Ricardo “boltz” Prass started his Counter-Strike: Global Offensive journey in Brazil. He played on Pro Gaming.TD alongside some recognizable Brazilian Counter-Strike players such as steel, zqk, fbm, and rkz.

ProGaming.TD had loaned steel, boltz, and zqk to Kabum e-Sports to compete at ESWC 2014. After the trio had returned from the competition in France, the decision to merge with Kabum e-Sports was made. ProGaming.TD merged with Kabum e-Sports and formed Kabum.TD. As a result, more funds were available and the team was able to go on and participate in more tournaments.

The trio of boltz, steel, and zqk had linked up with FalleN and fer. Their tenure at Kabum.TD lasted a few months. After their successful qualification for the ESL One: Katowice 2015 major, the Kabum.TD roster was acquired by Keyd Stars.

In their opening match in Katowice, the Brazilians faced the predominantly Swedish side, Ninjas in Pyjamas. The Brazilians were not able to secure a major upset against the Swedish side as they succumbed to NIP 16-8 on Inferno. With their backs against the walls, the Brazilians had to beat HellRaisers to ensure they were not eliminated early on. Their match was on Inferno, and, Keyd Stars prevailed with a 16-12 scoreline to break even in the group stages. Their final match was against North American side Counter Logic Gaming on Dust II. Keyd Stars prevailed 16-8 against the North Americans to secure themselves a spot in the knockout stages of the tournament. Boltz and company were set to face Virtus.pro in the knockout stages of the tournament. Virtus.pro took the first map, Mirage, in a convincing manner, finishing 16-4. Keyd Stars made their mark on Overpass after finishing their CT half 11-4. Ultimately, Virtus.pro finished their CT half 11-4 and the game went into overtime. Fortunately, Keyd Stars were able to secure an overtime victory 19-17 to take the Polish side to map three, Nuke. Unfortunately, Nuke was a 16-1 victory for VP, and Keyd Stars were eliminated from Katowice. Fortunately, the Brazilians had secured the legends spot for the next major.

Boltz would go on to compete under the Keyd Stars banner domestically, competing in various Brazilian competitions and on the international stage, competing at the ESEA Pro League Season 1 Finals and ESWC 2015.

On July 17, 2015, the team of FalleN, boltzz, steel, fer, and zqk had left the Keyd Stars organization. Zqk was replaced by coldzera, and ex-Keyd Stars were snapped up by Luminosity Gaming eleven days after their departure from the Brazilian organization. These players were the first five players from Brazil to successfully move to North America for a career in professional Counter-Strike. Under the Luminosity banner, boltz competed at several top-tier tournaments, such as ESL One: Cologne 2015, Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca 2015 and IEM San Jose. Boltz was apart of the initial squad that started the slow, but steady rise of Brazilian Counter-Strike as this team would continue to upset teams, or have close matches with some of the world’s best teams at the time.

Towards the end of 2015, boltz and steel were removed from the Luminosity side and were replaced by TACO and fnx as the Brazilian side continued to pursue greatness. For most, if not all players, getting cut from a roster is a difficult time. Players must start the quest of finding a new team that will utilize their talents, which could mean months of inactivity at the top level. For boltz, it was different. He, alongside many of the prominent Brazilian names we recognize today, was the first Brazilian Counter-Strike players to dub their passion as their career. In the blink of an eye, that was gone, and boltz had to start again, to an extent.

Most players would baulk at the idea of having to start again, whether literal or figurative, but in order to get back to where he was once, boltz had to do just that and did so without complaint and without hesitation.

When we think about great players, we often look to one simple factor, which is their skill. After that, fans may recall instances of players being determined or being a good person, but the first thing that springs to mind is skill or talent in their particular role. Aside from their skill, part of what makes a player great is their character. Their will to bounce back from difficult times, as well as the courage to soldier on and push on to achieve what they want to achieve, or to taste what they had achieved prior to their fall, whether great or slight.

That’s what boltz did.

On November 29, 2015, Boltz and felps had joined the Games Academy roster. Felps and boltz would play alongside SHOWTIME, LUCAS1, and HEN1, and be under the tutelage of peacemaker. Shortly after the arrival of boltz, the Games Academy roster was signed by Tempo Storm.

The rather youthful Brazilian roster followed in the footsteps of their seniors at Luminosity and moved to the United States, with the assistance of FalleN. Tempo Storm went on to play in some major tournaments and performed quite well at them. The Brazilians played at tournaments such as IEM Katowice 2016 and Dreamhack Malmo before winning the CEVO Season 9 Pro League LAN Finals, topping their group, beating VP in a best of five semifinals and beating the European iteration of SK Gaming in the finals. Boltz and Tempo Storm used this tournament victory as a springboard, and the Brazilians placed 2nd at Dreamhack Austin, losing out to Luminosity in the finals.

After the departure of peacemaker, who had gone to Team Liquid, ex-Tempo Storm, who at this point in time had become the Immortals CS: GO line up, had lacked a dedicated in-game leader. To fill this void they had recruited a 2x major winning coach, zews, to be their in-game leader after their victory at Dreamhack Summer. Under zews, Immortals had some success. The Brazilians had captured the Northern Arena Toronto championship, as well as finishing 2nd in the online portion of the ESL Pro League. Unfortunately, the team struggled for offline results and failed to achieve much at the 2nd season of ELEAGUE and the ESL Pro League Finals, which were hosted in Sao Paolo. Boltz and company had elected to make another change. With zews departing to coach Team Liquid, Immortals had elected to bring in steel, boltz’s former teammate.  Peacemaker and zews attempted to implement a structured, stricter style of Counter-Strike. Despite results here and there, it did not suit the amount of star players the team had, so with steel’s looser style being implemented, the heavy hitters of the team were able to run around and, essentially do their thing, with steel and boltz to support them. It worked. Immortals had won the iBUYPOWER Masters, placed decently at IEM Oakland and placed first at the Americas Minor. A group stage exit at the ECS Season 2 Finals marked the end of the year for boltz and his team.

On February 5, 2017, felps departed for SK Gaming and fnx had joined in his place. The team had another star player and went on to kick off their 2017 strongly, placing in the top 4 at IEM Katowice. Unfortunately, they bombed out early at the StarLadder Finals, only to bounce back and place 2nd at Dreamhack Austin.

Fnx’s tenure at Immortals was short, as the player was benched due to internal issues with the team.

Shortly after his removal from the active line up, Immortals announced kNg as his replacement.

Immortals failed to qualify from the group stages at the ESL Pro League S5 Finals but then went on to secure 2nd place at the Americas Minor and top four at Dreamhack Summer. The Brazilians went on to place high enough in the Major Qualifier to secure a spot at the PGL Major in Krakow – boltz’s first major since Cluj Napoca 2015.

Boltz’s men marched into Krakow’s group stage, and marched out with a 3-2 record, losing to SK and Astralis but beating the likes of Vega, Na’Vi, and FlipSide to qualify. BIG stood in the Immortals’ way in the quarterfinals, and, this obstacle was dealt with by Immortals in a 2-1 victory. Immortals would then go on to meet Virtus.pro. The veteran Polish side was backed up by their home crowd in Krakow, but this did not sway the Brazilians, as they eased past Virtus.pro with a 2-0 victory to book a spot in the finals against Gambit. Immortals kicked off the finals in an emphatic fashion, ousting Gambit on Cobblestone 16-4. Gambit came back, and made Train and Inferno theirs, securing them 16-11 and 16-10 respectively.

Boltz had come so close to that major Counter-Strike glory he had been working towards for so long. Nevertheless, second place at the major with such a young squad is a fantastic achievement. Immortals had secured legends status and surprised many doing so.

Unfortunately, sometimes with great heights come greater falls, and it happened to boltz, again.

On September 20, kNg was removed from the team after the incident at Dreamhack Montreal. Two days later, HEN1 and LUCAS1 were benched.

kNg and the twins, HEN1 and LUCAS1 then went on to form a team with fnx and bit. With kNg, HEN1, and LUCAS1 gone, this also meant that Immortals’ legends status was gone with them, and on top of that, it meant the roster had to be rebuilt from scratch. The Immortals’ coach, zakk, stood in for a while whilst the team had their fellow Brazilian players ring for them whilst they found replacements they deemed suitable. Eventually, the organization settled on horvy, destinyy and zqk.

In a way, once again, boltz had to start from scratch.

However, an opportunity came to boltz recently in the form of SK Gaming. Brazil’s finest had called upon him to play with them at EPICENTER. This was boltz’s chance to grab the glory he had been seeking for so long, and he did so, with both hands and a firm grip.

In their opening match at EPICENTER, SK Gaming had beaten VP convincingly in the best of three, ousting them 2-0 and allowing VP to claim 12 rounds against them. Their next opponents, FaZe were a bit more formidable, but that did not stop SK, as they were able to conquer the European side 2-1 to advance with a 2-0 record in the group stage. SK went on to beat Astralis 16-11 on Train and was able to mount a very impressive comeback on Mirage to win in overtime. This secured their 2-0 victory over the Danes and they booked themselves a spot in the finals against Virtus.pro. In one of the most thrilling best of five finals to date, SK Gaming was able to beat the Polish side in a nail-biting finals series to secure a first-place finish in St. Petersburg.

Boltz is a selfless player. In the post-match interview with coldzera, the Brazilian superstar stated that the main difference between boltz and felps is their style of play. Felps tends to get more aggressive whilst boltz is more of a passive player, and the balance between the passive and aggressive components of SK Gaming’s style of Counter-Strike is more balanced with the addition of boltz. With boltz in this system now, SK can go back to that set up aggressive set up for fer or the passive set up for coldzera. The interchangeability in SK Gaming’s game is more fluent because of the selfless nature of boltz’s gameplay.

With the first career setback for boltz, he worked hard individually and sacrificed a lot of his own room to shine so the players around him could shine, or stepped up to shine himself, or stepped up to lead a team to victory. Boltz’s selfless nature inside the server and his role versatility makes him a unique and valuable player, a definite asset to any team. His skills and role diversity aside, he is an asset as a person. He suffered not one, but two major career setbacks. Both times he was set back he did not complain or get upset. Instead, he kept his head down and worked hard in the hopes of achieving his dream once again. At first, it was to secure Counter-Strike as a career once again, to continue pursuing his passion. Most recently, it was to get a taste of the glory he was so close to getting. He was able to do both. Boltz secured his passion as his career and was able to finally achieve a great milestone, alongside some of Brazil’s finest.

When the going got tough, boltz got going. A player and a person like that is an asset for any team, and in my books, a great player.

Hard work, perseverance, dedication, the fire burning for success bolted down by a will of steel meant that boltz would develop as a player, and more importantly, as a person.

Boltz was rewarded adequately, with a win at the top with some of the best players Brazil has to offer, it almost feels like boltz’s journey as a professional Counter Strike player has come full circle. He’s playing alongside FalleN, coldzera and fer once again, but this time as a more mature player and person. His skills have been honed, and his time to shine with Brazil’s elite players has come.

Boltz is a player forged by the hardships he has endured throughout his career so far, and has, without a doubt, worked hard for every ounce of success he has achieved, and will achieve in the future.

 

 

 

About The Author

Jonah
Esports - Staff Writer

My first video game was Tonka Construction for the PC. I played that in 2000, at 3 years of age, and have been hooked by video games ever since. I like to dabble in as many games as I possibly can, but nothing can come close to a captivating story, an intense multiplayer experience or a well made RTS game. In 2015, I found what can only be described as passion and love for esports. Now I convey that passion, love and knowledge through articles about esports titles, most notably Counter Strike.