When FURIA eSports was playing its 2020 season in the BR6, few would have expected that squad to be headed to the Six Invitational 2021, much less their own players.
The team was winless after the first split, with its first victory only coming along in the sixth week with a 2-0 over INTZ e-Sports. That victory would be no herald of better tidings in the second split, however, as FURIA would only get one more win to make it a mere two wins across the entire season.
In context, only Santos e-Sports had performed that poorly, with an identical 2-4-12 (W-D-L) record, but one more point for them meant that they survived while FURIA headed to relegations.
However, in the relegation match, Falkol -- the Serie B team -- was not quite on FURIA's level, losing it in three straight maps.
As such, FURIA would survive in the top-flight for 2021, but few thought they would be able to perform any better.
However, FURIA started its rebuild just before the Six Invitational 2021 Brazil qualifier, dropping Renan "fredQx" Lucas. It then kickstarted its Invitational push, taking down Santos 2-0, INTZ 2-0, W7M 2-0, and then INTZ by a 2-0 margin again to become the best Brazilian team in the LATAM qualifier.
While Estral Esports would upset INTZ, FURIA would take down Malvinas before clearing the Estral challenge -- dropping its first and only map in both qualifiers -- to book a ticket to the Six Invitational 2021.
While qualified, questions over FURIA's strength still remained, especially since FaZe Clan, NiP, Team Liquid, MIBR, and Team oNe had already qualified and thus had not played in the qualifier. The questions then intensified as one of its coaches, Arthur "TchubZ" Martins, left, and Victor Hugo "Bersa" Bruschini and former MIBR player Daniel "Novys" Novy were dropped.
Signing Diogo "Fntzy" Lima and Rennan "R4re" Silva seemed to do the trick, however, as FURIA took down NiP, Team oNe, and others on course to a fourth-placed finish in Stage 1 of the BR6.
This performance was unable to be replicated in the Copa Elite Six, however, as the Brazilians could only manage seventh, behind Atheris Esports in sixth.
Now, the team gears up for a Six Invitational 2021 challenge, with much to work on, but an unshaken belief in itself. To know more, SiegeGG spoke with head coach Marlon "Twister" Mello.
Wow, you guys are headed to SI! How real does it feel for your players, after they had to survive the relegations last year?
The whole situation has a very special feeling. Being able to get a SI spot through all the hard work that we have put in is very important to for our goals as a team and our potential to grow!
How did the team make such a big jump, from 10th and last in BR6 2020, to Invitational-qualified in 2021?
It was all down to hard and correctly focused work from the team. Our results in the server are just the result of everything that we do outside it, starting with the organisational support and ending with the players performing. Everyone trusts in each other and is able to sacrifice the individual for the team!
Now, of course, the fact that you are traveling to Paris is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil is one of the worst-hit countries by the virus, so how have you and your entire team been keeping safe? Has it been hard focusing on the game when the pandemic is such a big threat outside of it?
Actually it just intensified our work. For one, our new players are young and don't really party very much. Board games and online co-op after scrims makes everything easier once we have a intense practice routine throughout the entire day!
This will be the first-ever international event for your team, though you are personally well experienced with FaZe, NiP, and Black Dragons, having attended nine international events with them. How are you guys preparing for it?
I am trying to take all that experience and translate to the players what's necessary to perform at such big events. What is easy is that all the players are really respectful and eager to evolve!
Your team seemed to struggle in the Copa Elite Six, despite a very strong fourth place in Stage 1 of the BR6, and the Atheris loss prevented your progression to the playoffs. What happened? Is this a matter of concern?
It was our first inter-LATAM experience and getting important matches against the top teams of Brazil made was a little bit tough to experience. But, we discovered new points of weaknesses to improve upon before the SI, so I am actually glad that happened at the Elite Six Cup and not right during the Six Invitational.
Every obstacle is a opportunity to grow and we are utilising all of them!
What is your goal for the Invitational and how confident are you that you'll achieve it?
Our goal is to reach the Grand Final! Once Empire proved to every team that it is possible, there's reason to think otherwise! We have a young and talented team that will reach the top of Siege!
What is your opinion on the changed format for the Invitational and how do you rate your chances in the group?
The new format makes everything interesting in the group stage and gives chances to younger and smaller teams to surprise everyone! I believe we got the strongest group in the tournament, which means we will learn more to get stronger during the tournament!
Is there anything you want to say to your fans and maybe your competitors?
To all the FURIA and Brazil fans, I would like to say that we are a young team, so your support will be an important part of our campaign in this tournament!
Thanks for always believing in the young potential and know that we will give our best to represent our country!
Catch FURIA eSports next in action on the 11th of May at 3 PM BRT (UTC-3), when they take on Cyclops Athlete Gaming live from Paris.