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"Now we are more like a unit": Peres happy with Black Dragons’ improvements throughout 2022 ahead of Major

After missing out twice this year, Black Dragons have finally qualified for a Major.

Image: Playback/Black Dragons

The last time Black Dragons qualified for an international event, they shared a group with Supremacy, YeaH! Gaming, and Counter Logic Gaming. Playing at the Six Invitational 2018, that Black Dragons team made it as deep as the semi-finals, falling to eventual champions PENTA Sports.

That team, led by Gustavo "Psycho" Rigal, then signed for Ninjas in Pyjamas and three years later they became world champions. The Black Dragons organization continued, however, and has finally assembled a roster with the strength to challenge internationally after years of signings and departures.

“It just feels really good, because Cherry (Black Dragons’ owner) gave everything to us so we can go to the Majors, Six Invitational, to us and the organization is a really good feeling,” revealed Vitor "Peres" Peres in an interview with SiegeGG.

This comes after an attempt to put together a similar run in 2021, but one that failed when Team Liquid signed Pablo "resetz" Oliveira after Stage 2. In response, Black Dragons scrambled to sign Guilherme "Bassetto" Bassetto to replace the rookie. In an interview with SiegeGG before the Six Invitational 2022 qualifiers, Peres shared his disappointment at losing resetz to a rival and shared that it forced the team to reset to “prepare ourselves”.

But now, after Bassetto settled into top-flight play alongside Felipe "nade" Ferreira, the team is finally ready to take the step up to the international stage.

Black Dragons signed nade at the start of the 2022 season. (Photo: @nade_R6)

“With that time, I think it was nine months, your mind is like… we think the same. The ideas are the same, we know what we need to do in the match to end, we trust more than ever in each other,”  explained Peres. “So, these roster changes are not good if you are changing every season, you don’t have time to practice.”

This is a problem that has plagued Black Dragons since the sale of its former roster to Ninjas in Pyjamas. Since then, the team has had over 20 names across its playing lineup and its staff. Halting momentum, results, or players like resetz outperforming expectations and getting snapped up by bigger teams, saw them play musical chairs for years.

Heading into the 2022 season, Black Dragons seemed to be stuck in the cycle again when Vinícius "live" dos Santos signed for 00 Nation. Igor "Vivas", tempted by Matheus "Budega" Figueiredo, signed for XSET, while the team parted ways with its coach Henrique "sSeiiya" Sanchez, who had been part of Black Dragons for almost three years.

In response, Black Dragons did what they have done many times before. They put their hopes in Brazil's second tier, signing Felipe “nade” Sá to replace live. Replacing Vivas and sSeiiya, meanwhile, was the former Santos e-Sports duo of Igor “freezao” Silva and Bruno “thug” Ferreira.

“Because of live (departure), Patoxy went to IGL,” Peres shared. “To us, everything changed because the way he sees the game is a little different than live’s, so his play style is different and I think every player is different now. … It’s another team.”

Black Dragons look capable of duking it out with the best now and Peres attributes that to the team’s mentality, progression, and experiences throughout the season. It took two failed attempts to close out the stage earlier in the year before Black Dragons qualified for a Major, but it always felt achievable. They were disappointing in the first two stages, not because they lacked the ability to qualify -- but precisely because they had the capability to do so.

In Stage 1, Black Dragons finished in fifth place tied up with FURIA Esports in fourth. Meanwhile, in Stage 2, the team finished in sixth place despite having been in second place with just two matches left. In disappointing fashion, defeats against Ninjas in Pyjamas and Black Dragons saw them nosedive out of the top four on the final day of the BR6.

“Now we are more like a unit, not just individual players,” said Peres of his team finally sticking the landing. According to him, the team was “not so (tactically) prepared as we are right now” in Stage 1, while the players were “not emotionally so prepared” in Stage 2. 

The Black Dragons roster is dangerous. With no pressure on their shoulders, the chances of them flying under the radar to pull off a perceived upset is high. What’s more, Peres is not afraid of CAG, Soniqs, or MNM Gaming -- the three teams in their group -- or any other team at the event.

“I think the Brazilian  league has different play styles, we have teams like Liquid, they are more slow they want to play in the last seconds of the round, we have FURIA Esports, the more aggressive team, FaZe Clan are the more flexible,” he concluded. “We don’t think [playing a variety of teams] is going to be a huge problem.”

Catch Black Dragons on the international stage again at the Jönköping Major, which will take place from Nov. 21 to 27. 

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