Sensi has arguably been the biggest name behind the scenes of the Latin American scene since the region first gained the Pro League in Season 4. He led Black Dragons to the Season 4 Grand Finals, BRK e-Sports to the Season 5 semi-finals and, most notably, Team Liquid to the Season 7 Pro League title, making him the most successful coach in the region’s history.
Outside of the Pro League, however, his roster has found limited success, going out on day two at the 2018 Six Invitational and the Six Major while failing to even make the playoffs during the last two seasons of the Brasileirão -- the Brazilian national league.
Now with a revamped roster which saw Team Liquid welcome the in-game leader of FaZe Clan and the top fragger of INTZ onto their lineup, Team Liquid finally made it out of the groups at a Major, only to fall to Team Empire in the quarter-finals, 7-4, 4-7, 4-7. Goh4N, however, has since been dropped. We caught up with Sensi at the Six Invitational to ask about their performance at this tournament and what we should expect from them going forward:
How did you find the first half of the Pro League?
Well in the first match we faced Immortals, it was the first match where we had Paluh and gohaN and it was a first-time experience, so it actually went pretty well. We actually played our worst map so far, that was Consulate, and we actually had a good match. While we didn’t get a win in that match, it was the start of something. After that, our team had a pretty good performance for the rest of the split. We had a great experience; the team learnt how to deal with certain situations that we hadn’t before. GohaN is a great in-game leader that helped us through the split.
How do you feel about your performance at the Six Invitational?
This year's Invitational was the most successful we had so far because last time we went out in the group stage and in the Major it was the same story, but this year it was something special to us because we actually made it, you know? Too bad we went out in the quarter-finals against Empire which is a great team but we had a lot of potential. We could’ve made it if it wasn’t for the psychological issues -- we lost because of ourselves and we know that. But yeah, we learnt a lot of something new, a lot to improve, and me and Silence worked a lot to get here but we, unfortunately, didn’t make it.
We had our first time playing against Mock-it, our first time playing against mantisFPS because we hadn’t faced each other in previous tournaments. It was kinda frustrating on the first day, but then it got better, we started to relax before the match. We prepared even more, we scrimmed because in the first day we didn’t scrim against any team because we didn’t trust them enough, but then we realised we needed to scrim in order to pull off the two wins needed to make it to the main stage. Yeah, it was amazing, the experience so far.
Which teams have you seen here that surprised you?
NORA-Rengo, yeah. They surprised us a lot, they played like they had so much fun on the entire journey they have here. They reminded us of Atlantic City because they were just here to play for fun. Of course, they wanted to be champions but they were so relaxed, they didn’t have any pressure on them. They were playing their best match, their best tournament and they surprised everyone. So far, I think NORA-Rengo and Team Empire have had the best performances so far; NORA-Rengo in the entire tournament and Empire in the entire Pro League and Invitational, they have stood up to (all the challenges in) the entire journey they had.
What are your thoughts on the two new operators to enter the Pro League next season -- Kaid and Nomad?
Note - At the time of the interview Nomad and Kaid had yet to enter the competitive map pool
I mean, only in Ranked because teams actually don’t scrim with them, they don’t practice with them because it doesn’t make sense. You need to actually separate the Pro League and the official tournaments so you need to focus on them first and then you actually have time to play with Nomad and Kaid and such.
As far as I can say so far, from what I have experienced the shotgun (the TCSG12) is pretty OP right now, yeah. The distance, the damage it has and you can make rotations… it’s pretty OP so far. Maybe if they nerf that gun it’ll be balanced, but Nomad is going to be highly picked for the attack because of the possibility for the post-plants, but Kaid is gonna be a little bit tricky because the player needs to focus one-hundred per cent on the actions they need to use the Kaid charge, and to do that they need to learn how the character works and he needs to hold the angle for the entire time. Nomad, I think, is going to be meta.
We’ve also seen a number of balancing changes regarding Ash, Capitao, Glaz and Dokkaebi. How are these going to affect professional play?
Let’s talk about Ash. I think that removing the ACOG is not gonna impact a lot of Pro League players because some of them actually play with a holographic sight so that doesn’t make any difference -- a highly skilled player won’t be affected by that. Of course, they have a huge advantage because of the ACOG but the holographic sight won’t be much of a difference. However, if they wanted to nerf Ash I think they should increase the time of the ADS, you know? So, yeah, that’s my thoughts on Ash.
Glaz, I think, is very balanced now -- you need to take the angle and stay there and stay put to turn the thermal sight on. Dokkaebi, yeah finally she’s going to be a lot less picked, maybe on sixth-picks when the defence isn’t going to pick Mute. So it can be a trick for both sides; you can sixth-pick Mute to prevent a sixth-pick onto Dokkaebi. So Mute is very strong, we will see him a lot more times because of that change and there’s going to be a lot more roamers around.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans regarding their support?
As usual, we’d like to thank all the fans for all the support they give, not only the Brazilians but we also have a lot of the NA people and EU people that are constantly sending us messages -- that is pretty cool.
Sometimes our fans can be a little bit wild, they are Brazilian after all, they’re known to be wild, but you saw in Rio the emotion they passed to the players, to the casters... it’s amazing, and the support they give is like one-hundred per cent true. They are there for you, they want to be you. It’s like decades ago when you wanted to be that soccer player, that football player, that NBA player, now that's becoming esports. People want to be Nesk, people want to be Pengu, people want to be ziG, you know? So that kind of stuff, it’s pretty awesome, we appreciate everyone, every supporter we have, every love message. Thank you, everyone!
Team Liquid’s next game will be against Black Dragons on Sunday in the Brasileirão league as we near the climax of the 2019 season. Keep an eye out for more coverage of Team Liquid and more player interviews on the SiegeGG Twitter and YouTube accounts.