We’re only a few weeks away from seeing the debut of the new MiBR roster, which, admittedly, isn’t new at all. But, before we dive into the details regarding the new MIBR roster, it’s best that we take a look back at what they’ve achieved or done so far.
For the past twelve months or so, MIBR, who played under the SK Gaming banner for the better part of the first half of 2018, have established themselves as a solid Top 5 team. They, along with Natus Vincere, FaZe Clan, and Team Liquid, made up the quartet of teams gunning for the top spot, which Astralis have had an undisputed claim by virtue of posting a solid streak of LAN finishes that culminated in them taking home the Intel Grand Slam and pocketing an estimated $3.5 million in prize winnings alone — a run that would propel them on top of the conversation of the best CS:GO team of all time.
One could argue, however, that MiBR, though a solid contender, were not truly in contention for the #1 spot. Although the team was incredibly talented on paper and could often brute force their way through majority of the competition, the team lacked the strategical depth and chemistry required for a team to be truly considered an elite team.
As a result, MiBR decided to shake things up. Gone were Jake ‘Stewie2K‘ Yip and Tarik “tarik” Celik. In their places were familiar faces in Epitacio ‘TACO‘ de Melo and João ‘felps‘ Vasconcellos, with Wilton ‘zews‘ Prado also replacing Janko ‘YNk‘ Paunovic as the team’s coach.
Reunited at last, the new MiBR roster will look to regain their spot on top of the hierarchy, but the question now is, with Astralis looming ahead, can they do it?
A Look Back at their Previous Performance Under SK Gaming
For those not in the loop, the new MiBR roster is far from new. It is a collection of players that once played together successfully under the SK Gaming banner.
After winning nearly $2 million in 2016, the team, who was then considered the best CS:GO team in the world, decided that they needed a change of pace and gave felps a spot in their roster in February of 2017. Initially, felps struggled to find his place on the team, often looking lost within the controlled chaos of which SK Gaming liked to play at. But, eventually, as any great player would, felps was able to adjust, and from April to July of that same year, his aggressive, albeit now slightly more toned down, style of play would help SK Gaming take home five trophies, including huge wins at the ECS Season 3 Finals in London and ESL One Cologne 2017.
Heading into the PGL Krakow Major as one of the favourites to win it all, SK Gaming instead went home after losing in the quarterfinals to Astralis — a spot lower than their showing at that year’s previous Major, the ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta.
SK Gaming would never truly recover from the loss. After posting a string of losses that saw them fail to make the playoffs at the 2017 ELEAGUE CS:GO Premiere, SK Gaming decided to make a chance and brought in Ricardo ‘boltz‘ Prass, whose more passive style of play fit in immediately with the rest of the squad and allowed them to finish 2017 strong.
What Happened Next?
Some time after felps’ departure in 2017, the team’s in-game leader, Gabriel ‘FalleN‘ Toledo, provided some insights as to what led to the team to let go of the phenomenal young talent.
Fallen explained in an interview during EPICENTER 2017 that felps had to adjust his game a lot to accommodate the team, and though he was quite successful at first, it just wasn’t “fun for him to play [his new role] that way, because [his new role] is not the way he likes to play.” He added that, “it ended up that he didn’t really have the joy that somebody needed to have for when we want to play Counter-Strike.”
With felps now gone, SK Gaming flourished. But, even though, as mentioned earlier, SK Gaming ended 2017 on a good note, they could not sustain their success through 2018. Eventually, the proverbial bottom fell out on the team once again. This time around, however, their latest string of losses would cost them TACO, who had been part of the team’s core since 2016 and had played with Fallen since 2015, explaining on Twitter that he was no longer happy with how things were.
SK Gaming brought in Stewie2K to try and replace TACO. Although this was technically an upgrade at the same position, the team never really posted any notable finishes. On the other hand, TACO’s new team, Team Liquid, solidified themselves as an elite team following his acquisition.
Now, the very same lineup that complained about unhappiness is back together as the new MiBR roster, which actually raises a lot of questions.
We already know what this lineup could do. Or rather, what they did do two years ago, and they were incredibly good. But, we also know how it all turned out, and there’s really no telling whether or not that will happen again.
Of course, that’s assuming that people don’t change and players don’t mature.
In felps’ case, a lot has changed over the past year. You could even say that he’s been humbled by the experience. Following his release from SK Gaming, felps joined up with teams that allowed him to play the role that he was comfortable with the most. Although he did have an okay year individually, his teams — Não Tem Como, NoTag, and INTZ eSports — saw relatively little success. As a result, he now knows that his preferred style of play might not work as well as he had hoped for, and this time around, he could be more willing to adjust as part of the new MiBR roster.
At the same time, MiBR could be a lot more understanding. After their acquisition of felps as arguably the most obvious pickup back in 2017, they now add felps to a lineup where, even if he remains the most obvious pickup, he is also a player that the team absolutely needs.
This combination of felps knowing that he can’t always succeed playing the way that he wants to and MiBR being more open to adjusting more to let felps play the way he wants to, could bring about a positive change in the team that could potentially lead to a lot of success.
The All-Brazilian Factor
Communication is key to winning in CS:GO and when a team is not able to communicate properly, they can have a hard time winning, even if it’s full of individually talented players. We saw that many times last year with MiBR as the team looked like they weren’t always on the same page.
This should not come off as a surprise, though.
Both Stewie2K and tarik do not speak the same Native language as the rest of the team. This creates a barrier that can be quite hard to break down. Against top-tier teams and especially in tight games, the team’s communication, or rather, the lack thereof, was the crutch that prevented them from making the right split-second decisions and mid-round calls as they were so often forced to rely on their individual skill to carry them through games.
That shouldn’t be a problem this time around.
Having an all-Brazilian CS:GO roster means that every player on the team can speak the same language and allow them to communicate much more effectively.
If you look at how Astralis play games, it’s not very often that you see them brute force wins. They win because they do all of the right things as a team and make very few mistakes, regardless of who they’re playing against and if they’re playing ahead or from behind.
This is a level of cohesion achieved only by teams that know how to communicate and the new MiBR roster has all the right tools to make that happen.
We’ve already seen this lineup do great things together. At the same time, however, we’ve seen them fall flat on their face many times as well. Determining which of the two results we’ll get is something that only time can and will tell.
Of course, an underrated factor that a lot of people probably aren’t considering is how MiBR brought in zews to coach the team.
zews comes in as someone who has proven himself as arguably the second best coach in CS:GO, just next to Astralis’ very own Danny ‘zonic’ Sørense, and more importantly, as someone who spent most of 2018 helping Team Liquid school MiBR everytime they played. The fact that he has good rapport with the core of the lineup after having spent time as their coach under the Luminosity Gaming banner back in 2015-16 should only help his case.
As currently constructed, the new MiBR roster is a talented lineup filled with players who are looking to redeem themselves and continue racking up wins for the next few years. If they can set their personal differences aside, swallow their egos and pride, as well as work together to find a style of play that enables them to bring the best out of every player on the lineup, this is a lineup that could potentially dethrone Astrails.
What’s your take on the new MiBR roster? Do you think they’ll have a better showing than when they previously played together? Or, will the team, like then, blow up after a couple of months? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.