HSG opened their ESL Impact League Season 3 Finals run in Dallas, Texas, with a 16-6 loss to NAVI Javelins in the opening match of Group A. As the sole Asian representative in the event, which featured a past semifinal finish in the Season 2 Finals, the team brought in Brazilian player Olga “olga” Rodrigues as their newest member ahead of the Season 3 Finals.
Following the match against NAVI, olga talked to BLIX for an interview about what it’s like being with HSG, how it has been preparing for the Season 3 Finals, and more.
Experience in Dallas
Pedro Romero, BLIX: It’s your first time in Dallas with a new team in HSG. I want to start off by asking what’s it been like with HSG so far this year and in these finals in Dallas.
Olga "olga" Rodrigues: It’s been great but we don’t have much time yet to fit everything you need. I just moved really quickly because we needed to play to get this [Asian qualifier] spot, and after we got the spot, I needed to come back to Brazil for one month to renew my visa, and when I came back again to Malaysia, we just had one week to practice as a team. I’m kind of watching more than when I play with them, you know? That’s my experience in being part of this team so far.
BLIX: In doing that, do you feel like it’s been difficult in trying to integrate yourself with the team given they’re based in Asia and you’re coming in from South America?
olga: No, it’s been quite good. When you talk about outside of CS, it’s kind of like a dream come true. I was always interested in Asian culture. I used to live in an immigration neighborhood in Brazil. The food is really good, and it’s easy [for me] to adapt. Even though, as I said before, we didn’t have enough time to practice as five players together, they’ve been doing everything to make me feel comfortable and not lose my own style.
Basically, we are meeting each other in a healthy way to do it in the best way possible for both parties because we didn’t have much time to prepare. We feel we can win against any team, but the time wasn’t [enough for us] to have a full map pool and things like that.
BLIX: The biggest thing concerning you this year is your departure from FURIA and joining HSG. What was the main reason behind your wanting to join this new team?
olga: Basically, I wanted a change for my career. Also, we became really [good] friends really fast while in Sweden. When I was in FURIA, we had a boot camp and [HSG] also had one after the tournament so we stayed in the same hotel and spent plenty of time together. I had more time with them there physically instead of just talking over the Internet. Also, since their first Impact, I saw a really good team.
They went through the semifinals [in Season 2 Finals] but they lost to us and they played very nice in Katowice. They got eliminated by B4 which was a tough match but they were also close to winning it. The second map was in their hands, but they couldn't close it. I mixed two things [together]: I wanted to change, and they were a good team.
BLIX: I'm curious about what the comms are like within the team during matches. The team consists of Malaysian, Chinese, Hong Kong, and South American players. Do you just use English? Are there some Chinese words mixed in? What about Portuguese? How does that work?
olga: It's basically more than 99% English. We have some keywords in Chinese about position names on the map, but when the Malaysian players, for example, are playing in a clutch situation at the same bomb site, they speak in Malay, and the same goes for the Chinese and Hong Kong players, but for me, I just speak in English.
BLIX: Are there any Chinese or Malaysian words that come to mind since joining this team?
olga: Really few words. All I can say are the position names on the map. I'm just learning everything now.
View on current SA women’s scene
BLIX: In your being with this team, I want to know your thoughts on the Brazilian representatives that are taking part in this competition (Black Dragons and B4). They've taken the top spot from FURIA since you left that org, so what are they like from your perspective?
olga: Since the end of last year, they've had really good development as a team, and I believe now they are the best South American or American team. Black Dragons have also been improving since the end of last year. They had a really good match against FURIA, and that's the reason they're here.
BLIX: I want to still keep that focus on FURIA, which was formerly the second-best team in the world and consistently finished as runner-up in numerous Impact League events. When you look back on your time with FURIA, what was the main reason that prohibited the team from winning those Impact tournaments?
olga: Maybe [we should have] not gotten too nervous. One thing I realized after I played three finals and one semifinal with them, which meant four really important matches against Nigma, in Dallas and Katowice, the maps we won against them were new maps for them so they didn't have anything, so I assumed they didn't have a good end strat against us, but when they had the knowledge about how we played, they could then beat us kind of easily because they knew everything we did.
I guess we could have become more unpredictable and not become predictable in addition to getting more confident. When we are confident, we are a really good team, and I guess that goes for every other team. For example, on Inferno against them during Katowice, we could see [Nigma] were lost so there's no team that is undefeatable.
Playing in Asia and with GFi
BLIX: Since you've had some time being with HSG and getting integrated with the rest of the squad, what's been the difference between playing in Asian CS and playing in Brazilian CS?
olga: It's a bit different. When we are going to play in either a ranked or pug match, there are similar things that people do like just shooting and not use too many grenades. It's the in Brazil. It's hard to find a game where people play properly. You're just going to find that more in scrims against proper teams. Their style is a bit different but not so much [from Brazilian CS]. The Brazilians, for example, have a mirror on the European region with a lot of things like strats.
In China, they have that a bit but they have their own style, you know? They're a bit more aggressive but not so much when you talk about proper teams. They have good executions and all those things. The level is quite the same, but I guess the most different thing I'm feeling is the ping. Because we are a bit far from China, when we play from Malaysia, we need to play with VPN.
BLIX: The next thing I want to cover is what it's like playing with GFi since she is the other big name in the team alongside yourself.
olga: She is the face of Asian CS so she has a lot of experience in the game. She knows how to make everyone feel comfortable and play at their best. It's like sometimes you just need to play. You don't need to think a lot. That's one thing I find out about in playing with her as the IGL: it's the ease to play.
When you talk about her individual skill, she's one of the best even when you put male and female teams side-by-side because she had this experience of being an IGL for a long time. She won a lot of tournaments so being in her team, it's like, 'oh my God, I'm with the best Asian player and am a member of the best Asian team.' I would say she has the full package.