While it’s true the non-North American teams have had some struggles getting accustomed to living in Los Angeles, California for the 2023 VCT Americas League, for FURIA in particular, their transition period was intensified to a significant degree.
From the start of the season up until Week 4, the team was operating without the presence of head coach Carlos “Carlão" Mohn, who stayed in Brazil to resolve his visa issues during the season in order to lawfully arrive in the United States. During that time, he worked on a remote basis and tried to guide his players with the disparity of not being there physically in mind. Within that stretch, FURIA built a decent 3-2 record.
In Week 5, Carlão finally arrived in LA and met up with FURIA and worked through the remaining schedule together. So far, FURIA have recorded a 2-0 win over MIBR and consecutive losses to NRG and 100 Thieves, of which the latter result happened in the penultimate week of the season.
Despite winning their map pick in Pearl 13-10, they couldn’t match their display in Fracture and especially in Haven, as a bevy of mistakes in the third map eventually cost them the series — leaving them with a 4-4 record and sitting amidst a fierce race for the three remaining slots for playoffs.
Following their series loss against EG, BLIX talked to Carlão about what went wrong in their affair with their North American counterparts, what it’s like for him to join the rest of the team after resolving his visa issues, and more.
Pedro Romero, BLIX: Tough luck on how the series played out against 100T, Carlao. To start off, I want to cover your overall thoughts on how the team performed in this series with so much on the line for FURIA and their playoff chances.
Carlos "Carlão" Mohn: It was a tough match today. We didn’t play like our past selves as a team. We struggled a lot with decision-making and micro stuff as a team, so we got punished sometimes. We made a lot of mistakes that we don’t usually make, and for that reason, I think that explains why we lost.
My thoughts are that we could be a better team, for sure. If we were the team that we are, we could have beaten 100T, but we couldn’t be that team today, so I think that’s why we got punished.
BLIX: One of the things that I want to focus on are the pistol rounds. You guys lost those pistol rounds five out of six times in total to 100T. Sideshow mentioned during the broadcast about how you guys are one of the best pistol round teams in the league in terms of winrate. About that, what went differently for you guys compared to how your past performances up to this point?
Carlão: We have really good pistol rounds, but for today, we didn’t win a lot. Nothing really changed. We were doing the same style as we do in pistols, but in that week in particular, we just didn’t win. We’re just a team that plays well during pistols, so it was just an unlucky day.
BLIX: Even so, you guys were able to win Pearl to start the series. It’s the same map where you guys lost to NRG last week, so what were the things that you improved on from the previous showing against NRG for this time against 100T?
Carlão: We’re a good team in Pearl. I guess, against NRG, we let them play a lot so all the resources that they had went into the bomb site so that made it tough for us to play against. They don’t let khalil, as a Killjoy, punish them a lot. They’re breaking all the khalil setups on B site, so it was kind of hard for us to play. And against 100T, we forced them to use more resources before they got to the bomb site.
Today, Khalil punished them with his setups as Killjoy so we made him play better in those settings. That’s why our Pearl came out with a victory today. We fixed some mistakes from the NRG game and made them use more resources outside the bombsite, so it was kind of easy for us.
BLIX: From then on, the series moved to Fracture, which is a map that you guys weren’t great on, falling 13-7. Why do you think it’s so difficult for this team to play well on Fracture in addition to how they fared against 100T this week?
Carlão: It’s tough because we had a good week on Fracture so we were confident that if we played it, it’d be a good map for us today. It’s kind of like, when we got into a tournament, we can show our Fracture in the way we usually showed it during practice so we have to review some stuff on that map because we changed comps, changed styles, and we couldn’t play it at all.
It’s kind of hard for us, but we are making good practice at it, and we’re focusing on getting better so we can have a better draft. We’re not that Fracture. We made some mistakes, and the game snowballed.
BLIX: Over on Haven, it’s a map that you guys have been particularly strong in this year, and it showed as such this time around, but unfortunately, the team wasn’t able to win. For that map, how do you think the team fared against 100T given the latter had that Gekko comp?
Carlão: 100T is a good team on Haven. They won against NRG, Leviatan, and us. We studied Gekko a lot and we saw some games from them so we knew how they played him. We know how they use the Wingman, the bangs, the flashes, all the resources, and the directions they want to go.
We struggled two rounds on the defense that made us go eco, so it was hard, we then lost pistols, and that became hard, and then we went into the attack and lost really important after-plant situations and some rounds that we could’ve lost. In those rounds that we lost in that made us go eco against a team like 100T, we got punished. Those mistakes don’t allow us to make any more mistakes than that and we made many more. That’s why we didn’t win on Haven.
Meeting up with FURIA after going remote
BLIX: Taking the direction towards yourself, it’s been around two weeks since you finally met up with the team in person after resolving your visa issues. I want to know how you helped the team from being remote and how difficult was it to navigate the year from that position up until now?
Carlão: For myself, I was with the team since this project with FURIA started so it was hard because we’re not used to having a lot of distance from each other since the team started. I couldn’t see them and I couldn’t make adjustments after practice. If you sit with a player and you can talk to them for a long time eye-to-eye, it’s so much different compared to when you’re talking to them in front of a PC. There’s so much difference.
Overall, I can fix mistakes both remote and in-person, but you can be so much more productive on a personal level. I can optimize many things, I can see the body language of the players from practice so I can make them be better in all the situations that a pro can be like, and I can see them with my eyes. It was kind of like that. In the beginning, I was fixing mistakes remotely, and when I came here for the match against MIBR, my work with the team became more productive.
BLIX: Given that you’ve been a part of this project for a while now, you’ve been seeing various people come and go. For the IGL department this year, it’s been mazin who holds that role after Nozwerr from last season. How have you viewed mazin’s direction during matches in a macro and micro sense?
Carlão: Ever since I met mazin, I knew he was an IGL and had the tools to be a leader. I trust him a lot and he’s getting better every week as the IGL and that is proven inside of the server. When I saw him for the first time, I knew he was meant to be an IGL and it became a matter of time before he came to get that spot because being an IGL is so hard. It demands so much out of you and mazin is handling that very well so I’m very happy for him.
BLIX: Given that FURIA has one more series, how do you view the team’s chances of making playoffs and qualifying for Masters: Tokyo?
Carlão: We have to win. We have to get better. We have to make a good week. We have to fix a lot of mistakes and win against a difficult team, that is Sentinels. We have to be the FURIA that we are so we have to win.