CS:GO 2018 Retrospective: The failed international experiment of MIBR - Upcomer
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The year 2018 saw a multitude of CS:GO teams fail to live up to their expectations. MIBR (Made in Brazil) undoubtedly belongs on that list of teams. With such figures as Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo or Marcelo “coldzera” David on the team, one trophy (ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018) against mediocre teams at best simply does not line up with how much talent is present on the roster. This article recounts the transfers and events of SK Gaming and MIBR organizations in chronological order.

TACO departs from SK Gaming

It all started with Epitacio “TACO” de Melo leaving SK Gaming. He was an active player for SK Gaming from mid-2016 until March in 2018. TACO had already been replaced (on loan) by the former Immortals player Ricardo “boltz” Prass, so it was no surprise to see him leave. He decided to try his wits in America by signing for Team Liquid. Despite the team’s strength, they failed time and time again against Astralis, yet the talented Brazilian seemed to fit right into the American organization.

TACO would leave his teammates and go to the USA to play for Team Liquid.

TACO had his fair share of achievements at SK Gaming. In the years 2016 and 2017, he’d won a total of seven trophies, including events such as ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals against FaZe Clan or back-to-back ESL One: Cologne triumphs. SK seemed to be on a roll coming from 2017 and ready for what was to come in 2018. Unfortunately, as we know, that was not really the case. The departure of TACO seemed to mark the end of a phenomenal eight-trophy run on LANs of SK Gaming in 2017.

Drastic changes begin and Stewie2K comes on board

Jake “Stewie2K” Yip’s arrival was perhaps one of the most shocking transfers of the year. The young American had just won a Major in Atlanta with his former team, Cloud9. It didn’t take much time for Stewie2K to transfer over to SK Gaming after Cloud9’s victory, barely two months later.

Stewie2K joins the SK Gaming family.

Coming in for TACO who had departed to Team Liquid, Stewie2K’s play style was much different. Renowned for pushing through smokes, picking up the AWP on occasions or lurking in unexpected areas, Stewie was a force to deal with in the right lineup. It was a big change from the more composed and supportive play style presented by TACO. Looking promising to some while doubted by others about whether the new lineup would work, one major problem arose with the American coming into an all-Brazilian roster.

Having previously had Brazilian-bred players, a language barrier formed. Stewie2K was unable to communicate in Portuguese. This forced the squad to attempt to communicate in English, something that surely, coldzera, and boltz were not particularly happy about since their English was mediocre at best. SK’s performance following Stewie’s arrival was questionable. The players struggled to find their stride, and it certainly looked like it would take a while for the squad to adjust.

From SK Gaming to MIBR, time to represent Brazil

The SK Gaming roster is actually a German esports organization, at first named Schroet Kommando. Made up mostly of Brazilian players, FalleN and co. aspired to represent their own country. There were rumors of talks in early 2018 of a Made in Brazil organization forming by Immortals; however, what players would join this roster was unknown until shortly before the acquirement.

The roster following the acquirement from SK Gaming by the brand new MIBR.

All of the present players at the time, FalleN, Stewie2K, coldzera, boltz, and fer, would now be playing under the Immortals-owned MIBR organization. And so, SK Gaming effectively ceased to exist. We have not seen or heard anything since the organization lost its once highly successful roster.

Stewie2K brings an old friend as tarik joins MIBR

Tarik “tarik” Celik, the in-game leader of Cloud9 and Stewie2K’s former teammate, had joined the brand new MIBR just a few weeks after the roster changed banners. It certainly must have made Stewie2K happy to see an old friend join his team. However, it did go against the whole Brazilian team ideology as the team would have two players from the USA now on board.

Tarik joins MIBR as the in-game leader.

Tarik would come in and take FalleN’s role as the in-game leader. This had an amazingly positive effect on FalleN’s dynamic AWPing ability and fragging. At times we would see FalleN hit shots like back in the day, with an aggressive play style, flicking on opponents while being right in their face. Despite that, it would now take double the effort to overcome the language barrier as tarik would, much like Stewie2K, communicate in English. This had an added effect as tarik would take the reins as the in-game leader.

A strategic move: YNk comes in as coach

From analyst to coach. YNk would try to bring MIBR to the top.

One of the most acclaimed analysts on the CS:GO scene as well as a former player, Janko “YNk” Paunović would join the MIBR organization as coach. A very unexpected move saw one of the top analysts try his wits as coach. YNk’s knowledge of the competitive scene and various strategies and play styles was undoubtedly massive. Having such experience behind any player’s back must give some sort of a boost in confidence.

Following YNk’s arrival, we would finally see a complete team. It took over half a year of transfers and a transition to finally attain what seemed like a complete and ready roster. While that may have been the case, MIBR did not impress for the rest of 2018. Following a win at ZOTAC Cup Masters, which was more of a training session, MIBR struggled to win anything after that. On two occasions they would face Astralis in the final of a LAN, at BLAST Pro Series: Istanbul and Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals, and lose both. At the FACEIT Major, they did go as far as the semi-final before losing against s1mple’s Na’Vi, which, although not disappointing, must have left the team bitter. The once well-oiled machine under the SK Gaming banner was struggling to find its stride.

2019: It’s time to go back

It wouldn’t take much time for MIBR to go all-Brazilian once again. After a rough 2018, FalleN and co. must have realized that this wouldn’t work or they were fed up with not retaining the form they presented in 2017 under SK Gaming. Made in Brazil would decide to really go all-Brazilian this time.

On Dec. 21 a shocking trade would take place. Team Liquid would trade their coach Wilton “zews” Prado and TACO for Stewie2K. This move benched the former coach, YNk, and it wouldn’t be much longer before tarik was also benched.

In mid-January, MIBR would bring João “felps” Vasconcellos to the squad. Felps was an active member of the SK Gaming squad for most of 2017 before becoming inactive and going over to the underwhelming INTZ eSports. To complete the all-Brazilian roster, felps would now return to his old teammates to form the ultimate Brazilian formation.

It was a long road, but FalleN is now part of a fully Brazilian squad and organization.

And so, Made in Brazil would really become fully Brazilian. After a turbulent 2018 filled with ambition yet lackluster results, the beginning of 2019 has seen the squad go back in time to 2017. The failed international experiment probably taught coldzera, FalleN, and fer that clear team communication is paramount and that bringing on board talents may not be the way to immediate victory. After the transfers, the Brazilian super team looks as follows:

  • Marcelo “coldzera” David
  • Epitacio “TACO” de Melo
  • Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo (in-game leader)
  • Fernando “fer” Alvarenga
  • João “felps” Vasconcellos
  • Wilton “zews” Prado (coach)

Let us hope to see a new, better, and bolder version of SK Gaming from 2017, now under a 100 percent Brazilian squad of MIBR.