KontrolFreek Chats With The Rise Nation’s Brice Faccento, MVP of MLG Vegas 2016
Standing outside of one of Orlando’s Universal City Walk restaurants, we’re waiting with the old Elevate roster to grab some dinner on a warm August night. After a grueling 14-hour day of tournament-play during the Call of Duty MLG Orlando Open, our small crowd is tired, hungry and ready to go to bed as it’s already approaching midnight. Someone realizes teammate Brice Faccento has disappeared, only to see him hop back into the group with a new hat from one of the souvenir shops, and a smile on his face.
“I have to get a new hat when I travel,” Brice tells his teammates. “This will be the winning hat, just wait.” The guys laugh it off and we head to dinner, already in better spirits. The crisp, all-white cap may not have been the lucky charm Faccento had hoped for, but the team did walk away with a third-place finish and a check for $16,000. (That’s a solid return for a $24.95 investment.) One major roster change and four months later, Brice, Uly “Aqua” Silva and Tyler “Felo” Johnson sit next to new teammate Daniel “Loony” Loza at the PlayStation Experience (PSX) – they are now competing as part of The Rise Nation. They’ve parted ways with former teammate Jared “Nagafen” Harrell in hopes of finding the right mix of players that will improve their performance as a team. The previous year saw both Rise and Elevate battling out, while Elevate fought to break the “Second Place Curse”. However, the new roster’s 3rd – 4th place finish at PSX left fans worried, as the invitational didn’t even have the top seeded team, OpTic, present.
Fast forward to Championship Sunday of December’s MLG Vegas as Faccento shoots up out of his chair, grabs his plain, orange hat and looks out at the crowd in excitement. The Rise Nation won the Call of Duty open. He and his teammates gathered on stage after an intense match against Cloud9 and took turns hoisting up the Championship Trophy as they’ve finally secured a first-place finish. After an impressive performance, Faccento was awarded the MLG’s KontrolFreek MVP award and later attributed his success to the dad hat. After such an extraordinary tournament and being awarded the KontrolFreek MVP, we spoke with Faccento to find out what drove his recent breakthrough and how the curse of second place finally came to an end.
KF: What’s the key to your success, and why is it the dad hat?
BF: I’ve changed the way I practice. That helped a lot when transferring over to tournament play. The dad hat has magical powers.
KF: People were saying you played like an animal all weekend and had the best game of your life on Championship Sunday of MLG Vegas. Do you think this was your best event so far?
BF: Yes, this was probably my best event so far in my career. I honestly have to credit my teammates for how I played. I’m only as good as my team and they played near perfect Call of Duty in my eyes.
KF: What changed between PSX and MLG Vegas?
BF: The game itself took an almost complete 180 after a few updates that the community agreed with. It became more of a strategic game where valuing your life is very important. This style of play fits us as a team better than just flooding style pre-patch.
KF: After beating Cloud9 the first time, I asked you how you were feeling. You confidently said, “I’m good – It’s over. I’m in the zone now – it’s over.” How did you know you had hit your stride at that point? What happened to get you in the zone?
BF: At this point, I realized that I was ahead of everyone in terms of knowledge. This made me very confident going into every match. Staying poised throughout every tournament is a big change I wanted to make this year. So, with the combination of confidence and poise really got me into that zone I’ve been looking for.
BREAKING DOWN THE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH AT MLG VEGAS
KF: Map 1 Hardpoint – You spent 2:20 in the hill, more than anyone else by a large margin.Was that the strategy going into the match?
BF: Throwback Hardpoint is a great map for an OSA player like myself to be in hill a lot. So, off rotation and initial setups, I would play in and around the objective a lot more than a Kbar player.
KF: Map 2 Search and Destroy – Aches leads Cloud9 to play a cerebral game, playing passively and it seemed like your team didn’t know how to handle it. You’re able to rally and get the 1v1 clutch to take the win 6-5 but it seemed like Cloud9 controlled every match. What gave you the advantage to overcome their early dominance?
BF: Our team is really good at making adjustments mid-map to overcome what’s working for the other team. This map we were a bit late to the adjustment because we’ve never seen the style that they played before on offense & defense but we eventually cracked the code.
KF: Map 3 Uplink on Frost – The casters said Rise’s performance seemed a little lackluster and all Cloud 9 players ended the match with a positive K:D. What gave C9 that advantage, when they lost all their other uplinks? Was it all slaying power or did it have anything to with the map?
BF: Uplink is by far our weakest game type. We got a bit frantic on this map and didn’t play as together as we should have. I would say Cloud9 outplayed as a team more than outslaying us.
KF: Map 4 Hardpoint – You were only able to collect 22 seconds in the hill. Were Lacefield and Assault just too strong?
BF: I’ve come to find out Breakout Hardpoint is very tough to run an OSA on. Once again, they outplayed us as a team. Lacefield and Assault are both really good. They’re always a handful in- game.
KF: Map 5 SnD – Here’s where you all shined through, absolutely dominating with a 6-1 win. Assault was Cloud9’s last ray of hope, taking a 1v4 to a 1v1 – how did you feel, as the most prominent team slayer, when Felo was the last one alive?
BF: We were very clutch in this map. I think we had maybe 1 first blood? So we were down in numbers the entire game and still somehow pulled out a dominant victory. I had trust in Tyler at this moment. He always wins those types of situations.
KF: What was going through your head when you finally won? Had your confidence been shaken at all?
BF: ‘Finally…something I’ve been working towards for so long finally happened.’ It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. I don’t think my confidence will ever be shaken after that weekend.
KF: How does it feel to be chosen as MLG’s KontrolFreek MVP? What does it mean to you?
BF: To finally win my first event while also receiving the KontrolFreek MVP was just icing on the cake. I’ve always said I’m only as good as my team.
KF: Is this the beginning of a Rise vs Cloud9 rivalry or do you think your double elimination proved your position? Do you think any other team has you on their radar after this victory?
BF: I think it proved our position. My matches versus Aches have always been very entertaining but I’ve yet to lose to him in the past 2 years (knock on wood). Yeah, there’s a lot of really good teams out there trying to win. (FaZe, OpTic, EnVyUs, Cloud9, etc.)
KF: Some people think you had to adapt around Nagafen’s play-style. Do you agree or do you think that held you back in any way? Has your game changed now that you’re with Loony?
BF: I don’t think it was Nagafen’s play-style that was a problem because I think he’s super good. It was more of team conflicts on how we should play the game. Yes, I’ve been set free because of Loony. We both think about the game the same way, which added a lot of structure to our team. This is the type of atmosphere I thrive off of.
KF: How has your experience been since joining The Rise Nation? Does this win reinforce that you made the right choice staying with Felo & Aqua and joining up with Loony?
BF: I love The Rise Nation. Couldn’t think of one negative thing to say about the guys over here. Yes, it absolutely reinforces the decision. We finally got one.
KF: What’s next for you and the team, heading into MLG Atlanta?
BF: I’m on my home turf so hopefully, we can pull off the same result as Vegas.
If you want to watch the full Championships match from MLG Vegas, you can watch the action on MLG’s YouTube channel.
Want to see more from the MVP? Follow Faccento on his Twitter.
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