalleN was the top 3 AWPer in the world and a monster in three aspects of AWPer: Kills, close range combat, and clutches. So it’s important to take control of the map, let FalleN get a kill, and then end the round with a last-minute takeover strategy like Na`Vi. If FalleN gets a kill, their chances of winning increase greatly as they are the best team in close quarters situations when outnumbered. And if they’re in a draw after planting the bomb, they’ll use their teamwork and clutches to win the round.
The other playstyle they used was the basic pure play of Joao “felps” Vasconcellos and Ricardo “Boltz” Prass in 2017. This playstyle is similar to the one above, but with a focus on players. other. With this lineup, they have fer as aggressive player instead of FalleN. He continues to earn lives or create positions for teammates to play. At the same time, the other players have their own areas of pressure and control. It’s like watching someone play dominoes. Once MIBR get a kill, they immediately take control of that area and make it pressure on your team to earn more lives, and ultimately win the round. And what’s even more surprising is their insane clutching abilities and each can be a hero in high-pressure situations. In the big tournaments, the big moments, when the round gets really tight, all the players in both lineups start putting on some top-notch plays to win.
However, at the beginning of 2018, the team broke up. Not long after, TACO left the team to join Liquid and Stewie2K was recruited to replace him. This squad is not worth mentioning because they have too many internal problems. Boltz lost confidence because the team tried to kick him out. They must communicate in a second language to be able to talk to Stewie2K. Stewie2K has to play in a new position with a new team. In the end, they have cultural problems when they don’t try hard enough. This was confirmed by FalleN in an interview with HLTV after Janko “YNk” Pankovic joined as a coach:
“I think Janko mainly helps us the most is being the person responsible for making sure the players are in top shape, making sure everyone is doing their best, making sure we make the most of it. got everything we practiced.”
Boltz lost confidence due to pressure from teammates
Talking more about YNk becoming MIBR coach, tarik replaced Boltz on July 14. At this point, communicating in English is no longer an obstacle. The problem now is how to make all five players compete as a unit. While three of the five players have competed against each other for a long time, TACO’s departure has left a void that cannot be filled. They had to aim for a different solution, and with two Cloud9 players, the team now has three extremely aggressive rifle recruits: fer, Stewie2K, and Tarik.
With this combination, it seems to be normal for them to play with a more relaxed, more instinctive playstyle. But instead, their priority is to get FalleN back to its original form. While FalleN is one of the best tactical minds and AWPers in the world, he’s slowly lost himself as a competitive player. Back in 2016, he was arguably the best AWPer in the world. In 2017, he was an excellent AWPer and extremely effective in certain situations. In 2018, he is in the worst quagmire of his career since he started competing internationally.
The plan makes perfect sense. He is the symbol of the team and the one who decides on tactics and reads the game while having to compete with his skill. More than that, the team spirit and strength comes from his confidence. Who else but FalleN could stand in front of a Danish audience in the middle of CopenHagen and tell them he’s going to turn it into a library and make this happen? The better FalleN plays, the more accurate the decisions, from which the whole team will play better.
FalleN – the soul of the team
The plan worked and we saw it after the break when MIBR won the Zotac and finished top 4 at the Major. Although they are slowly returning, there are still doubts. They don’t have their heroic element like they did in 2017. While it is not a repeatable thing. There were elements of teamwork they used to have together and couldn’t create anymore. So for this squad to be successful, they have to find another path. Bringing FalleN back is just the first step, and the second step is to combine the NA players with the rest of the players.
Now we have to look at Stewie2K and tarik as a player. The most successful tournament of their career was the ELeague Boston Major, when they won the championship. At that tournament they played with fast, explosive play taking advantage of Stewie2K and tarik’s aggressive and map-controlling abilities. While Cloud9’s roster has shown off their slow play, explosive play is what they do best.
In the last two maps of the BLAST finals, MIBR showed a mix of tactics. Incorporating aspects from the LG/SK roster from 2016, SK of 2017, and the explosive map control play of their North American players.
The image point example is in Overpass. Overpass is one of the maps that made the name of MIBR. It’s a map that confirms FalleN’s name as an AWPer superstar on the CT-side and clever tactics on the T-side. In this finale, old strategies and AWPers are reborn as past ideas work with current players to create a bright future.
In the 20th round of the Overpass map, MIBR used the open play of C9. They let their three players rush monsters with tarik to push through the smoke an Astralis player threw. That’s not a tactic that C9 used to, given their speed, it’s a tactic they can absolutely use. It’s also a way to take advantage of tarik’s fearless gameplay. Even though he was defeated by Andreas “Xyp9x” Hojsleth, the rest of the MIBR members were able to switch lives and continue playing in a 4v4 situation. From that moment on, MIBR played with FalleN as the trump card.
Tarik plays with a style that is not afraid of death to benefit MIBR
Astralis was weak because they lost a lot of people from previous rounds, so MIBR knew that Astralis would lack the necessary bombs and someone on the team had to play aggressive to get information. They went back to mid and took control of long when they took out Peter “Dupreeh” Rothmann. They then ended the round using their numerical advantage and making sure that no one was killed.
This round of 20 was a combination of Cloud9’s speed to create a site takeover phase and then using FalleN-focused basic gameplay to close out the round. They adopted this style again in round 25. In that round they let Stewie2K and Tarik rush mid to control the map. Stewie2K was lying down but they were able to force Astralis back. This leaves room for both fer and FalleN to earn lives. When this strategy doesn’t work as it should, it still shows that even if they lose men in such rounds they can still use the space created by their dead teammate.
In round 21, MIBR used the same strategy as the 1-1-1-1-1 that made their name in 2017. They put fer in long, coldzera in mid, Stewie2K in connector, and FalleN with tarik in monster. This is SK’s basic playstyle as they try to put pressure all over the map. Then slowly take control of the map before taking over A site.
They then immediately changed their pace on round 22 when they rushed into the B site. While changing the pace of play is not unique to SK or C9, the introduction of Stewie2K with the entry-fragger position of the attack has changed this play. Once he gets to the site, he immediately throws a smoke and fire to split the site in half, then his teammates flash him so he can push through his smoke and surprise Astralis.
Stewie2K’s trademark “push the smoke” phase
The final example is in round 26. In this round, MIBR played with a 3-1-1 formation. Three Brazilian players play on long, Stewie2K on connector and Tarik on B site. Stewie2K and Tarik are the players who have to keep the position. They kept their map passive while fer, coldzera and FalleN took the long. Then they deployed the squad so that FalleN could earn lives in this area. After all this failed, they took control of the map and performed a last minute takeover of A site. This is a tactic from 2016.
Overall, MIBR is a master when it comes to T side Overpass. they were able to turn the game around as they won the 2nd half 11-4 against Astralis. More than that, it shows the combination of tactics and ideas they have built over the years with the Brazilian players. It demonstrates the synergies and applications of North American players and uses them in its own system. In the end, it shows what the potential of this squad can be. The Brazilian players are still the stars. FalleN, coldzera, and fer are the biggest winners in this system, but it still leaves enough room for both Stewie2K and tarik to contribute.
Stewie2K and tarik still have space to show off their individual skills
After all, this is just a tournament. Some have called this the glorious return of a top CS:GO team. However, since YNk joined, MIBR has only faced a few top teams. Aside from this bo3 final, there is no such thing as a remarkable tournament. Even in this tournament, Astralis could eventually win the championship and they didn’t prepare for this tournament like they usually do when participating in other tournaments because they just finished the Major. MIBR needs to prove that they can consistently compete at this level and gradually progress to the point where they can win bo3 matches against top teams. The biggest change before and after this tournament is that MIBR has proven its potential. They were able to combine the tactics and players that brought Brazil to the top of the world and drive the explosive play that made these North American players so special. We’ll have to see how far they can go.
According to VPEsports
Source link: Brazilian tactics, American talent, MIBR T-side overview