Analyzing MIBR: What Worked and What Didn’t (Part 2)
Previously, we took a dive into the history of the current players in the MIBR lineup, seeing as João "felps" Vasconcellos made his return to the core lineup of Brazilians after his stint in SK Gaming throughout 2017 and touched on what proved successful for the players throughout that time. However, today, the topic of discussion will be what did not work since that time, to see what can be changed in order to top the scene once again.
felps’ former Immortals teammate Ricardo “boltz” Prass would soon replace the young star with still much to learn, as boltz had played with most of the players in the lineup in previous teams. They found instant success with EPICENTER 2017, breezing through the likes of a powerful Virtus pro, FaZe Clan, and Astralis to cement a spot in the finals against VP once again, where they would win in a 3 to 2 fashion in the best-of-five. Despite winning three respectable LANs in the team’s existence, multiple disappointing showings at events like StarLadder Season 4 and IEM XII meant another roster change was on the horizon.
In one of the most controversial roster changes in 2018, SK Gaming, who had signed contracts under MIBR in tandem with this move, would introduce the North American superstar Jake “Stewie2K” Yip to the lineup. This move would see longtime support player Epitácio "TACO" de Melo step down in favor of a place in North America among Team Liquid. On paper, this could have been a move to pay off in dividends in terms of how the team’s roles changed, however, a combination of positional compromise between players and the shift in language from Portuguese to English proved to be a difficult obstacle to overcome. Another 3 months of Premier LAN failure would lead right into their MIBR contracts for the second half of 2018.
July 14th, 2018 and MIBR had decided to stray even farther away from their namesake, with MIBR meaning “Made in Brazil”, by adding the American player Tarik “tarik” Celik to the lineup in place of boltz. The team including even more aggression into their playstyle is a decision that seemed like a gamble to most, but MIBR felt that this was the move necessary to help their team ascend to an elite level once again.
The reunited ELEAGUE 2018 Major winning duo of the aforementioned Stewie2K and tarik aimed to revitalize the Brazilian core, but alas, they were still unable to work around the communication issues and ended up without a single Premier event victory in their 4 month stint together. Another issue the two players brought to the team was in limiting fer’s ability to play the overwhelmingly aggressive playstyle he is known so well for. fer rocked a 1.14 opening kill rating from his days with Lincoln “fnx” Lau up until adding Stewie and subsequently tarik, dropping to 1.08 to make room for their needs as individuals. Even with the acclaimed Counter-Strike mind Janko “YNk” Paunovic helping behind the scene, things still continued to look disjointed and lopsided within the server.
Looking back, we can see that an overwhelming amount of unrelented aggression put a damper on MIBR’s game, but with the right balance of aggression, positioning, and utility usage on a team plane, they were capable of overthrowing even the mightiest of foes. These core aspects can be seen within the original Major winning Luminosity Gaming lineup, as well as throughout felps’ initial stint with the current core of MIBR.
With the Brazilian Godfather opting to return to a previous formula, it may just turn out to be the recipe to success. It would be blasphemy to say that the core of Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Marcelo “coldzera” David, and Fernando “fer” Alvarenga don’t have what it takes to play at an elite level, so this is not a plaguing issue at face value. TACO has already shown that he still has what it takes to play with and against the courtesy of his stellar performances with Team Liquid, who held a top 3 place in the world for a majority of his time with the team. The two big factors to take into account when analyzing this move are the return of not only felps, but former Luminosity and SK Gaming coach zews as well.
The time given to felps since his last spell in the team has allowed him to figure out how to become a more versatile and unique player in his own right, fixing some of the issues we had seen in terms of predictability and inconsistency. While he was in no way “bad” before, he has only been granted the time to improve on himself as an individual since being humbled by his first dismissal.
Amid the Team Liquid atmosphere, zews was praised as one of the greatest coaches in the game by many; fans, analysts, and players alike. He was respected as both help in the tactical department and a sort of mental coach, whether that be bringing the team together in moments of despair or keeping them together while they were up, improving on their apparent “choke” issue. zews was not a part of the 2017 SK Gaming felps team, and this may prove to be just what they were missing.
All in all, the return to mother tongue, regaining of balance between roles, and presence of a familiar voice behind the team may boost the players into a state that we have not seen in quite some time, bringing them back to their former glory. As of right now, we will be seeing this new-old team in action at the IEM XIII Katowice Major in mid February of this year.