Banner image: Ubisoft/Kirill B.
When Spacestation Gaming had taken down Natus Vincere yesterday in regulation time yesterday, FURIA had been mid-scrim. Its players and staff had absolutely no idea what the result of that game had actually meant. Not only did the result put NAVI out of playoff contention, it also confirmed SSG and FURIA’s berths in the Top 8.
“We were in the middle of a scrim,” said FURIA coach Marlon “Twister” Mello, translating the Portuguese words of Luiz Augusto “Miracle” da Silva Abrantes in a Ubisoft press conference. “We didn’t know at the time that this happened, but after that we had a little conversation and we were pretty excited about being qualified for the playoffs early.”
So far, FURIA has only played two matches in a three-team group as Knights was unable to attend due to Australian travel restrictions. Both had gone down to the wire and the Brazilians had very narrowly eked out 8-7 wins.
“The players were a little bit nervous at the first moments,” explained Twister. “But they developed really well during the stressful situations. So, I believe it’s just a matter of time that we’ll be able to win the matches in regular time.”
Once again, as it had prior to the start of the Mexico Major, the conversation strayed towards bonding together and securing experience, with this specific five-man roster only having come together five months ago. That experience, said Twister on behalf of Gabriel “Highs” Pacheco, is why FURIA managed to turn both 7-7 games into 8-7 wins.
“Our team already went through a lot of 7-7 situations against big teams in Brazil and at the (2021) Invitational,” he explained. “So, we were really prepared and really relaxed (for) when that time comes, so people were communicating [well], people were calm, and knew that if we lost that map we would have another map to play.”
Sure enough, have a look back at FURIA’s recent results, and overtime maps are peppered uniformly throughout -- a win and a loss against Team Liquid in the BR6, an 8-6 map over DarkZero at SI, and an 8-7 win and loss against G2 Esports and FaZe Clan at the same event, respectively.
While happy with the way the group has gone, Twister made sure to add that the early qualification “changes nothing” when it comes to his team’s preparation for the final two games against SSG and NAVI today. FURIA very much still wants to top Group B and receive the preferential seeding, much like what SSG coach Justin “Lycan” Woods had also said for his own team.
“We will play like we always do… no hiding strategies,” said Miracle, initially. But FURIA is well aware of its tactical advantage having played fewer maps and already having secured playoffs qualification. “I just think that we may be [changing] our play style a little bit… I think it will be more to enjoy the game (now), you know, to be more relaxed, to improve, basically.”
As such, while FURIA plays its final two group stage games today, its focus is now changing to the playoffs, where it wants revenge on BDS Esport for eliminating the team at SI 2021.
“Now that we are in the playoffs, I think it’s a good time to think about (winning) the title,” said Miracle honestly, despite a somewhat embarrassed laugh. “We’re going to do our best to make it.”
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