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Sensi: "LATAM fans always want more from us"

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In our eleventh article in the Invitational Insights series, we talk to Team Liquid coach Sensi about his team’s preparation for the Six Invitational 2020.

After a year and a half of missed and squandered events since the Brazilian squad won the LATAM region's lone Pro League title in Season 7, it seems like Liquid are back on top after the team was finally won the BR6 title in July, finished second at DreamHack Montreal in September, and won its second piece of international silverware at the OGA PIT Minor in December to become the third most successful team in Rainbow Six history (behind just G2 and EG).

This streak of success comes off the back of three seasons of missed Pro League Finals, a first round exit at the Paris Major and a failure to qualify for the Raleigh Major. Nevertheless, with the team keeping a completely consistent roster for nine months now -- longer than any EU or NA roster bar Team Empire -- it has been able to consistently improve to a point where Liquid is now one of the outright favourites for the Invitational, quite an achievement for a team that was not even present at the last Major.

Team Liquid after their OGA PIT Minor victory.

Not only has Liquid been securing results, the manner in which the results have come have been greatly impressive as well. At the OGA PIT Minor, exciting new Pro League team BDS Esports was felled 2-0, while Luminosity Gaming also suffered the same fate -- although both games saw a map each go to overtime. MIBR then became the first team at the event to take a map off Liquid, but it was a rather unsurprising result given the two teams’ familiarity, and Spacestation Gaming was then next to do so, but did so due to strong gameplay rather than Liquid’s mistakes.

As it now prepares to prove itself as the top Brazilian team in the region and make it out of a group with Ninjas in Pyjamas, MIBR, and Giants Gaming, SiegeGG spoke to the team’s coach, Sensi, about the team’s recent rise back to prominence:

With two of three opponents in your group from LATAM, do you think you have a particular advantage or disadvantage?

In my opinion, yes. Having three teams from the same region in the same group is both disadvantageous (mostly) and advantageous. Playing against teams that you are used to playing against back in your region is like playing regional Pro League or other regional tournaments... it takes all the fun out of an international LAN competition. It's like playing more of the same. I dislike that.

Much has been said about the seeding process for the groups. Does your team have any gripes with it? Should there have been a cap on the number of teams from one region?

Yes, there shouldn't be more than two teams from the same region.

Only Giants Gaming is not from your region in this group. How are you preparing for their play style, if it comes to it?

Well, the good part of having three LATAM teams in the group is that you focus your study MOSTLY on only one region’s meta. Giants is a great team, but we know little about the team since we haven't faced each other so far. However, we still need to get to know their play style and adapt when we need to.

How do you think that the double-elimination playoffs will change the dynamic of the event, and what is your opinion of the one-map advantage in the grand final?

To be honest, I think it can be a great change. Teams sometimes need to have a second chance to stay in the tournament. This is also very good for their fans and it keeps the hype even more. Regarding the one-map advantage in the grand final, I think it is fair if we have double-elimination. The team that reaches the grand final spot through the winner bracket sure deserves an advantage.

Your team has been the only one to successfully bring home an international title -- two of them, in fact -- to LATAM. Could this be a third and the biggest?

Team Liquid is of yet the only LATAM team to have won the Pro League title.

Yes, of course! Winning the Six Invitational and/or a Major is the pinnacle for every pro player and organisation’s members in R6! Being the only team in LATAM with international titles is also a huge responsibility since LATAM fans always want more from us, and we do everything to deliver to them, but most of the time it isn't enough unfortunately.

Where have LATAM teams fallen short in the past on the international stage?

LATAM teams need to understand that the problem and secret to win matches or tournaments on international stages isn't only focused on their scrims, tactics, meta, players, skills, aiming, reflexes... Sometimes it's beyond that. 

It's all in their mindsets and the way they enter the stage. We have proved that everything I said previously works. When losing a match or even being sent home, we can't find someone to blame, we need to work on why did we fail and stay strong together. Of course this doesn't apply to every scenario, but most of the time it's not just one player's fault, it's the decision making from the whole team. 

Do you have anything else to say to your fans?

Yes! I only have to thank our fans for being awesome as always! They are the reason why we get the strength to change and evolve every time. They sometimes can be harsh and criticize very harshly, but they have every right to do so. Thank you cavalaria (our fans), you are f***ing awesome!

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Team Liquid plays Ninjas in Pyjamas in Group C first, with matches against either MIBR or Giants Gaming scheduled afterwards. Check back here at SiegeGG for more Invitational Insights and full coverage of the event as it comes.