MIBR.exit Interview: Brazilian scene, idols, Apoka, and more

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By Arseny Kuzminsky, CS.MONEY

MIBR‘s rifler explains how the Brazilian scene works, names an FPS game more popular than CS:GO, and recalls his youth days.

2021 was not an easy year for Raphael exit Lacerda, as he admits. At the beginning of the year, he was playing for Sharks Esports, and on March 31, he left for MIBR. It was very tough, exit says, because they had many problems with the lineup and had to play two BLAST Premier tournaments with stand-ins. So they didn’t have practice for the RMR, they didn’t get the spot for the Major because some of the guys had problems, and it was very tough for him. 

And Raphael wanted this year to be a lot better. But the first time they went abroad, they had  the same problems.

“The things are not going so well. We don’t have the full lineup available. Chelo has COVID, so he couldn’t come to Germany to practice. And we had to bring brnz4n from the academy team, but we are trying; we are playing a lot of CS. Every day.”

It’s not the first time brn is standing in for MIBR. Exit says he is a very talented, young, and almost a solid tier-1 player. 

“He listens to us. He’s a good guy. He is always open to new ideas, and he’s very talented. He has one of the best aims I’ve ever seen. He is pure aim. So I think he’ll be one of the greatest. But he’s also cool. He’s playing the third BLAST for us, and I think he’s used to it. So it’s very normal for him already. He’s going to be ready for the main lineup soon.”

Currently placed in Germany, MIBR are going to move to Poland in two weeks to continue bootcamping there. Still, they had started practicing in full strength only a couple of days before BLAST Premier: Spring Groups 2022 because they were waiting for brn to come. 

Exit though is used to traveling a lot. He is an experienced player who has played outside Brazil for a long time. But other members of the squad are just learning. “For them, it’s a bit harder because they don’t know lots of stuff, but they’re getting used to it as well,” says Raphael, “But Tuurtle, for example, has already traveled a lot before MIBR, and he’s okay”.

Right before the start of the tournament, MIBR‘s head coach Alessandro Apoka Marcucci has left the team. He retired from CS:GO and decided to stay with his family and stream. Exit highlights Apoka‘s influence on him and his teammates.

“He’s a very good guy. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like him. He’s a lovely guy. He was very important for the team but I understand his choice to leave the team because he needed to stay in Brazil with his family, to do what he wants to do. I’m happy for him, but I’m sad because he left us. Still, I’m happy because it’s the best for him.

“I would say that he helped me a lot with the CT side, because I play solo bombs most of  the maps, and he helped me a lot. He gave me a lot of tips on how to play in that position. I learned a lot from him. 

“He helped [mentally] a lot as well, because he was always a positive guy. When we were not in a good day, he was always there to cheer for us, to hype us to play good CS. So he was very important for me and for the team.”

Still, exit is optimistic about the upcoming tournament and the team’s future. Asked about MIBR‘s goals and expectations for the BLAST Premier: Spring Groups 2022, he opens his heart. “I’ll tell the truth. We’ll do our best, we are playing a lot of CS, and we try our best because we don’t have the full lineup here, but I think we can win some matches.

“[For this year,] my goal is the same as for my team because I always think about my team and our goals. First, reach good results at BLAST, win some tournaments. We can be in the finals or in third place. It would be good for us. And qualify for the Major. I think that would be the two goals for us.”

Before the tournament, exit and his boys have already played praccs against the most prominent European teams.

“The other day we practiced against Gambit and Virtus.pro. Two of the greatest teams in the world right now. The European praccs are the best. We always play against the tier-1 teams and it’s very good to play against them.

“Here, the style of play is low, the players play more calmly. And in Brazil, there’s a lot of explosions, everyone wants to win rounds with their aim, like open here, kill the guy, open one more time, kill the guy again. So I think here the game is more strategic. While in Brazil, people like to resolve the game only with the aim.”

Speaking about Brazil, exit decides to recall his youth days. He started CS 1.6 in 2008 and stuck to the game for four years. But then, 1.6 vanished: there were no more tournaments. When it happened, exit switched to… League of Legends

“I played League of Legends for three years. And then my passion for CS came back again. I started to play with friends, just matchmaking and FACEIT. And then I started to play tournaments with my friends, only with them. I wasn’t expecting to win, I was playing more for fun. And then I understood that I loved CS:GO a lot, and I started to play more seriously. And then in 2016, I joined a good team, and we won some tournaments. We played together for one year, and then I went to Sharks Esports. I stayed there for almost four years, living abroad in Europe. Five years playing outside Brazil.

“I was playing some good tournaments in Brazil, and I was playing good. I was one of the best players at that time, and then they were trying to build the team and they were missing one. I remember the lineup, it was Nak, GW, KHTEX, and Leo_drk, who’s playing for 00nation right now. And they were missing one player and they called me and I said, let’s go because I had the dream to play outside Brazil, play in Europe or North America.

“Nowadays CS:GO is bigger than it was back in the days. The teams right now in Brazil can live from CS, while back in 2016, they couldn’t. Nowadays the scene has grown up a lot and it’s huge.”

But how can young and talented players put some light on themselves in the BR scene? Is it difficult for younger players to find a place in the top teams? Exit tells us.

“Today it’s easier to get there because if you play a lot of Gamers Club [a platform for CS:GO players like FACEIT but is way more popular in Brazil] games, they’ll see you. It’s the most common way: you play a lot of MMR matches and people are going to see you, going to watch you. And if you play good, be a good guy, you’ll find a team.”

Specifying about the good guys, exit underlines what’s really important for the younger players. “I mean, I see a lot of young guys not respecting the old guys, and that’s bad. I don’t respect that”.

Speaking about the disadvantages of the Brazilian scene, exit names problems that he thinks should be solved as soon as possible. 

“There’s a lot of talent in Brazil, a lot of good players, but we don’t have as many opportunities as other teams from North America or Europe have. Even Australia has some good tournaments. And Brazil doesn’t. I don’t understand that. Give more tournaments to Brazil, host more tournaments. We have the viewership, one of the biggest in the world. We have that. We have good players. We have everything.”

But even though we all acknowledge the power of Brazilian passion, exit says that CS:GO is surprisingly not the most popular FPS in the country. “FreeFire is the biggest in Brazil right now. You can play it on your cell phone also, and the most viewership in Brazil is at FreeFire right now.”

Exit didn’t have a specific idol he followed in CS:GO, but he understands and respects what some legends have done for their region. For example, Fallen or ColdZera.

“I always cheer for them. I always watched them playing. I really like them, but I don’t have that player that I always look for. I play for me, for my team, and that’s it. But I respect them a lot because what we have today is because of them. But kids like Fallen, he’s the biggest idol in Brazil. I think a lot of kids watch up for him.”

Fallen‘s new project is Last Dance: a squad of Brazilian legends will try their hand and bring back the glory to the region. Here’s what exit thinks about it. 

“It’s going to be good to watch them playing together again because they were the best back in the days. My opinion is that they will have to work very hard to be in  tier-1 again. I don’t know if they will make it, but I’m going to cheer for them. Every Brazilian will be cheering for them because they are the biggest idols for us.”

Rafael also wanted to thank the fans separately at the end of our conversation.

“We’re trying very hard. Even with the circumstances, we are playing a lot of CS. We’ll do our best to represent this tag best. And I hope Brazil will be with us.”

Right after that, exit’s squad has won their opening match against NAVI

MIBR.exit’s three favorite skins:

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