[OPINION] Pro League Preview: Latin America Season XI

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The Pro League Preview series will be your guide to the upcoming Pro League season. Each article will discuss, by region, the teams participating, the storylines to follow and give our opinions on the final standings, with Latin America up next.

The Pro League Preview series will be your guide to the upcoming Pro League season. Each article will discuss, by region, the teams participating, the storylines to follow, and give our opinions on the final standings.

Note that the final standing predictions are the author’s alone, but can serve as your guide to form your own opinions (which you are free to share with us on Twitter or in the comments section below). Today’s preview will cover the Latin American (LATAM) region.

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Last season, we had a very close race for the two Pro League Finals spots, with the tickets to Japan up for grabs right up until the very last playday. In the end, Ninjas in Pyjamas secured the top spot and FaZe Clan the one after that, but visa issues with both teams didn’t allow either to play with their full potential and neither went past the quarter-finals in Japan.

In the relegation matches, we had CHICOS Team earning a promotion through the Challenger League, taking the place of Elevate (and soon after was acquired by Elevate) while MIBR kept its Pro League spot against YeaH Gaming. With that, the teams that will play on the upcoming Pro League Season in Latin America are:

  • Team Liquid
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • FaZe Clan
  • Team oNe
  • MIBR
  • INTZ
  • Black Dragons
  • Elevate

Check out below what to expect from each team, the thoughts of some players for this season and what you can expect from what could be one of the most exciting seasons so far!

Team Liquid

Prediction: 1st

Roster: Nesk, xS3xyCake, Paluh, psk1, HSnamuringa

Coaches: Silence, Sensi

New Arrivals: N/A

Departures: N/A

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Team Liquid during the OGA Pit Minor Finals.

Liquid Going Back to the Top

Team Liquid is, without a doubt, the most successful team in Latin America. Being the only team in the region to ever win an international tournament -- the Pro League in Season 7 and the OGA Pit Minor in December -- but the going has not been entirely smooth. Since Season 7, Liquid has failed to qualify for any other Pro League Finals and did not qualify for the Raleigh Major either. Roster instability has been part of the cause, with the arrival and departure of Guilherme “gohaN” Alf and the retirement of team captain Leo “ziGueira” Duarte, and it has taken time for Liquid to get back on track.

Now though, it seems Liquid is back. Things began with the 3-2 defeat of FaZe Clan in a nail-biting Grand Final  in BR6 and have risen to the team securing a spot for the 2020 Six Invitational. The addition of João “HSnamuringa” Deam on the roster worked wonders, giving everyone on the team a cool temper, whereas before there were many times it looked like the players were unable to reign themselves in. Another player worth mentioning is one of their entry fraggers, Luccas “Paluh” Molina, who recently broke the record for most kills in a single map against BDS with 27 kills.

Team Liquid, is currently the third best team in the world according to the SiegeGG Team ranking, and is without a doubt a powerhouse in the region. LATAM's most decorated team is certainly getting better each play day and surely have the power to compete at the top once again. Not only is Liquid hungry for another win in Latin America, it is hungry for one on the global stage.

Our expectation is to play well and win! We’ll continue our preparation the same way as always, without losing our temper. To practice when we need to practice and rest at the right time! 

- Team Liquid's player, xS3xyCake

Ninjas in Pyjamas

Prediction: 2nd

Roster: Kamikaze, Psycho, Julio, Muzi, Pino

Coach: Ar7hur

New Arrivals: N/A

Departures: gohaN

NIP PL
Ninjas in Pyjamas' player during the Season 10 Finals.

The Reigning Champions

After an amazing Season 10, NiP looks to stay around the top in the region with a team that has been together for a while. The team, lead by Gustavo “Psycho” Rigal and Julio “julio” Giacomelli, finished the season with the first and now looks to translate that strength into Season 11.

Even with some roster changes that did not work out in the final part of the season, with the arrival and quick departure of Guilherme “gohaN” Alf, the team never risked losing their spot in the Finals. This was largely thanks to their youngest player, Murilo “Muzi” Muzi, who was the top fragger of the region last season with a grand total of 150 kills. However, visa issues with julio and João “Kamikaze” Gomes forced NiP to play the Finals with two Spanish subtitutes, Álvaro “baroz” Valero and David “p0Lo” Urrea, and led to quarter-final loss against Team Reciprocity.

With their spot in the 2020 Six Invitational secured, NiP didn’t need to play any Minor or a qualifier, giving them more time to practice and save strategies. Along with this are their individual skills and their tactics crafted by their coach Arthur “Ar7hur” Schubert, and they can still surprise other teams.

NiP is always a dangerous team, full of skilled players. It’s a team that is certainly feared by everyone and should compete for the top spots once again. With a team that has been together for so long, they surely are a force to be reckoned with.

My expectations  are high, the same way we got into last season, I think our team is a well oiled machine and we have every condition to keep hold of the first spot just like last season. We are even more focused this time because we have PL and the invitational to compete in.

- NIP's player, Kamikaze.

FaZe Clan

Prediction: 3rd

Roster: Astro, cameram4n, mav, Yoona, Ion

Coach: Twister

New Arrivals: N/A

Departures: N/A

FaZe PL
The FaZe Clan roster during the Season 10 Finals.

The Search for Glory

Faze Clan is, without a doubt, the most consistent team in Latin America. Nearly every season in the Pro League has seen the team make it to the top two and make it to every Major so far. With a lot of preparation and good teamwork, they induce fear in every team they face. Still, they have not been able to win an international tournament thus far. They came close during the Season 8 Finals in Rio, where they took second place after losing to a G2 Esports that had been dominant in the scene up until that point. In Season 10, they had a real chance of winning the whole thing after proving themselves during the regular season, but saw their chances go away after some visa issues that prevented Ronaldo “Ion” Osawa from playing. In his place came Nino “ninexT” Pavolini, and while he played well, FaZe could not beat DarkZero in the quarter finals.

This season, FaZe looks to change that. With no roster changes, they lean on their teamwork and  individual skills of their players, with Rafael “mav” Freitas having been elected the best Brazilian Rainbow Six player of 2019, and with their tactics built by their coach Twister. They’ve proven over and over again that they are a team that should always be feared and will fight for the top spots in the search for their Pro League title.

We are very confident because we feel that we could have won the Pro League in Japan if it wasn’t for the visa issues. We’ll keep having the same preparation and hope that this time everything goes right in both the Pro League and the Invitational.

- FaZe Clan's player, cameram4n.

Team oNe

Prediction: 4th

Roster: Reduct, Faallz, LuKid, rhz, FelipoX

Coach: Budega, Vivas

New Arrivals: FelipoX

Departures: SKaDinha

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The Team oNe roster before the changes. (Photo: Team oNe)

The Golden Boys

Team oNe surprised many in their first season of Pro League, finishing in third place ahead of  notorious teams like Team Liquid and Black Dragons, and just one point behind FaZe Clan, almost getting a place at the Pro League Finals. Many compared their performance with Team Empire in their first Pro League season, where they became champions in Season 9, and although they came close, Team oNe did not reach that same level in their entry season.

Lead by their main player of Luca “LuKid” Sereno -- who finished the season with an incredible 147 kills, just behind Muzi in the number of most kills in the region -- Team oNe should have another remarkable season. This is despite the departure of Luiz “SKaDinha” Vinicius, alleging personal issues, as the team has kept its confident play style with the arrival of Felipe “FelipoX” De Lucia, making to the grand final of the 2020 Six Invitational Qualifier, eventually losing to MIBR 1-3.

Team oNe is another team that will cause headaches to their opponents this season. Now more experienced, they have the capability to put up a fight against any team, but more experienced teams can still get the best of them for knowing how to play under pressure. They are definitely a team to keep an eye on and they can even get one of the spots for the Finals if over teams gloss over their abilities. 

My expectation is that this Pro League will be one of the closest ones yet, no team is far behind another and for my team it will be the season we will create even more strats than last season

- Team oNe's player, LuKid.

MIBR

Prediction: 5th

Roster: Cyber, Novys, Bullet1, MKing, Hugzord

Coach: Guille

New Arrivals: N/A

Departures: N/A

mibr oga
MIBR during the OGA Pit Minor Finals.

Getting back to good shape

The recent record in the Pro League for MIBR has not been positive, having to play the relegation match last season, which certainly disappointed many of the fans. Many expected a great season after the team qualified for the Pro League Finals two seasons in a row, when they were still known as Immortals. After that, they placed combined fifth in BR6, the team didn’t qualify for the Finals at GameXP, and morale visibly went down.

But with the end of the season, and time to work, the MIBR roster rebuilt and planned to show why everyone should still fear them. The team not only for the OGA Pit Minor Finals in Croatia -- where they beat the likes of G2 Esports and Spacestation Gaming in dominant form -- it also won the 2020 Six Invitational Qualifier also in great style, losing only two maps in the entirety of the tournament.

This season, MIBR is looking highly competitive again. Led by Jaime “Cyb3r” Ramos, who is going through a remarkable purple patch, and Daniel “Novys” Novy, MIBR is on the rise since they bootcamped in Europe. This seemed to give a boost to the team that is looking to keep the momentum going to compete in the Pro League season and the Invitational. Now, the only thing to watch for is if that will be enough to secure a Finals spot against so many strong teams that will be playing this season.

INTZ e-Sports

Prediction: 6th

Roster: Dudds, Vnx, Drunkkzz, Vittzzz, Alem4o

Coach: JP, igoorctg (Analista)

New Arrivals: Vittzzz, Alem4o

Departures: Intact, bor

intz br6
INTZ during the BR6 2019. (Photo: Rainbow Six Brazil)

Exceeding Expectations

The INTZ roster is a team that very often stays in the middle of the standings, sometimes coming close to a spot and sometimes coming close to playing relegations, such as last season, when they ended up just 2 points ahead of MIBR. However, with some experienced players and some new ones, they are trying to exceed everyone's expectations this season.

With the departure of Intact and bor from the roster and the arrival of Karl “Alem4o” Zarth and Vitor “Vittzzz” Ruiz, the team are betting  on some new blood to surprise their opponents . Vittzzz already has some competitive experience, but Alem4o, although known as a content creator, will have his first professional experience this season. With the new players, INTZ played the Invitational qualifiers but ended up losing to Team oNe in the loser's semifinal. Even with the result, they showed some improvement compared to last season.

Though they are not between the top teams of the region, they are a team that can cause some problems,causing some troubles for the other teams and making the competition even closer then the season already is. Exceed expectations is their main goal and they will surely fight hard for it!

Our expectation is to be stronger than any other season, we have a more dynamic team now and will surely fight for the top spots!

- INTZ's new player, Alem4o.

Black Dragons

Prediction: 7th

Roster: Pzd, live, wag, Hornetao

Coach: sSeiiya

New Arrivals: Hornetao

Departures: Panico, GdNN1

bd br6
Black Dragons during the 2019 BR6 Finals. (Photo: Rainbow Six Brazil)

To rebuild history

Even with the organisation's glorious past, Black Dragons’ last season was problematic. The roster went through a lot of changes, losing João “HSnamuringa” Deam to Team Liquid and Vitor “Hugzord” Hugo to MIBR, further weakening an already unstable team. The return of Wagner “wag” Alfaro and Pedro “pzd” Dutra to the roster gave fans some hope of bringing back the past glories of their beginning with the org, but with little time to build chemistry, they only got to fifth place in the Pro League and fourth in the BR6.

With the departure of Panico and GdNN1 and the only arrival being of Victor “Hornetao” Lopes (one of the main players of last season’s Challenger League with the CHICOS Team), the team had to make Henrique “sSeiiya” Sanchez leave his position as coach and step up as their fifth player. With this roster, the team had some decent games in the qualifiers for both the OGA Pit Minor and the 2020 Six Invitational, but didn’t manage to qualify for either of them.

The season will be a challenge for Black Dragons, with sSeiiya splitting his time between two roles and a new player on the roster. It will not be easy for them to face teams who have had much more time to build up their chemistry and technique, but they will surely fight to put Black Dragons where the org already has been for a long time -- at the top.

Our expectation is to fit well all the team's new pieces, have some time to work with the roster and not lose important players during the season. If that happens, I believe we have a bright future as a team. Knowing that even with me playing and using reused tactics that everyone knows, we were able to get a ‘good’ result in the last qualifiers for the OGA Pit Minor and Invitational.

- Black Dragons' player and coach, sSeiiya.

Elevate

Prediction: 8th

Roster: LENDA1, Hxnteer, Kds, Soulz, Will

Coach: Ramalho

New Arrivals: Kds

Departures: Hornetao

elevate an
Elevate's new roster announcement. (Photo: Elevate)

The Wildcard

After an amazing run in Season 10 of the Challenger League, ending with a scoreboard of 10 wins, one draw, and three losses, Elevate (then known as CHICOS Team) have high hopes for the first Pro League season with this roster. With just one roster change, the departure of Hornetao to Black Dragons and the arrival of Eduardo “KDS” Santos, they see themselves as ready to face all their opponents.

The path won’t be easy however, with many far more experienced teams ahead of them, Elevate may have some difficulties playing at this level of competition. Teams like FaZe Clan and Team Liquid could end up intimidating a roster that has never played a Pro League match before. The only player with Pro League experience on the team is their coach Matheus “Ramalho” Ramalho. This was reflected in the 2020 Six Invitational qualifier, where Elevate could not compete with the teams who are already used to this high level of play.

Nevertheless, Elevate is betting on the surprise element, since many do not expect them to perform well. If things go according to plan, they may be able to sneak points off unsuspecting opponents, but it seems that they will be finishing eighth otherwise.

Well, we learned with this Invitational qualifier that we need to better prepare ourselves for the matches, until now there were no preparations and study for the matches, but for Pro League we will change that and will surprise everyone!

- Elevate's player, Lenda1.

Following this, my predictions for the Season 11 final standings are:

  1. Team Liquid
  2. Ninjas in Pyjamas
  3. FaZe Clan
  4. Team oNe
  5. MIBR
  6. INTZ
  7. Black Dragons
  8. Elevate

As always, we encourage you all to use this as a launching point for forming your own opinions, and hope this will serve as a guide for all viewers, new and experienced! Be sure to tune into Season 11 of the Pro League when it kicks off on January 6th to see how these predictions hold up as the season progresses.