MIBR has always been a top team in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and its roster has always been championed by fans, analysts, and casual viewers as one to look up to and admire. But not anymore.
Over the past eight years, accomplished players Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, Epitácio "TACO" de Melo, and Fernando "fer" Alvarenga have sat at the top of the Brazilian CSGO scene. They've enjoyed a massive and passionate fanbase that has supported them through Major tournament wins, playing with three different organizations, and even some tough times. But the events of the past month have tarnished what was once a shiny reputation.
MIBR's players have managed to turn many fans against them. They've done it through both action and inaction, all the while making themselves look like bullies at times and disconnected at others. Ultimately, CSGO is worse off for it.
But before diving into MIBR and their recent issues, it's important to note that there was a time when veteran players used to stand up for what was right, helping lead their fans into becoming more gracious winners. And even more gracious losers.
After fnatic beat Virtus.pro in the quarterfinals of ESL One Cologne 2015, fnatic's Olof "olofmeister" Gustafsson was rattled by jeering from a Virtus.pro crowd during the post-match interview. Without warning, VP's Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas appeared and gave an example of what sportsmanship looks like.
"Respect them," TaZ said. And the fans listened.
After months of struggles, MIBR finally seemed to be getting back on the wagon with their addition of Alencar "trk" Rossato. During MIBR's run of bad form, however, FURIA had tajen MIBR's spot as Brazil's best CSGO team. It was an interesting development. After years of using Brazilian such as FURIA and Team One as farm teams by taking a player here and there to add to their Major-winning roster, suddenly, one Brazilian team wasn't cooperating.
FURIA has a dedicated fan base, and their meteoric rise to the top of Brazil's CSGO scene has come alongside MIBR's precipitous fall. As MIBR bombed out of tournaments like ESL One Road to Rio, FURIA excelled. As the rest of this spring's tournaments consistently saw analysts heap praise on FURIA, fans could see MIBR's frustration boil over as they lost game after game.
The clash between two of Brazil's best boiled over during the BLAST Premier Spring finals.
With the first map tied at 12-12, things came to a grinding halt when fer disconnected mid-round and was quickly followed by FalleN dropping from the server as well. Despite calling "not live" before disconnecting, damage had already been done on the server. Per the rules, the round was played out as FURIA took Inferno's B bombsite and won the round. While fans waited for the players to reconnect, things were much more complicated behind the scenes. Instead of players quickly reconnecting and continuing the game, nearly an hour passed before BLAST Premier came back online with the news that FURIA had agreed to the "not live" claim and would replay the crucial round they had won.
It was a confusing decision. Not only had FURIA won the round both technically and literally, but its own players had been the first to take damage. In other words, FURIA had every right to not replay the round. But that's not what happened.
It quickly became clear that the massive delay wasn't due to technical issues, but rather an argument between MIBR and FURIA. Viewers were upset, and so were analysts. The match's caster, Mohan "launders' Govindasamy, had this to say about the situation on Twitter:
Despite having the round replayed, MIBR went on to lose that match. But afterward, many accused the MIBR of using its veteran status to bully FURIA into restarting the round. With little reason for FURIA to restart coupled with the lengthy delay, fans deduced that an extended discussion over whether or not the round should be replayed as the reason.
The event put FURIA is an awful situation. After all, FURIA's players are much younger than MIBR's veterans. Some probably grew up watching fer and FalleN play.
The issue split the Brazilian fan base down the middle. Insults were thrown by fans of both teams. fer stirred the pot when he tagged FURIA in a Twitter post, calling them "shit."
While things eventually calmed down, it wasn't a good look for MIBR or its players. Instead of setting an example and accepting the rules as they've always been, it appeared that they threw a fit and used their veteran status to bully a younger team that once looked up to them. While FalleN tried to calm down the news cycle by posting a photo of him with FURIA's players soon after, MIBR had left a bad taste in the mouths of CSGO fans and personalities.
It was less than a week before MIBR was back in CSGO headlines. This time it was MIBR's inaction that tarnished their reputation.
When MIBR faced off against Chaos Esports Club at CS Summit 6, former 1.6 pro player Alexandre "gAuLeS" Borba streamed the match to thousands of Brazilian viewers. Since many broadcasts don't have simulcasts in Portuguese, gAuLeS often mirrors those matches on his own stream, commentating on them using his own experience as a pro player and streamer to give something Brazilian fans wouldn't normally have. But when Chaos' 16-year-old newcomer Nathan "leaf" Orf made some impressive reads on MIBR, gAuLeS accused the teen of cheating against Brazil's beloved players.
His viewers quickly mobilized, not just harassing leaf on Twitter and other social media platforms, but even going so far as to send death threats to the young player. Brazil's golden boys, FalleN, TACO, and fer, did nothing about it.
CSGO's community was enraged. Prominent figures like analyst and caster Jason "Moses" O'Toole was at the forefront of the response.
Many put the blame on gAuLeS for his passionate stream during the match that inadvertently sent some of his massive fan base towards leaf, but MIBR's silence was also troubling. Afterward, non-Brazilian fans started to generalize the Brazilian CSGO community, targeting them with racism and vitriol.
Things eventually calmed down, but many fans are left waiting for the next dust-up involving the MIBR players that used to command so much respect.
What MIBR is lacking right now isn't necessarily aim, strategy, or chemistry. It's leadership.