Gustavo "HerdsZ" Herdina is the captain of arguably the most stable and persistent team in competitive Rainbow Six Siege. He has spent three years under w7m, where he has helped mold the Brazilian into one of the game's premier squads. BLIX sat down with the IGL to discuss his time with w7m which includes this year's win at the BLAST R6 Major Copenhagen and what it all means to him.
For context, HerdsZ's w7m finally broke the curse of being a 'first-place loser" and claimed the first Major of the year, Copenhagen, claiming victory over their rival, Team Liquid. They then went on to claim a top four finish at Gamers8 in Saudi Arabia, with HerdsZ and co. feeling on top of the world.
However, the team, defined by their consistency in results, instead faced a challenge back home on Brazilian soil— in the Stage 2 Brazil League final, w7m failed to beat FaZe Clan. The confrontation against the team of Jaime "cyber" Ramos and company had its particularities, explains HerdsZ:
"The Brazil League final is a bit different, because it’s a game you want to win but you don’t use all your 'weapons' to win. Obviously we faced the game to win, we have that historical struggle in games against FaZe. We wanted to win but at the same time, we hid a lot of things. Tactically speaking, we tried to hide everything we can."
For HerdsZ, in another context, the game would be seen differently by w7m:
"If it was a match that we prepared as for the others, I think we would win, we are in a better moment than them, but the game is played, we made more mistakes than them. People can’t take much [sic] conclusions from that game because not only us, I believe FaZe too, were hiding things."
Despite the defeat, there is no doubt for HerdsZ about who occupies the top position as the best team in Brazil:
"We still think we are top one in Brazil, we are a more consistent team. At the same time, I think the gap it’s not that huge, FaZe Clan, Team Liquid and Ninjas in Pyjamas are great teams and they will fight for that spot too."
New teams surprise old ones
Stage 2 of the Brazil League was full of surprises with the new teams exceeding everyone's expectations. In w7m’s group, they came out on top with first place. However, Team Liquid and MIBR; both squads with recognized players on the scene and with multiple participations in international tournaments, ended up relegated to the LCQ Open Qualifier.
On the other hand, E1 Sports and Vivo Keyd Stars finished above the aforementioned teams and competed in the playoffs for a place in the Major.
For outsiders, the rise of these teams was a surprise, but good performances were already expected from both teams in practices, says HerdsZ:
"We practiced before against those teams, especially Vivo Keyd Stars, both E1 and VKS were in a very good level but I think VKS surprised more because they are all very young and they came with several tactics with multiple variations. That good preparation in tactics made them a very good team."
MIBR ended up ending the catastrophic season with a defeat to Nova Cleytons. The free agent team beat Made in Brazil in the open qualifier for the Last Chance Qualifier:
"We practiced against Liquid and MIBR, the first one always in a good level but MIBR we felt that was a team in a lower level. Their roster is based with very aggressive players but the roster simply didn’t connect." says HerdsZ, offering his analysis.
The franchised circuit only allows this type of matches in LCQ open qualifiers, with there not being as much chance for tier-two teams to show their talent against tier-one teams on many occasions.
For HerdsZ, these types of "surprises" could increase in another type of system:
"Tier 2 teams are very skilled teams, in the matches I think they still lack experience. If you see MIBR’s match, you see they had a lot of chances to close the game, obviously there was merit from the Nova Cleytons players, but I think there was a lot of demerit from MIBR. I believe if we had a more favorable schedule for these types of games to take place, we would have more tier 2 teams 'bothering' tier 1 teams."
w7m against history
Staring down the Atlanta Major, w7m arrives in the North American city with the responsibility of defending their title. However, the history is not favorable for HerdsZ’s team — no team has ever won two Majors in a row.
"We are very peaceful with that, I think our elimination in Gamers8 gave us a warning because we arrived very confident in the competition after winning the Major" explains HerdsZ. "We come to this tournament totally reset, a lot of teams changed. The preparation is the same, we come to defend the title but we know there are several good teams."
Asked about teams that could trouble w7m in its mission to repeat the feat of lifting the Major trophy, HerdsZ refuses to take the Brazilian teams out of the discussion:
"Taking the Brazilian teams out of the discussion because I think regardless of which team qualifies, I consider them favorites because the level in Brazil is higher.
I think M80 comes in a good phase, they went well in Gamers8 and in Stage 2 and obviously Team BDS with Shaiiko [Stéphane Lebleu] in a very good shape individually speaking."
While the level in Brazil seems to have increased, w7m have managed to remain constant and arrive in Atlanta as one of the main favorites to lift the trophy again.