Astro: "Brazilian teams do not take scrims seriously"

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In our Raleigh Rundown series, we interview players from each team attending the Six Major Raleigh later this month to find out more about their approach. Continuing on, we have Leonardo "Astro" Luis from FaZe Clan.

FaZe Clan has always been one of the top teams in the LATAM region since they initially represented Latin America at the very first Six Invitational where they almost defeated the eventual champions of Continuum (now Evil Geniuses) with a drastically different lineup. Since then the roster has attended every single Pro League and Major over the last two and a half years, barring Season 4, as they have sat in the region’s top two throughout this period. 

Shortly before the 2018 Six Invitational, the roster’s success caught the attention of the massive organisation of FaZe Clan who later picked up the team. However, while they were consistently top in Brazil, they failed to perform internationally with their subsequent events both ending in quarter-final departures after defeats to Evil Geniuses at the Invitational and Millenium at the Season 7 Finals. 

Following this, they fell in the group stage of the 2018 Paris Major, causing the roster which had remained together for 15 months at this point to separate, with Guilherme "gohaN" Alf replaced by João "yoona" Gabriel. This led to an 18-game undefeated streak against other Pro League teams which only ended following their Season 8 grand final defeat to G2 Esports in front of their home crowd -- the first time they had made it that far in an international event.

This performance made them one of the tournament favourites for the 2019 Six Invitational, however, following defeats to Fnatic and Team Reciprocity, the team opted to make another change, replacing João "muringa" Deam with Ronaldo "ion" Osawa to create the current lineup.

FaZe Clan at the Season 9 Finals in Milan. From L: camerm4n, mav, ion, yoona, Astro.

Since this roster was finalised, FaZe Clan has seen a number of promising results. Firstly, they ended Season 9 as the top team in LATAM, before finishing joint-third at the Season 9 Finals before once again finishing third at the Dreamhack Valencia 2019 event last month. Most notable, however, was their Brasileirão 2019 performance where FaZe put up one of the best games in R6 esports history (despite failing to be crowned the Brazilian champions for the third year running) before falling to Team Liquid in the overtime on map five in the grand final.

And so, as we approach their tenth major international event, we spoke to the roster’s longest remaining member and their main fragger of Leonardo "Astro" Luis to see how they are preparing for the event:

At the Six Invitational, FaZe failed to make it out of the group stages falling to Fnatic and Reciprocity - how has FaZe improved since then?

We have improved a lot as a team and we hope to perform much better than the other championships.

The FaZe roster recently attended the DreamHack Minor to help prepare against international opponents, do you think this has helped?

It helped a lot with our preparation, playing against teams from Europe is always very good.

How are you preparing for this Major in particular?

I changed some things in my thinking and gameplay during the rounds.

Is there one team you’d like to face later on in the tournament?

Empire, G2 and EG.

You recently fell to Liquid in the BR6 Finals, what could you have done to get the victory here?

We increased the number of maps [in our map pool] for the Major, which is the most important thing. Now we have to adjust the final details as we lost a lot of clutch situations that cost us our victory.

What team do you think that can be the biggest surprise of the tournament?

Cyclops Athlete Gaming.

How do you usually warm up before a big match?

I like to play a lot of ranked matches and Terrorist Hunt.

LATAM has, overall, been lagging behind NA and EU. What do you think has been the cause of this gap widening?

Brazilian teams do not take scrims seriously -- they play to win and not to test their tactics. NA and EU teams are 150% better at practising tactics.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

Love you guys, thanks for the support always!

FaZe Clan at the BR6 Finals via @Rainbow6br’s flickr.
From left to right: cameram4n, ion, mav, yoona, Astro and Twister (their coach)

 

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The Six Major Raleigh 2019 is taking place from the 12th of August to the 18th, where FaZe Clan will be pitted against the best teams on the planet, starting off with Fnatic, DarkZero and forZe in Group D, and will be looking to make it out of the group stage of a Major for the first time since the 2018 Six Invitational. For more content on the upcoming major check out the other interviews here or watch our Season 8 Finals interview with cameram4n below: