Rarely do we see incredible rags to riches stories. That’s what makes them so special to follow. Even rarer is when we see that story repeat itself.
Team Empire took its time to get recognised, but their story is certainly not unknown now. Climbing their way through the Challenger League, they decimated their opposition until they got to the Pro League, and won it in their very first season there. Now, it seems that Team oNe eSports is looking to repeat the feat.
They cruised through Season 9 of the Challenger League (CL) in Latin America, and were one of two LATAM CL teams to mount a serious challenge in the Six Invitational Qualifiers prior to starting their CL campaign. Since then, though, they have not looked back.
A 10-4-0 record in the Challenger League was followed up by an incredible run through the Allied Esports Minor qualifier which saw them defeat not only the relegated Pro League side paiN Gaming, but also Black Dragons and then later the top LATAM seed, FaZe Clan.
Hardly unexpectedly, the team cruised through the Challenger League playoffs, first defeating Guidance Gaming and then YeaH Gaming by two maps to one on both occasions. Now, the team has their sights set on the Allied Esports Minor this week in Vegas, before returning home to possibly see them shoot to the top of Latin America much like Team Empire did in Europe.
Kaique “Faallz” Moreira, Tassus “reduct” Issi, Luiz “SKaDinha” Vinicius, Renato “rhZ” Costa, Luca “LuKid” Sereno make up the core roster, while Matheus “Budega” Figueiredo coaches and Igor “Vivas” Vivas helps out on the analyst side of things and even steps in to play if needed. What’s more, with the support of a sizeable organisation like Team oNe, they have checked pretty much every box in the “top-team” category. Now, it’s just time to cement themselves as one.
Team oNe isn't new to the Pro League, however, having signed the current Black Dragons roster in January 2018. Then, the organisation's roster had finished in joint-third place in Season 7 of the Pro League and followed it up with a definitive third-place finish in Season 8, after which Black Dragons had come calling to prise the team away. Now, the organisation has come back with possibly the youngest Pro League team on average -- SKaDinha and LuKid are just 18, team captain Reduct is 19, and both Faallz and rhz are 20.
Comprised of players who have never played in the Pro League before -- save for Faallz who got a couple of games under his belt in Season 8 when he had been a substitute for the old Team oNe roster -- Team oNe’s achievements are nothing short of extraordinary. Unfortunately, they have somewhat flown under the radar thanks to the lack of English-language streams for the LATAM Challenger League.
To know more about Team oNe, SiegeGG spoke to their entire roster to find out more:
To start off, could you tell us more about your team’s players and roles?
Our team consists of 2 fraggers (SKaDinha is the guy with the most opening kills, who always wins those key gunfights for the round and LuKid is the guy that shines in the most crucial moments in the game) and 3 flex players who don't have a specific role -- it varies between support and intermediate roles (Reduct is the IGL, rhZ is the guy who always gives us more protection for our executes, and Faallz who does all the heavy lifting for us).
And of course, there's Budega as a coach where he guides us through his tactics and ideas, and finally there's me who works on the analyst side of the game, where I help the team with insights from scrims and acquire info from the other teams.
Your record in the LATAM Challenger League was an incredible 10-4-0, and your team has not lost since the Six Invitational Qualifier. How are you guys keeping such a high-level of play up?
We've kept this level of play because we've learned a different way to perform on tournaments, especially on the psychological side, we're always trying to remain aggressive and have no fear of risking it all.
Some have dubbed you the “Team Empire of Latin America”. Would you disagree with the assessment?
No, I don't disagree with that since we've been replicating their work since the beginning of the Challenger League by winning it without losing a single game (qualifiers, league, and playoffs). And now, people are calling us the new Team Empire for this reason, so we want to keep this thing going and who knows if we can finish Pro League without losing it too?
How much have the resources of an organisation like Team oNe helped?
Team oNe has helped us a lot, we were the first team to ever receive this kind of investment (gaming house and people working behind us) at a Tier 2 level, and they even gave us this structure before we were even qualified for the Challenger League which gave us huge confidence.
Your team beat FaZe Clan in spectacular fashion and later qualified for the Allied Esports Minor. How did you prepare for that, and how will you prepare for the Minor?
We didn't have much time to prepare for the minor since we were mainly focused on Challenger League Playoffs. For our matchup against FaZe, our play style fit really well against them and we only had the intel from our scrims together. But for the minor, since we have had time to gather intel and understand better each team, you can expect us to be prepared to play against any team.
You go up against Rogue in your first-ever LAN event and first-ever international game. Any nerves?
There is no pressure from our side, we've been working on that with Ian, our psychologist, who we're bringing to the minor so we don't lose our nerves on LAN, no matter the team we're facing and no matter the tournament we're playing.
How does a normal day of practice look like for your team?
First off there's the individual training which depends on the player, some like to play Counter Strike and some like to just play ranked. Then, we go to a one-two hour tactical session where I usually show new tactics that I prepared for the team. Next, we have two sessions of scrims against a PL/CL team, where each session consists of two-three maps.
Your debut season in the Pro League see you face teams like Immortals and FaZe regularly. What are the key improvements your team is looking to make to be able to consistently play well against them?
Imposing our game style is an important factor against stronger teams and we are also looking to improve our changes in-game to have better adaptation against national and international Pro League teams.
Are there any roster changes we are to expect prior to Season 10?
No, not really, we're a team that have been together since the team's creation on PS4 in 2017 (besides SKaDinha) and I think this reflects the current results, so we do not want to change it now.
Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?
I keep saying that we're different from every other team in the world and everyday we're proving this, for the fans, I can only say that we're always giving 100% so we could give them something to be happy.
Team oNe's next appearance is at the Vegas Minor on Friday with a Pro League Season 10 also locked in. You can check out our previous interview with the other promoted sides, Soniqs here and Natus Vincere here and be sure to keep an eye out here SiegeGG for more interviews in the upcoming week.