If you're a casual fan, the above headline may get you somewhat confused. After all, MIBR was at the Six Invitational 2020, was it not? And it finished joint-seventh?
You would be right, of course. But also not entirely.
The MIBR that played last year is, in fact, largely gone. Three of those players left the roster afterwards and will not be in attendance this year at the Invitational, while the other two have since joined FaZe Clan. The only continuity from that roster is the coach Guilherme "Guille" Scalfi, aside from the other support staff and the MIBR name.
The former caster now oversees the old Team oNe roster and has transitioned to a more analytical and managerial role after the Team oNe coach of Matheus "Budega" Figueiredo followed his players to MIBR.
This new MIBR roster formed its core long ago, in 2018, and thus boasts an incredible amount of chemistry that has served it well. While it has tinkered somewhat with its lineup over the years, it last made a change in April 2020 and thus goes into the Six Invitational with a much-needed camaraderie that will be tested under the weight of its inexperience.
Domestically, these MIBR players enjoyed a strong 2020. Not only did the then-new Team oNe roster finish fourth at the Six August Major, it also shot to the top of the top-flight BR6 competition in the regular season. Ironically, it would be knocked out in the semi-finals by the title-winning MIBR roster that now plays for FaZe Clan.
The then-Team oNe players did, however, still manage an impressive second place in the November Major and earned their spot at the Invitational. However, that was before FaZe Clan kickstarted an incredible roster shuffle with the purchase of four of the former MIBR players.
MIBR then responded in turn, buying out all five Team oNe players and their coach, too.
The Six Invitational 2020 will thus the first top-tier event for this roster, including Pro League Finals.
Still, Luca "LuKid" Sereno, Kaique "Faallz" Moreira, and Tassus "Reduct" Scarinci, as well as Budega, have attended the Allied Esports Minor and DreamHack Valencia 2019. While they manged a decent playoffs appearance in the former, they crashed out winless in the group stage in the latter.
Now, almost two years on, they gear up under the MIBR name for their first-ever Six Invitational as they seem to be hitting their stride at the right moment. Their appearance next week will follow a strong third place in Stage 1 of the BR6 and a close loss in the Grand Final of the Copa Elite Six to Invitational-favourites Team Liquid.
To understand this relatively green roster has been preparing, SiegeGG spoke to its analyst, Guille.
This roster, last year under Team oNe, basically picked up exactly where it had left off with third in the BR6 and second in the Copa Elite Six. Where is this consistency stemming from -- an unchanged roster since April 2020, perhaps?
The line-up has been together since 2018, with Reduct, Lukid and Faallz. Over the course of time, FelipoX entered in the team and the last one was Rappz. All of them knew each other, because they came from PS4. I met these boys when I was casting the amateur tournaments from PS4.
Do you anticipate such massive roster changes -- roster swaps, really -- becoming more commonplace? We saw quite a bit of shuffling in LATAM and even in NA this previous transfer window.
I believe that every February transfer window will allow these radical changes. It's the only one where you can swap the entire roster. Because of Faze Clan, we had eight teams shuffling here in LATAM.
How nerve-wracking was it when you were informed that you (and all the other Brazilian teams) could miss out on the Invitational? How did your team react?
We knew that would be a possibility and the boys here would have been very upset. This is the first-ever Major LAN for them. They have dreamed of this since 2018, I think.
Unfortunately, it's very bad for Wildcard, because even with the postponement they weren't able to travel .
How does your team approach a match, or a tournament as big as this one? What is the mentality like?
For them it will be the first [such tournament]. Before the flight, I talked a lot with them to remind them of the importance of their group strength, keep them focused on playing together. The idea is to "forget" who you are confronting and play the game without concerns and to have fun.
Pressure will be the biggest enemy for this new MIBR.
This will be the first-ever international Major for your team, and it will play out rather differently with the best of three other regions in the mix. How are you guys preparing for it?
Nothing extraordinary. We made a database of the teams and we will see on the battlefield how it will be. At the Invitational, everyone is big enough to give a good challenge.
What is your goal for the Invitational and how confident are you that you'll achieve it?
As it's the first SI for the new MIBR, I would be very proud if we are able to reach the Top 8 again. I will be far from them and I hope that they do not feel some pressure or some kind of fear against international teams.
What is your opinion on the changed format for the Invitational and how do you rate your chances in the group?
I like this format. All teams globally are being trained in the Best-of-One (Bo1) system and this will be good for the group stage. Best-of-Three, though, will be the real Siege.
I'm optimistic to get Top 4 in Group B.
Is there anything you want to say to your fans and maybe your competitors?
This will be an atypical Six Invitational, because all teams aren't with their full staff. This isn't ideal, but we (here at MIBR) are maximising our efforts to do a good job remotely.
To the MIBR crowd, I bet that you guys will be happy with this line-up. The boys are hyped and want to play soon.
Catch MIBR next in action on the 12th of May at 9 AM BRT (UTC-3), when they take on Virtus.pro live from Paris.