brTT: Brazil's Prodigal Son
Being on top comes with a target. With none before you, all those underneath will constantly aim to usurp, bringing their best to every match in hope of toppling the reigning champion.
Brazil’s paiN Gaming held the title of best for years, occupying a hazy place between leading their region and an inability to perform on an international stage. Following their loss to GamingGear.eu at the 2013 International Wildcard Tournament, paiN limped back to Brazil, still the best in their region but without a bid to the Season 3 World Championship.
On Feb. 9, 2014, five months after their loss on the international stage, AD carry Felipe “brTT” Gonçalves announced his departure from the team. As one of the faces of paiN Gaming, and one of the most recognizable League of Legends players in Brazil, this came as a shock to his legions of fans.
His sentiments upon leaving echoed the state of paiN Gaming at that time, citing their recent performance as a catalyst. While brTT felt that they were still the best in their region, he did not want that to be the limit for him. Suddenly, being the best was not enough.
“I can no longer grow with paiN. It has turned into my comfort zone,” he wrote in his parting Facebook post. “My limit is to win everything and make Brazil a world champion.”
My limit is to win everything and make Brazil a world champion.BrTT’s quest to be the best brought him to Keyd Stars two days later, when the team announced their revamped roster. This roster included two Korean imports: NaJin Black Sword Jungle substitute, Park “Winged” Tae Jin, and former Quantic Gaming Top laner, An “SuNo” Sun Ho.
This new Keyd Stars team was formed to wrest the Brazilian throne from paiN Gaming and to create a team that could represent Brazil at the World Championship. Keyd blew through the 2014 Brazilian regular season, with Winged exposing key weaknesses in the region’s understanding of macro strategy and available Jungle talent. Along for the ride was the boisterous AD carry, whose incisive comments regarding paiN Gaming’s previous stagnancy appeared to be true.
While brTT and Keyd Stars soared, the once-dominant paiN struggled mightily, dropping all six of their first six matches in the Riot Brazilian Champions League 2014. To stop the bleeding, paiN acquired two Korean imports of their own: Kim “Olleh” Joo Sung and Han “Lactea” Gi Hyeon. While the team was slow to gel at first, the end result was a fairly impressive unit that challenged Keyd Stars in the CBLoL 2014 Finals to the full five games before ceding.
Keyd Stars, and brTT, now looked ahead to the stage of the Brazilian Regional Qualifiers, where fans expected them to emerge victorious, earning the right to represent Brazil at the International Wildcard. Instead, they fell in the semifinals to a momentum-fueled KaBuM! e-Sports team.
In the off-season, Keyd looked still strong but also directionless. SuNo and Winged returned to their home of Korea, while the team picked up Murilo “Takeshi” Alves and Gabriel “Revolta” Henud for its respective Mid laner and Jungler. With erstwhile rival paiN Gaming appearing stronger by the week, in the Razer Challenge Season 2 and IEM San Jose Qualifier, Keyd slid solidly back into second place; still among the best in their region, but nothing more.
I was truly thrilled with the possibility of returning home.Restless, brTT tried out the jungling, saying that he had always wanted to try out another role. A few weeks later, he announced his departure from the team.
Rumors swirled throughout the off-season, growing in number when then-AD carry of paiN Gaming, Lactea, announced that he would be leaving the team along with Olleh.
“Receiving the offer from paiN made my heart leap,” brTT said. “I was truly thrilled with the possibility of returning home.”
BrTT additionally cited that the Keyd organization began to choke him, similar to his statements regarding his initial departure from paiN. However, if there were any hard feelings between the AD carry and his former organization, they were quickly erased upon announcement of his acquisition.
For the return of their former son, paiN Gaming laid out a resplendent red carpet in the form of a homecoming stream that garnered more than 50,000 viewers. This was later accompanied by a short skit of brTT’s former teammates grilling him on his time spent away from paiN Gaming. While the video is firmly tongue-in-cheek, there are a few truths to be gleaned upon listening – the belief that this paiN Gaming team and support staff has what it takes to make it to the world stage.
In both the stream and his “interrogation,” brTT appears happy, genuinely grateful to be back on the paiN roster. His fans and teammates, both new and former, seem more than willing to welcome him back into the fold.
PaiN Gaming and brTT will face formidable competition from a re-vamped Vivo Fibra Keyd Stars roster, along with a few more up-and-coming teams. In brTT’s time away from paiN, Brazil has grown exponentially as a region, growth that the AD carry actively facilitated while on Keyd Stars himself. However, both he and paiN Gaming wear the same target on their backs, still considered one of the best, and motivated by the desire to prove it, not only in Brazil but to the world.