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"You need to be like a big chameleon": Budega describes "action style" and XSET's future beyond Charlotte

XSET's coach promised a new style in NA. So far, he's mostly delivered.

Image via Ubisoft/@itsmeERROR

Matheus “Budega” Figueiredo says that XSET isn’t playing with the famous “action style” he brought to MiBR just yet. 

It can take a while to get to a place where the action style is the first instinct. Fundamentally, Budega explains, it’s about not assuming anything. More structured North American teams can, at times, assume a certain reaction from other structured teams to a certain action. If you take the rook, they move the bishop, and so on and so on. Action style is not about anticipating anything, it’s about finding the gaps fast. 

If structured style takes a player, more often than not they’re going in one of only a few directions. Action style actively finds out the opponents’ next move, it does not assume, and it attempts to find it fast. 

It’s not easy to learn, Budega says, but he thinks he’s assembled a roster that can do it, that can punch as high or higher than his old MiBR squads. “To play ‘action’, you need to be like a big chameleon,” Budgea said in an interview with SiegeGG. He goes on to describe it as being in the best possible situation 100 percent of the time – not necessarily being ultra-aggressive or ultra-passive. It’s only based on what you see – there are not set in stone pre-determined plans.

At the beginning of the season, XSET had some struggles. They were crushed by what we know now was a very exhausted TSM FTX squad, and were thrashed by Spacestation Gaming 7-3 after roaring out to a 3-0 lead. The team is young, Budega explains, and there were a few touch-and-go moments. That changed when the second week hit, and Zachary “SpiritZ” Dionne began to settle in as the sole IGL. 

After their first two matches, XSET caught fire. They’ve only been slowed down by league-leading Astralis and Oxygen, who beat them in a pair of overtime 8-7 bouts. 

Coming into the Charlotte Major, they’ll likely be a dark-horse deep run pick by fans and analysts. 

XSET keeps improving every week, and isn’t completely lacking in the experience department. Evan “Yoggah” Nelson and Leo “Kyno” Figueiredo have been to two Six Invitationals and a Major, SpiritZ has been to an SI as well. Budega himself has coached a team to the final three at an SI – despite the ages of the players, this is not a team of youngsters. 

When this team does master the proverbial “action style”, they’ll be deadly. There’s a wealth of talent here, with the mechanical skill to completely dominate games once they learn how to set the pace in the manner action style dictates. “It’s just a matter of time,” Budega says. “It takes years of practices, years of experiences … it only comes with time.”

“...It’s a chess game,” Budgea says, and action is one of the ways you can play that leads to success. 

From how it’s described, it certainly seems like the best path forward. Preparation and map-intensive counterstrategies have taken a bit of a backseat due to the new nine map pool, making it difficult to get tons of effective counter-strategies, and attacker repick has enabled attackers to play faster than ever before. 

With even more practice under their belts, we could see an XSET that improves as the tournament goes on, regardless of the first day’s results. Budega says XSET had a month of scrimmages before the season began, and part of the work they’ve been doing during Stage 1 is getting used to each others’ specific playstyles. 

So, what are this team’s strengths right now, at the moment? Budega says they’re great “replicators” of what the coaching staff and SpiritZ are creating, and “they learn fast as fuck”. 

All the same, they better get to learning fast. Competition at the Major will be fierce, and one bad day could sink XSET’s chances of making it to the playoff stages. However, the one data point on this roster is that a slow start is followed by a blistering finish. 

XSET will next take the server at the Charlotte Major, which begins on May 16, and we'll see how far they've progressed over the NAL stage.