"I hope we can provide awesome moments for all our fans!": an interview with Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo

There was a long road ahead when the former KaBuM now Keyd Stars got invited to the offline qualifier for ESL One Katowice 2015. Crowdfunding the trip to Katowice and a big comeback later, the Brazilian team is now one of the eight Challengers at the next CS:GO major. We spoke to Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo about the qualifier, their outlook on the CS:GO scene right now and what they expect and are planning for at the tournament itself.

ESL: Hi and thank you for your time, Gabriel. Congratulations on earning a spot at ESL One Katowice 2015 at the offline qualifier! How happy are you that all the stress and crowdfunding actually led to you being one of the top 16 teams in the world?
Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo: It’s awesome to have received all this support from our community and yes, we are really happy about getting through all this with a spot in this major. It’s not only important for us but for the entire Brazilian scene - we’re proud of ourselves!

ESL: Accompanied by the two US teams and Vox Eminor, you represent the non-Europeans in the tournament. Do you see a change in the balance between Europe and the rest of the world any time soon?
FalleN: I think the Europeans trade too much knowledge between their teams as they are always practicing and competing against each other - it creates the ideal basis for increasing their game level.

But there are no excuses, and that’s what’s good about CS - anyone can outshoot anyone at any time. Hopefully we can be at a good enough strategy level to compete with them, and the latest results from the teams show that we can upset them.

ESL: You were sent to the loser’s bracket right after your first match against mousesports before beating both INSHOCK and Team Dignitas. How did you motivate yourself to start such a comeback after that opening loss?
FalleN: We were under a lot of pressure in this tournament and losing to mousesports really shook us up, even more so when we realized how many mistakes we made in the game.
When you’re in a position like that, you need to focus on what comes next and leave it all behind. This is what we did. There was so much going on that we had to in order to give it everything we had, and we did (hopefully)!

ESL: Looking at the other 15 teams going to ESL One Katowice 2015, what are the best and worst matchups for your possible group?
FalleN: Being honest, I don't think that, with CS where it is right now - mainly in a tournament like this - you can pick which teams you do or don’t want to play. However, I’d like to play against TSM and NiP again as we lost for them in the last tournaments and it would be cool to test ourselves and see our improvement. Besides that, I don’t think you should underestimate anyone - this qualifier we went through proved that. We’ll just do our best.

ESL: This is the first major that has a Brazilian team taking part. How important is this step for your country’s scene and do you think we’ll get to see more teams joining the international circuit soon?
FalleN: This is incredibly important as going to a tournament like this draws attention, which is good as other Brazilian organizations can then pick CS:GO teams and help the community grow. We need this! I’ve been putting a lot of effort into making the scene grow and I’m really pleased with it! I’m working hard on Games Academy trying to create some new resources that will allow our teams to be more professional, gain more resources and maybe also be able to travel to represent our country!

ESL: The fans in Katowice are very passionate about supporting their favorites. Do you have anything planned to win their hearts right away?
FalleN: It was awesome to watch the last event - it was so exciting! I think all we have to do is be ourselves, honest and true in everything we do in life! All my support always came from that and this is how I guide my life. I hope we can provide awesome moments for all our fans!

ESL: Last year, Virtus.pro won the tournament after coming in as a dark horse. What are your goals for ESL One Katowice 2015? Do you think there’s a chance you’ll be able to follow their example?
FalleN: Being humble, it would be shocking to see us winning a first major like this, but it’s something I want so much and we are working for it. It’s not like I don’t believe that it’s possible, but right now it’s a clear fact that there will be teams with more experience and titles than us there. I hope this is just the beginning for our team - if we keep playing these events, sooner or later we are going to get somewhere!

ESL: Soon you’ll be seeing your team’s logo in the game itself. How much does it mean to you to see people buy your stickers and show their support?
FalleN: It’s just amazing - I’m receiving so many messages every day from people asking when they will be available. All our community is so excited about this! I just want to thank everyone involved into bringing our much-loved game to such a level. Years ago we couldn’t even dream about this kind of support, and all I can be is proud to be here.

ESL: You’re taking on the top European teams for the second time after the offline qualifier. How much does your playstyle differ from theirs and have you identified anything you need to work on before ESL One Katowice 2015?
FalleN: We are still figuring out which playstyle works best for us on each important match and map we have. Practicing with North American teams in February was really good for us and we improved a lot as a result. We are looking forward to practicing in Europe before this tournament in order to absorb even more into our game. After our last results, we need to get the same level of play we have on Mirage on other maps, and we are working on this!

ESL: Thanks for your time, Gabriel - the final words are yours!
FalleN: I just want to mention again how happy I am to be representing our country, and it’s fair to mention that we’re only in this tournament due to our community, Games Academy, bit, flusha, ESEA and Clutch Gaming Arena - they believed in us when we needed them to most. This is how the entire team feels. We’re really excited about our new organization, and now we’ll be able to compete and grow at the highest level of CS in the world. Thank you so much!

From March the 12th to the 15th you will be able to see how FalleN and his team do at ESL One Katowice 2015 - make sure to follow ESL Counter-Strike on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date before, during and after the tournament!


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