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"Working among the best forces you to be better": FURIA leaning on both regional and international experience before Mexico

From dead last in 2020 to the Six Invitational 2021 and the Mexico Major, FURIA has come a long way. SiegeGG caught up with its coach, Twister, ahead of his team’s appearance at the Major.

After more than a full year without in-person events, the entire Siege community had been excited for May 2021, when the best players were finally gathering in Paris to compete at the Six Invitational 2021.

But for FURIA’s fans, this was more than just a return to international events. It was also a chance to see teams that had emerged from the chaos of 2020 make their international debuts, with FURIA being a particularly fascinating one. 

After securing a license to compete in the BR6 for 2020, FURIA made its top-flight debut with a roster full of inexperienced but promising wunderkinds. But the value of experience was not lost upon the team, with former Black Dragons, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and FaZe Clan coach Marlon “Twister” Mello set to provide a guiding hand.

“I am an experienced coach, I always know what I want in my team as I have dealt with many game styles. My experience gives the team confidence, it is like being the father of the team”, Twister revealed about his role.

Twister while coaching FaZe Clan at the Raleigh Major in 2019.

FURIA had a debut to forget. After a winless Stage 1, it could not bounce back in time and had to play in the relegation match to avoid losing its top-flight spot.

Just before the crucial match, the team decided to drop Renan “fredQx” Lucas and stick with Victor “Bersa” Hugo in what was a somewhat questionable decision. By the numbers, fredQx had been the best player on the team with a 0.96 rating, while Bersa had been the lowest-rated player at a 0.76. 

The risky change paid off. FURIA won the relegation match and, after months of struggles in the Brasileirão, even managed to book a ticket to compete at the Six Invitational 2021.

“My work and Bernardo’s work [FURIA’s CS:GO performance coach] was the key to our success. We could get the players to work together, control their feelings, and deal with problems”, he explained.  

But FURIA was not yet satisfied with the status quo, opting to drop Victor “Bersa” Hugo after Daniel “Novys” Novy signed with Mexican squad Atheris. Stepping up to the top-flight plate were two FURIA Academy players instead, Diogo “Fntzy” Lima and Rennan “R4re” Silva, with both having had no top-flight experience.

“They are the youngest players in the team but they have done fantastically so far,” said Twister of their performance. “They were a bit concerned at the beginning of the season, but they have done so well. They are some of the best in the league in their roles, perhaps some of the best players in the world.” 

The statistics back up Twister's claims well, with Miracle tied for first in the 2021 Stage 2 BR6 leaderboard for clutches and R4re also tied for first in terms of defuser plants. Miracle also had the eighth-highest rating in Stage 2, with Fntzy completing the Top 10 in the league.

“R4re has more plants than some veterans, while Fntzy had a great impact with his confidence and communication”, he added.  

With two rookies alongside the initial Challenger League core of Gabriel “h1ghs” Pacheco and Luiz “Miracle” Abrantes, captained by Thiago “LENDA” Torres, and coached by the highly experienced Twister, a new FURIA was born. 

“I believe that we are the future of Brazil”, he said. “We work differently to other teams, we have a long-term plan, we want to evolve and create a big group. Right now, we are not the team that we want to be, we are learning”, he explained.

After a Top 3 lockout by Brazilian teams at the Six Invitational, few can disagree that the title of 'best region' goes to the BR6. And facing those teams week in and week out is no small factor in the snowballing strength for the others in the BR6, with FURIA no exception.

“I believe that Brazil has been the best region for a long while, but we did not have the right mindset, which made the teams lose”, commented Twister. "Working among the best forces you to be better.”

FURIA has been making strides despite some missteps along the way.

The Six Invitational 2021 was FURIA's first international appearence. (Photo: Ubisoft/Joao Ferreira) 

The team finished in fourth place in Stage 1 of the 2021 BR6 but was unimpressive in the Copa Elite Six, losing to FaZe Clan, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and the Mexicans of Atheris. But, at least in hindsight, Twister is upbeat about the losses.

“Despite the result, I think that we played well. The results were always close, three 7-5 losses against NiP, FaZe Clan, and was a matter of experience and mentality. It taught us how to control our thoughts”, he explained.

Immediately after, FURIA took its domestic lessons learned to heart for its international debut at the Six Invitational 2021. There, after a massive 2-0 win against DarkZero Esports in the playoffs, FURIA found itself a map up against BDS. But things fell apart after that Oregon victory.

“We lost some key rounds on Clubhouse, the second map”, he explained. “Then the players were tired and BDS exploited our weaknesses, it was all about mentality. It was not our time to win the game.”

In general, the thirst for experience is what defines FURIA. The team has in its hands some of the youngest talents in Brazil and a wealth of experience available. None gets wasted, says Twister, as FURIA keeps learning from its mistakes, getting used to the pressure, and working on mentality and adaptability. "Experience is something really important", concluded Twister.

According to Twister, the team’s inexperience at the beginning of the project was also the reason for its lack of entry-kills, as the players lack the knowledge on how to "swing around the map to find tricky kills". These numbers got even worse on Stage 2 as the team's focus shifted to ensuring defuser plants.

FURIA Esports' entry numbers at the Brasileirão Stage 2 compared to their league opponents.

This could turn out to be a problem, as FURIA share a Mexico Major group with Spacestation Gaming (SSG) and Natus Vincere (Na’Vi). Both teams have two of the best players in terms of opening-kills, Jack “Doki” Robertson (Na’Vi) and Matthew “Hotancold” Stevens (SSG), and will look to abuse their strengths. APAC is not represented in Group B after the Knights will be unable to attend due to Australian travel restrictions.

Twister even praised the American player, considering him to have had “a great impact on SSG, providing them with opening-kills and frags”.

SMM2021 Groups 960X540

FURIA will have to face two of the most in-form teams in the world in the group stage. While SSG ended Stage 2 of the NAL with an impressive 7-0-1-0 record, Na’Vi finished in third place in the EUL. 

“The problem with facing SSG will be their experience, it is going to be a hard time”, Twister explained. “About Na’Vi, I believe that people are underestimating us and our group, we both are good enough to make Group B the Group of Death.”

The Mexico Major will also use a different format, as teams will play in a double-round robin group stage. Twister welcomes this change, as he believes “that is how groups should always work in Siege”, with the seeds ensuring just one team per region in a group.

Now, after a fifth place in the BR6 and a semi-finals appearance in the Copa Elite Six, the team looks ready to take another step forward. 

“We want to win the whole thing”, he said. "It is a step that we are ready to take, being a champion.”

Catch FURIA in the Six Mexico Major opening game against Spacestation Gaming, set to be played on the main Rainbow6 Twitch channel on the 17th of August at 5:30 PM CDT (UTC-5).

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