Mibr managed a respectable Top four finish at the IEM Katowice 2019 Major, losing in close fashion to Astralis. The Brazilian organisation is back where they belong, in the talks of the best of teams in the counter-Strike world.
A large piece of the puzzle seemed to be the return of TACO to the active roster and zews as the coach. But, just why did mibr need the two homeboys to return to make themselves formidable once again? Were Stewie and Tarik not good enough for the roster? Was YnK too young as a coach to understand and handle the rigours of getting the Brazilians to play at a level they were used to?
The simple answer is No. Stewie and tarik were major winners and actually played well after being added to the roster as the team, as a whole, posted inconsistent results. YnK was brought in at a time when the assimilated roster seemed to be not working and the Serb actually managed to make it work to an extent, bringing mibr into the top five of the HLTV Rankings after a long hiatus.
So, then why has mibr suddenly found their swagger? The answer is comfort factor. FALLEN had indicated that the stack did not like communicating in a language different to Portuguese and while they were fluent in English, they found it hard to be as smooth as they were when conversing and screaming callouts in Portuguese.
An exchange between Fer and YnK threw some light upon the practices of the Brazilian stars, which was later confirmed, to an extent, by the Serb when he departed as the coach of the lineup. It seemed like YnK had tried to instill a disciplined work culture and attempted to tweak the ways the Brazilian went about things, not just on the server, something that was not taken too kindly by the lineup.
What we learnt from that phase of the mibr lineup was that the Brazilian superstars are set in their ways. There are some who can adapt to every given situation. But, the Brazilians like working in their comfort zone.
They like a more casual setting but the comfort factor is more than that. The Brazilians are just more comfortable on the server when conversing in their own language and going about their deed in their own style, which is how they built their identity in the first place.
Not every team is like Astralis, who can mould themselves in any manner, depending on the map and situation. And that is why perhaps, mibr came up short against the Danes in the semi-final.
But, their road to the Top Four has been a success and by a long mile. After being trampled by Cloud 9 in the opener, mibr returned in style against complexity and G2. But, their most impressive win came against the Ninjas in Pyjamas in the 2-1 pool.
Their T side on inferno was absolutely inspired, with the right mix of individual plays and some brilliant tactical calls on the fly, which is what the stack was known for in the first place when they were number 1 in the world. The Quarter-Final against Renegades was far from a done deal.
In a match that was largely billed as perhaps the one encounter to watch, given Renegades’ form coming into the Quarter-Final,
Renegades picked Dust 2, a map mibr consider themselves strong on and the Australian stack had to pay the price for the gamble. In an attempt to surprise mibr, they ended up playing into the Brazilians’ hand, with the map veto handing their opponents three of their comfort maps.
While many could point at various improvements in the mibr playstyle, which should be credited to the arrival of zews, we can all agree that it is their comfort factor that has seen them sail smoothly into the semi-finals.
TACO himself proclaimed in an interview with HLTV at IEM Katowice 2019 that the lineup is learning with each game and that is perhaps the best description of the Brazilian stack.
Be it the comfort factor of returning to an all-Brazilian roster and returning to perhaps Portuguese in terms of communication or the comfort factor of TACO back to add some structure to their roster or the comfort factor of a coach that knows when and where to push their buttons and just how far, mibr is riding the comfort wave.
Many can argue that this is what made them a force to be reckoned with in the first place and that zews’ departure was what started the erosion of the roster’s individuality and identity. Now that they have it back, perhaps they can work on the nitty-gritties. The mibr personality is back. It is now time to climb the proverbial ladder once again.