Black Dragons Female punched their ticket to the ESL Impact League Season 3 Finals by defeating FURIA in the playoffs of the Brazilian Division. While that meant a second appearance in the Impact League Finals for the organization, for its current team, which joined at the end of July 2022, it also meant a first-time appearance at the highest level of women’s CS.
Following BD’s opening group stage series against B4, BLIX interviewed their IGL, Leticia “Le^” Lima, on appearing in the Finals of ESL Impact for the first time, how the team qualified for the event in Dallas, the current state of Brazilian women’s CS at its highest level and much more.
Experience in Dallas
Pedro Romero, BLIX: I want to start by covering your experience in Dallas given that it's your first time being in the U.S. for CS. What's that like?
Letícia "Le^" Lima: Being here is amazing. We are having a very good experience. We have everything we need thanks to the ESL Impact staff. It's our first time in Dallas and in ESL Impact so we're proud to be here.
BLIX: I talked to a few players so far, and they mentioned how they've felt a little fatigued in terms of travel and getting used to living in the U.S. for the competition. Have you felt fatigued as well in trying to prepare for the event?
Le^: We haven't been jet-lagged or fatigued. We're just really happy to be here. Our power comes from all the exhaustion we left behind. We're already here, and we're really proud to be here.
Le^: Last year, we had the addition of our coach Patoz1k and S1non, who is one of our new players, and because of those additions, we saw a change in the team. We have been practicing and training ever since they joined. I have been playing all day long. We are really dedicated and we have trained for this moment; I think it's a mixture of Patoz, S1non, and our dedication as a team.
Development of Le^’s IGLing
BLIX: Looking into you specifically, how has your IGLing developed throughout this same time?
Le^: I was already an IGL [in other teams] so I have had a lot of experience. Patoz used to be an IGL, and when he came as a coach, he gave me some insight and baggage about [that position] so I became better as a result.
BLIX: Brazil has been notorious for young players making a name for themselves and being recognized internationally. For this team, you have Babs, how have you seen her contribution and growth?
Le^: Having a young player is very important because she trains every day, is really dedicated to the game, has new things she can apply to the game and is really funny as well. She can give the team a new vibe, so it's a nice balance between the old players (such as cAmyy and annaEX) and young players (such as Babs). It's a balance among all the players with a more fun and younger feel in the vibes. We are all dedicated and together as one team.
On the current state of Brazilian women’s CS
BLIX: There's been a change of the guard when it comes to the top teams in Brazil. It's no longer FURIA or MIBR at the top of the region. It's now B4 and BD. What caused this shift in the top level of Brazilian women's CS?
Le^: I believe it's a very balanced scenario. Every team is very good right now. No one team is better than the rest. It's a really competitive scene. The Brazilian scene is tough. All the teams (like MIBR, FURIA, BD and B4) are pretty similar. Maybe there are some small differences, which give some teams a better spot, but the whole ecosystem is very balanced. It could be FURIA against BD and BD against so and so, but it's very balanced. Every girl and every team is playing as well as the others.
BLIX: Taking that focus into this team's rivalry against B4, it's B4 who is usually on top in official matches as they have a 15-1 record against BD heading into today's series. What's so difficult about facing B4? Why has BD not been able to take down B4?
Le^: I believe whichever team has the least errors will conquer the match. Individual plays, like mini-plays, are the main reason why we lose to B4, but it's a fair match. We're not talking about a match with a high difference. We're talking about [matches that end in] 16-13, so I consider the reason for it being small errors and whoever makes the least mistakes will win. The main reason we think we are losing against B4 is because we're making small mistakes but those mistakes cost the game. For us, we must beat B4 by not making these small mistakes.
BLIX: With this event being as short as it is, what are your expectations for this team in taking part in these finals?
Le^: Our expectation is always to win. We have been talking and debating over our strategies over all the games and every match is a best-of-one, but we still have this influx of energy going right now. We are still thrilled to be here competing so there's still a wave of excitement after our first match and we're going to go with the same energy and the same debates as before. The expectation is to win no matter what.