Editor’s Note: The following interview was originally conducted for our /br/ audience and re-translated into English. Go to the following link to read the original.
After winning the two opening matches, Team Liquid made it to the finals of the Upper Bracket and faced G2 Gozen. Ahead of their biggest test, Esports.net Brazil had the opportunity to talk to the team’s coach, André “palestra” Daguano.
We talked about the games against FENNEL and Shopify Rebellion, the impact of the crowd, and the expectations for the match against G2 Gozen.
“It’s great to see that the spectators in Europe and United States support us”
EsportsDotNet: In your debut match, you played very well and were even surprised by FENNEL. In your opinion, did this close result and defeat on a map have more to do with the strategy they chose, or was it something like nervousness because you are at the World Championship?
Palestra: So they play a different kind of game. I do not want to make a direct comparison, but there are some teams in the world that you know have a special style of play, something very unique. For example, Paper Rex, became very famous and came second in the VCT Masters Copenhagen 2022 because they played their style. And FENNEL played its style. So we (Team Liquid) were not used to reacting to many of the situations they proposed from game to game.
And I think we were at the moment when we were thinking a lot about their game and less about ours. As a result, we started to neglect the basics, like communication, quick substitutions, winning positions, and so on. Then we thought too much and became static, as you can see in the game.
At different times the girls were very quiet, without much information on the map. Then some isolated kill situations ended up hurting a little bit. There were plays where we were too bold in an advantage situation and ended up giving away an advantage.
That made the game a bit more complicated, but for me, 80% of the problems that occurred there had not so much to do with the meta of FENNEL, but with the fact that we thought too much about their game and forgot to play our own.
EsportsDotNet: One of the factors that attracted a lot of attention at the VCT Game Changers Championship is the fact that, unlike LOUD, Team Liquid has a lot of fans VCT Champions.
We see fans with signs, always with slogans like “Vamos Liquid”, “LetsGoLiquid” and even messages to the players. Do you think that’s because of your charisma or the fact that Team Liquid is a European organization?
Palestra: I think Liquid has a good base, it’s a Dutch-American organization, so there are a lot of fans here who cheer for the team as a whole. However, I think that little by little through our work and the championships we have won, we have been able to gradually convince these fans that we are a good team and that we can go far in the championship. So I can say we have a base, but I can not say it’s big or favorable for us.
I think in general people still want to see us lose. But it’s great to see the support of the fans and the Brazilians who follow the girls’ path and believe in them. So this support has been very different for us. Many people want to help us, you know?
It’s very satisfying, after all the work and work and work, to see that people from the scene want to help us with the game. They come to share ideas and want us to conquer the world. Whether you like it or not, Brazil is united in this regard and brings cool energy to the game.
And it’s also nice to see the people from outside Brazil supporting us. So that’s not something we are imagining. The Europeans send us messages, and DMs, cheer us on, wish us the best, cheer us on, want us to be champions, regardless of nationality. That’s a very positive thing. But still, I think everyone wants to see us lose.
In addition to the spectators and the expectations, the support in Brazil is also gigantic. Do you think this expectation can influence the players’ nervousness a little?
I do not think so. Because we have gotten used to this high level of expectation all year. They have always expected us to win championships and do well throughout the year. I do not think that will have an impact. We will bring what we have trained, and what we have learned in the games. To be completely honest, we did not bring that pressure into the World Cup game.
Let us say that here, at the VCT Game Changers Championship, are the eight best teams in the world. There is no stupid team here. So I can say that there is no pressure. I also feel that there is no favorite team. I do not feel that way. I do not think the girls feel that way either. We are more concerned with being ourselves, being the people who got us here, at the Women’s World Cup.
EsportsDotNet: About the game, you had against Shopify Rebellion GC. It was a very big change to see in Team Liquid. You started losing the first map, turned the second, and had a clear victory in the decisive one. You remember that you lost to FENNEL Female on the map Icebox.
What was that task like? How was the cooperation with the players during these changes?
Palestra: That’s just how it is when you lose a game when you make the decisions that were agreed upon when you show the reactions that were agreed upon. When you have a close result and you play a well-played game and you see that sometimes in one round or another an individual decision or even the decision, let us say together, we lose a round, that does not affect the psychological.
We played what was supposed to be played, and we lost because of merit or because we did not have the right objective in a round, but we made the right decisions. So when we lost the first map in Fracture, we thought, “Okay, the game was great, we made the decisions we wanted to make, and we can win the game from here.” The game is going to be played, we are going to have a series, that was the feeling going into the second map.
And Bind, after losing to B4 Esports in the VCT Game Changers Brasil grand final, we had extra affection. Because we knew that other teams would try to play inside that gap, in BO3 (Best of three maps, system used in Valorant championships). So I thought it was strange that FENNEL did not want to draw that map against us, but I knew that all other teams would try to explore that side. Also because no championship team does not play Bind.
So a lot of them would look at that old result and think we have a gap, a weakness. That’s why we care so much and work hard so that when the card drops in a series, they do not know how to deal with our game. So we can say that it was something we thought about before.
EsportsDotNet: Finally, Team Liquid’s next game will be against the European G2 Gozen. Even during the press conference before the championship started, the team player Mimi praised you (Team Liquid). She even said that you acted as a training partner during the trunk camp in Europe.
How are the preparations for the encounter (G2 Gozen) with them going?
We will play our game. We already played together in another bootcamp in Europe about three months ago. I like them, the players, and their coach, Carcass. We have a very good and friendly relationship. So it’s a team that we respect a lot, that we like and that we want to have a great game against.
If we came here for this Championship, I am sure our paths would eventually cross. So I have a lot of respect for them, I like their style of play and I like all the professionals who play there. We have even traded jerseys.
As they say, “Friends, friends, separate games.”.
That’s it. I feel like we are very well prepared and it’s going to be a great game. The team that emerges victorious from this duel will be more than ready for the Grand Final. However, whoever comes out on top in the lower group can also deliver a great game in the lower group and possibly make it to the Grand Final.
In short, it’s a mixture of feelings, respect, and admiration, I like their work, and I like the professionals who are there. Let us play our game. We already understand a little of their game, but it’s much more about us being ourselves and doing what we already know.