If I told you that the whole Counter-Strike: Global Offensive community in Brazil would stop to watch a game involving a local team, you'd be certain the team would be MIBR.
But we're talking Furia here. In the past two years they came out of nowhere and are now in the international spotlight. Let's remember what got them here.
Furia's first chapters in CS:GO happened in early 2017. The organization entered the esports scene with a team of CS 1.6 veterans. A conservative move that paid off in the early days. Guilherme "spacca" Spacca, Nicholas "guerri" Nogueira, Caike "caike" Costa, Arthur "prd" Resende and Vinicius "VINI" Figueiredo formed their first lineup.
Even after a surprising roster change that resulted in Victor "bld V" Junqueira coming in for Caike, Furia picked up right where they'd left off. Furia made their presence known by winning the Pro League twice and finishing second three times -- the last edition in December already had Yuri "yuurih" Santos in for prd.
Furia started off 2018 making more roster changes. Those changes made the fans question the strategy a little bit, because they were giving up on experienced players with international résumés to roll the dice on young talents.
But it didn't take long for the new roster to kind of answer all of those questions. In March, it happened. The roster already had Andrei "arT" Piovezan, yuurih, Kaike "kscerato" Cerato, VINI and spacca. They won the first season of the Aorus League after defeating YeaH Gaming in the finals. The same month, they won the Brazil Premier League (BPL) and the LA League.
March's great form showed that Furia had already became a powerhouse in Brazil. But the way to the top was never easy. The defeats Furia sustained in the 27th season of the ESEA Brazil Open, in the Pro League's ESL and in the qualifying for ESL One Belo Horizonte, according to Guerri, made the team even stronger.
"If you asked my why we lost, I'd say because we had to get stronger," Guerri said. "It was our second big defeat with this lineup. When we were strong and confident, we lost. But that just wouldn't be enough to knock us out," the coach said about Furia's defeat to Sharks in the match that would qualify the winner for the EPL.
Indeed the turn around happened. They won the South American qualifying for the Zotac Cup Masters, April's edition of the Pro League and the GG.BET Ascension.
It was at GG.BET that Furia tasted for the first time what was it like to be Brazil's top team. The confirmation came for the boys when they qualified for the Americas Minor and the Faceit Major.
Hi, America. This is FURIA!
Qualifying for the Americas Minor confirmed that Furia was "already too big for Brazil". With that, the organization decided to move the roster to the United States. In their first contact with the North American scene, they showed why they were there.
Before playing the qualifying for the Faceit Major, Furia played in the finals of the Zotac Cup Masters. They played in Tier 2, and despite not winning it all, they reached the finals and lost to Ghost Gaming.
After months without any roster changes, Furia decided it was time to let the veteran spacca go. Rinaldo "ableJ" Moda Junior was the one chosen -- yet another talent coming from Furia Ingame, their academy.
Playing in the Americas Minor, Furia qualified for the IEM defeating eUnited, Envy (twice) and INTZ. It was quite a big thing for Brazil. For the first time in two major events, Brazil had two teams there -- MIBR being the other.
But then, reality hit hard for Furia. With only one win in four series, you could say Furia's performance was awful. But it's wrong to assume that. If you take the NiP defeat out of it, the Brazilians played really well against other opponents and even won one map against Cloud9.
The major did help Furia. They finally knew what they had to become to be competitive in the bigger stages. They learned the lesion. Weeks after that, they qualified for the ECS Finals after winning the North American division with a win over INTZ.
And it didn't stop there. They qualified for the DreamHack Masters Dallas, won the 30th season of the ESEA Premier, got second place in the DreamHack Rio and qualified for ESL Cologne.
Testing the Fury
Playing in the finals of the tournament in Rio de Janeiro really put Furia out there as a candidate to the Counter-Strike elite. But did Guerri's boys evolve enough to put in good performances against the likes of Astralis?
If we take the results in Dallas, yes they did. Furia finished 3rd/4th in a tournament with 16 teams. But that's not all. In every single series of the tournament, Furia faced an HLTV top-10 team. They won against NRG (10th), fnatic (7th) and Vitality (5th). The defeats were against Ence (3rd) and Team Liquid (2nd).
This week, Furia will be tested again, now in the ECS Finals. They will face top-10 teams once again. Astralis, NiP and NRG. Can Furia make it to the semis once again? Can they win the whole thing?
Well, it will be hard to beat Astralis because they're just so good. But the other teams are in the same level or even lower than Furia. If we take a look at the other group, the biggest threat would be MIBR.
The trajectory ahead
"[Furia] was an evolution process," Jaime Padua, Furia's CEO, told ESPN Esports Brazil. "We played lots of tournaments and tested lots of players until we found the best roster. We didn't expect to evolve this fast."
Asked about the organization's goals in CS:GO, he added: "I always wanted to break paradigms. CS was always about the same dudes, and we came up with new guys. We found talented guys and with Guerri's command, we can do pretty much everything.
"We broke a barrier now that we're in the top-15. Now we can play in the best tournaments against the best in the world.
"Now we want to keep our position in the top-15, but who knows. Maybe we could get a top-10, top-5..."