Heitor “Duster” Pereira with two of his former Midas Club teammates and their coach took a big gamble during the pandemic and decided to make a drastic change in their lives. They spent the money earned over the years to move from Brazil to Ukraine, where they hope that they can start a new chapter in their professional careers.
Duster, Leonardo “RdO” Fernandes, Diego “Sexyfat” Barini Santamaria and Filipe Astini who is not just a coach for the three of them, but also a real friend, have put the Midas Club project and all their lives in Brazil on hold and aim to compete for a whole year via the CIS region. They are the first three Brazilian players to have done something like that and will play in the first season of CIS Regional League alongside Danil “Dendi” Ishutin in the B8 jerseys.
Ahead of his first matches under the B8 tag, we caught with Duster and talked about what prompted the big change and how he and his teammates got to play for B8.
Hi Duster, thanks for taking the time for this interview, although your schedule is pretty packed. The last time I spoke to you was exactly one year ago, at Bukovel Minor. A lot of things have happened since then, and before we move onto how you, Rd0 and Sexifat joined B8, let’s talk a bit about Furia and all that followed after that.
After the Bukovel Minor we had an agreement with Furia that they would provide us with a gaming house where we would have been able to keep playing together. When we came back from the tournament they said that the facility will be ready soon, but it got delayed again and again and because of that our relationship with the organization became a bit weird.
At some point they started a new project and they couldn’t give us the gaming house anymore. Then the pandemic started and they didn’t have resources for us so they thought it would be better just to drop the Dota 2 team for now and maybe invest later in the scene.
After that you returned to Midas Club, which is more of a place where you guys seem to return every time you are without a sponsor. From what I know, Astini, your coach is also the Midas Club owner, can you explain to us a bit better how Midas Clube functions?
Astini is indeed our coach and Midas Club CEO, but nowadays Midas Club is more like a player owned organization if you want. It’s not something that we expect to have profit, it’s a tag that we use to show that we are serious, that we are not just a stack made for some random tournament that will disband right after. If we get like a sponsorship offer while we are playing under the Midas tag, we have the structure to benefit from that. If we get an offer from an organization, we can transition to that org without painful contractual binds and whatnot.
Last year you also played for the Brazilian organization Havan Liberty, but that lasted only for a couple of months. Was that also because of the pandemic and the financial choices some organizations had to make through the pandemic.
No, not really. The situation was a bit different with them. At first we had a partnership with Havan Liberty, who gave us access to their training facility in southern Brazil so we could continue playing through the online NA tournaments with better conditions. We had players with really bad internet or bad PCs at home and that was really hurting our performance.
The partnership was made for three months and after that, we realized it will be impossible for us to keep playing online from Brazil. So, we decided that we don’t want to play in South America anymore.
South America players, in general, seem to have been extremely impacted by this pandemic because of these internet issues and the impossibility of playing from home. Is that a problem for the whole region or is it worse in Brazil compared to other countries?
The internet problem through SA is a bit different for each country. For example, the players from Peru didn’t have that many issues because they play with like 90 ping so for them it is double, but for most of the Brazilians, the ping is 160 or more for every single tournament. Having to play for a whole year with that ping, I can tell that is awful. It’s very hard to compete and it becomes very stressful. Even when you play in a tournament for SA, as a Brazilian you have to play on Peru server and we have lag there. So, yeah, it’s just bad for us.
So, all these problems made you decide it’s time to switch regions.
We came here at the end of October and started to look for players to make a stable roster. We rented a big house in Kharkiv that we paid from our own pocket for two months and now we have B8 to help us with the expenses too. The house is big and good enough to serve us as a true bootcamp facility and accommodation for all of us.
How do you find the city, did you bring winter clothes?
Well, it’s pretty hard for us Brazillians because we are used to having a lot of sun and to spend a lot of time outside. So, this cold winter weather right now in Ukraine is a bit depressing. If we want to go outside for a simple walk, the weather right now is unbearable for us. We are not used to it. We don’t have the proper winter clothes, we use some jackets and stuff like that but gloves, winter boots are not in our wardrobe. At the same time, all this snow is something very beautiful because we never see it in Brazil.
The country itself is pretty interesting and everything is pretty much different than what we are used to. The food is probably the biggest issue we have because some people like to try new things, some don’t, so most of the time we are stuck to just very few options that everyone likes.
Walk me through how you got in touch with B8.
That’s actually an interesting story. We took a gamble coming here, in Ukraine. We decided to come here for three months, play in all the online tournaments from here, do our best and try to find a sponsor.
We played in every tournament that we could and one day our coach, Astini decided to send a message to Dendi. Both of us were looking for the same thing. We both want stability and long term commitment.
To be fair, it was a long shot because since we were here we actually messaged a lot of people trying to get players, sponsors and everything and we didn’t really expect Dendi to reply. But the next day he replied to us and he was excited to have a talk with us, to try us out.
Knowing that you are a fan of the old NAVI, is playing now alongside Dendi a dream come true?
Yes, definitely. Dendi is a childhood hero for me. I was a huge NAVI fan back in the day , I was watching all their games and being such a Dendi fan boy my brothers used to mock me for how many times I watched Free to Play, just for the Dendi part. When I was a kid, I dreamed of playing on the same stage with him. I actually never dared to think of playing on the same team with him. Even now I’m a bit shy to interact with him because I still can’t believe it is happening.
We’ve seen recently a very promising CIS stack disbanding, one of the reasons being the in-game communication problems. I’m talking about Just Error. How are you guys in that department?
We all speak pretty good English so, we are doing most of the in-game communication in English. Sometimes I and RdO talk in Portugues during the laning stage because it’s more effective to communicate fast between us two, but 99% of the game we all talk English.
Back at Bukovel Minor we talked about the DPC system and you told me back then that you would like to see it changed into something more like the format CS:GO is having. How do you find this Regional League format and the promotion system?
I really like the Regional Leagues, it is the direction I expected Valve to take because they provide a very good system especially for the Tier 2 and tier 3 scene. For instance, South America is going to be doing pretty well with these Leagues. I don’t know how other regions think about the leagues, but we, South Americans, love this new system because it gives us stability.
However, there is a big issue with this first season. It seems rushed and I don’t like a specific part of the format which is the open qualifiers that give a spot only in the Lower Divisions.
A lot of players and teams in Brazil stopped competing during 2020 because of the bad internet problems. Now, they came back for the leagues but they were punished for having to take a break and now they are forced to play through Lower Division because they didn’t get an invite to the closed qualifiers. It’s really weird because it feels like Valve didn’t want to do anything during the pandemic and now they are punishing people for taking breaks or for closing business because they couldn’t sustain through 2020. You have to understand that nobody took 2020 as a vacation, nobody took a break because they wanted to do so.
Let’s talk a bit about the 7.28 patch. How do you like Aghanim’s Shard addition?
In theory, some shards are great, some are a bit too weak, but overall I like the concept.
Can you give us a top 3 Aghanim’s Shards for support heroes in pubs?
Bane’s shard is definitely one of the best, Witch Doctor is in top 2 also. His shard is pretty awesome, it’s actually a super good defensive tool, so I would say it’s one of the most useful shards. And I’d put Jakiro shard in the top 3, it’s pretty fun.
Are you surprised that we still didn’t get any economy and map changes?
Actually, yes. I was expecting map changes the most, just for the sake of changes, not that the map is not good at this moment. The map is good, but it’s always nice to have something fresh. I was expecting some economy changes as well. I think there is too much gold in the game right now, and when it’s around the 20-minute mark the enemy carry just one shots me every game.
To end the interview, what is your resolution for 2021?
Play for the whole year from CIS, do well in leagues, qualify for at least 1 Major and qualify for TI by points. There are 3 slots for CIS regions at the Major and we are pretty confident that we can snatch one this year.
headline photo: WePlay! Esports