We are all secretly cheering for Imperial at PGL Antwerp
Success in esports comes from a set of processes followed over and over again, until they become muscle memory. Imperial securing a ticket for the upcoming PGL Antwerp Major 2022 is the perfect example of this.
The Brazilian Last Dance (Imperial) houses Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga and Lincoln “fnx” Lau. Their aura of invincibility stems from the presence of a dominating roster that has turned up season after season for a decade. Over time, this has got them truckloads of fans, not just in Brazil, but across America and Europe. The ever-expanding footprint has given them recognition, helped drive sponsors and make them CS:GO behemoths whose next challenge is to sustain this next level domination in the immediate future.
At Antwerp, they are the Cinderella story, the bid for an epic comeback to prominence, the return of legends.
Imperial sweeps the competition
The founding trio was instrumental in sweeping Party Astronauts last month in the final of the Americas Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournament. Over 10,000 fans were eagerly anticipating magic from the Brazilian outfit, and while it did look for a while as if the contest would be a lot closer than anticipated, they eventually flexed their muscle to win.
The Brazilians were firmly grounded in Dust II. They slipped up with mistakes you wouldn’t otherwise see them making. And that small window of an opportunity was enough for FalleN (24 kills, 13 deaths) and Vinicius “VINI” Figueiredo (23 kills, 14 deaths) forced the game into a tie, before they took the game 16-11. Party Astronauts were in the contest right till the end. It was a proper arm-wrestle; they held on until a point where they just couldn’t sustain the pressure and collapsed.
Fer and Ricardo “Boltz” Prass came up with an inspired effort to try and raise the possibility of overtime, only to see that dream come crashing down. Champion outfits are remembered for their ability to get out of jail; Imperial didn’t just get out of it, they broke the door open and blazed away effortlessly, leaving a massive trail of destruction.
Last Dance commences
The Last Dance’s success has resonated across every sphere. They have been one of the most watched teams across all RMRs for the PGL Major Answers 2022. Just let these numbers soak in: a total of 1.56 million hours were consumed by fans, the highest-ever for any Brazilian sports team, and also comfortably the highest across America. This was only behind Astralis and Natus Vincere who clocked 2.28 million and 2.27 million respectively.
Amazingly, all of this began as speculation last year. That it turned into reality was the stuff dreams are made of. Top finishes in multiple local Brazilian CS:GO tournaments gave them ammunition to rev up in style. Failure to quality for the Blast Premier: Spring American Showdown 2022 was no deterrent. While this project may only be in people’s consciousness until the end of May, FalleN and company’s end goal is clear. To complete the Brazilian Major. This has been firmly in their mind for over two years as they have carefully planned this project.
Even before the America RMR which was only going to be a pitstop to their final destination. It was a mark of confidence in the team’s ability to overcome any challenge to achieve their end goal. The team had their fair share of fun, games and banter. Then they poured in hours and hours practising for the season. Antwerp 2022 was imprinted firmly in their mind with every action trained towards the end goal.
FalleN’s project has revived the team and has set them up for the long haul. No one remembers they disbanded their former roster on January 1 this year without renewing contacts of players is testimony to the turnaround. FalleN has left no stone unturned in making this Last dance project a success.
And he has gone out of his way on social media to ensure this dream of his doesn’t just remain a dream. He wants the journey to be unforgettable and doesn’t want uncertainties, insecurities, fear to come in the way of him or his side’s progress. Through their actions, they’ve ensured the project which was meant to be a small step towards a new beginning has turned into a giant leap.
We are all secretly cheering for Imperial and the Last Dance to be an absolute success in Antwerp.