IEM Rio 2023 has been a whirlwind from start to finish, with some of the strongest teams in the world having already been eliminated from the tournament. And with just days to go before the Grand Final, Viperio's coach Ciaran "BisCu" King sat down for an exclusive chat with Luckbox to discuss how he thinks the tournament is going to play out.
Viperio's IEM Rio 2023 predictions
Just six teams remain in the running at IEM Rio 2023, and the Playoffs are due to kick off later today (April 21) with the Quarterfinals. With just a handful of contenders left, BisCu shares who he's rooting for.
That's not the only player BisCu has praise for, however. While they have since been eliminated from IEM Rio 2023, Viperio's shares that he takes some considerable inspiration from a particular member of FaZe Clan.
"I would say Robin "ropz" Kool impressed me the most," BisCu notes. "Just simply because he is my favourite player! Every demo I watch of him, I always seem to find something new that I can learn from him."
And Viperio, as the team has shared in previous interviews with Luckbox, is a team that is continually looking to learn, both from its victories and its setbacks. And its most recent setback came at the European RMR for the upcoming Paris Major, which Viperio finished in 15th - 16th place.
Of course, some would argue that Viperio did well to make it to the RMR at all - given that they were the lowest-ranked team to do so. And indeed, the team impressed fans back at home in their debut match against Fnatic. While they were ultimately unable to claim victory, they defied the odds to pull off a closer-than-expected final score of 20 - 22.
But while they were things for Viperio to celebrate from their RMR run, they will not be able to compete in the BLAST.tv Paris Major - something that team captain Tom "arTisT" Clarke described to Luckbox as being a "dream" of his. Viperio has been learning the lessons from this setback and has made the difficult decision to make some changes to its roster - with the team saying goodbye to both Jack "Gizmy" von Spreckelsen and Marco "MMS" Salomone.
"Making a roster change is the last thing I want to do as a coach, for me it's like admitting defeat frankly," says BisCu. "I believe that Jack and Marco are both fine players and have shown as much during their time with us, however, our recent form has been alarming and as a team, we believe we've exhausted every avenue in order to arrest the slide we have been on.
"It can take a toll on the morale and the chemistry of the group when you work so hard to change the results but they stay the same, so we are forced to admit defeat and shake the roster up in order to explore another avenue to stop the bleeding. This is where we have to make hard decisions about the futures of players on the roster and unfortunately, this has concluded with Marco and Jack leaving the project to pursue new opportunities and continue their young careers in roles and teams that suit them, we wish them nothing but good luck and love."
And so with a new lineup, the Viperio team has some breathing room in order to rebuild and re-strategise. So what's next for Viperio? What's their new dream?
"I think ambitions-wise, it's just finding consistency and stability," BisCu notes. "Of course, once the switch to Counter-Strike 2 comes, that's a chance for any team to just shoot up the rankings and prove themselves as fast as they can."
BisCu has high hopes for Counter-Strike 2, which is due to launch later this year as a replacement for CS:GO, both for fans and across the professional scene. It's an exciting time for Counter-Strike, and BisCu believes that the renewed game will bring new blood into the esport.
"Everyone who maybe hasn't touched Counter-Strike before, or maybe started too late will take this as a chance to prove themselves within Counter-Strike 2," explains BisCu. "Kind of like what happened with Valorant!"
And much like his teammate arTisT, BisCu hopes that some of this new blood will help push the UK to be a more dominant force in Counter-Strike.
"Hopefully it does! I mean, I know it's still the same game basically, but I'm hoping it will give the UK scene a boost of motivation to make UKCS bigger in Counter-Strike 2."
You'll be able to find out if BisCu is right about his IEM Rio 2023 predictions very soon. The Playoffs are due to begin later today (April 21) with the Quarterfinals, so make sure to sign up now so that you can watch IEM Rio 2023 live via our upcoming IEM Rio match schedule!