After an impressive showing at the BLAST.tv Paris Major RMR A, we got hold of Into The Breach’s Coach, Gustavo "Juve" Alexandre, for an interview. If you’d prefer to watch the video interview, you can do so below.
Congratulations on making the Legends Stage. Is it a relief to be going directly into this stage?
“Yeah, for sure. It was my first RMR, my first time making the Major. So, getting the Legends spot, it was just incredible. When we finished our game, we didn’t know for sure if we would get Legends or Challenger, but the admins told us at the time that if BNE (Bad News Eagles) won against FaZe, we would get a Legends spot. So, we were just watching the game, and we knew it was the one. Everyone was euphoric.”
Into The Breach compete in a lot of CCT events, but the RMR has teams that are ranked much higher. How was the preparation different for the RMR compared to these events?
“We did prepare for the games differently, but not because of the tier we were playing. We found an easier way to prepare for the games that suited us better. So, we just changed the way we were preparing – mostly me, because of course as the coach I need to prepare for the games! But “rallen” was helping me, and we did change how we wanted to approach the game a little bit. We all wanted to make sure we wanted to play, basically.”
During your first game of the RMR, you took NAVI to double overtime. Did this help inspire confidence that you could beat the top teams?
“For sure. Getting NAVI to Overtime – in the first game – we were like 14-13 up at a certain point, so of course it gave us something of a ‘new life’ for the rest of the games. The truth is, that NAVI game should have ended 16-4, realistically. We shouldn’t have even made Overtime, to be honest with you. How can I explain this? We were losing 12-4, and we just won a force resulting from a bad play from NAVI. So, they gave us the opportunity to create that momentum and start getting rounds. Getting those rounds is was what let us take the game to Overtime. The game should have ended way earlier, but I’m glad it didn’t. I’m glad the team showed effort after winning that force and kept putting pressure on them.”
Some people may not realise that the current line-up has only been together since February. If the team had been playing together slightly longer, do you think that could have helped to close out the game against NAVI?
“I don’t know. I think each game is a different game. For example, we could play against them today and get f*****. We could play against them tomorrow and win. For me, each game is always going to be different. It depends on the way that you approach the game. Even in my team that you saw in the RMR, we were going crazy. Seb – sorry, “volt” - was winning clutches, Cai (“cypher”) was insane as well after the game against NAVI. Everyone was playing really well. So, if it’s an off day, or we’re shooting better, etc. Everything makes a difference. I don’t like to think ‘Oh, if we had more time we could have won’ because that’s not how it works. Each game is a different game.”
This is a big opportunity for a team that hasn’t been together for very long, and given that this is the final CS:GO Major, the pressure must be immense. Is the team taking any additional steps to cope with the pressure?
“I feel like people keep looking at us like underdogs - of course, they will respect us more now that we secured a Legends spot at the Major - but if they keep looking at us like underdogs, I think we shouldn’t feel any pressure at all going in there. I think we should just keep doing our job, and consider how we want to approach the game, how we want to play, and not get bogged down by thoughts like ‘Ah we need to win the game, blah blah blah…’ No, we don’t need that. We don’t need that pressure, we’ll just do it one game at a time like we did in the RMR.”
Previously you’ve coached Portuguese teams like FTW Esports. Is it a shame to not have a Portuguese team at the final CS:GO Major?
“I wouldn’t say it’s a shame, because I’m proud of the Portuguese scene - especially SAW, because they’ve been to the RMRs, they’ve been competing on the tier 2 highest level, etc. I have a lot of respect for them, all of the players that play for SAW. So no, I wouldn’t say it’s a shame. I would say it’s kind of sad that a Portuguese team didn’t make it to any of the Majors, or the RMRs, but I wouldn’t say it’s a shame, because I’m really proud of them and I respect them a lot.”
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How does it feel to be one of only three Portuguese people to make a Major?
“It’s an amazing feeling, I’m not going to lie to you. When we made the Major, I just did this [holds arms in the air, elated]. I didn’t scream, I just did this movement with my arms, because it was such a relief. It didn’t even sink in until one or two days later, when it all just clicked. Like, I made the Major, I’m the third Portuguese player doing it. It’s incredible to represent Portugal at the end of the day, it’s as simple as that. It’s just amazing that I can bring the Portuguese flag up and display it at the Major once again. Like “fox” and “Coachi” did – I have a lot of respect for them, because they made it first.”
The Portuguese and UK CS:GO scenes are similar in the way that they’ve struggled to compete with top teams internationally. What is it about these regions that causes this?
“I don’t know. You have two similar teams actually, you have Endpoint and SAW playing at the same level every time. When they went to the RMRs, they never made it to the Majors, but SAW should have done it. I think SAW in comparison to Endpoint should have made it in the RMR where they went 2-3, but lost at the last second against VP (Virtus.pro). Just a one second difference and they would have played the Major. I don’t know, they play well against these kinds of teams, but looking at the RMR, sometimes they have bad luck or they’re not in a good place. I remember the first RMR they attended, three RMRs ago, they went 2-3 and they should have made it to the Major. It was a lucky round from VP at the time, or Outsiders as they were known back then. So, they should have made it to the Major. The second RMR they went 0-3, but just one month after, they’re winning a tournament in tier 2. So, I don’t think they have a problem playing against tier 1 teams. Even versus Endpoint they won on LAN in the ESL Pro League I’m pretty certain, with “CRUC1AL” – that is my AWPer now – on LAN against NAVI. So I don’t think that’s a problem, it’s just phases. Basically, I think they’re not in a good mindset when they play these kinds of tournaments.”
Although there isn’t a Portuguese team at the Major, Into The Breach have made history by being the first UK core to qualify for a Major. How does it feel to play such a big role in this?
“It’s amazing, it’s my second year on the UK scene. I joined ITB (Into The Breach) in December 2021. Was it December 2021? Yeah, it was, and it’s just amazing that I can help the scene. I feel like part of the scene right now, right, so it feels amazing to bring them up as well.”
You’re the sixth seed in the Legends Stage. Is there any team from the Challengers Stage that you’d want to face in Round 1?
“I don’t have a preferred team. Like I said previously, ‘one game at a time.’ Whoever comes, we need to face them. It is what it is. It’s the RMR, it’s the Major. We’ve got to take it like we did at the RMR, one game at a time. The first two or three games are going to be a Bo1 (Best of 1) either way. So, in these Bo1s, you always play a good map for you. So, it is what is it is. One game at a time.”
There’s no doubt this Major is going to have more riding on it than any before it. What are your expectations going into it?
“I feel like this Major is going to be amazing. I really think so, because it’s the last Major. Everyone will want to watch it, everyone wants to be a part of it. I think it’s going to be even better than the Rio Major to be honest with you. I feel like that Major could have been way better.”