TACO: I'm free to buy the AWP
SK were the first team to qualify for the IEM Sydney playoffs, defeating Astralis on Inferno in the last match. After their victory, we talked to Epitacio "TACO" de Melo about his AWPing, winning cs_summit and the goals in Australia.
SK felt like the Inferno pick surprised Astralis
In the aftermath of their match against Astralis, HLTV.org caught up with Epitacio "TACO" de Melo to hear about improving Inferno, facing Gambit and their plans for the period leading up to the Major.
Starting with cs_summit that you won, how did that tournament go for you? Did the laid-back environment influence anything, since you've been struggling to win a tournament and the pressure was there?
The tournament was fine, the format was really fine for the players, it was really good to play the tournament. I think everybody liked the format. For us, it was a boost of confidence, we were struggling the last tournaments that we played at, IEM Katowice and StarLadder where we lost in group stages. So this was a boost of confidence and it was very important to us to win this tournament. In general, it was very good for us.
The grand final against Gambit was a good match, especially since no one expected much from that tournament, it was a decently close series. Tell me how you saw the final against Gambit?
In the winners' bracket, we won against Gambit pretty… cleanly, pretty fine for us. In the finals we didn't expect something hard, to be honest, but you have to give props to Gambit as well. They are a great team, improving a lot, they won DreamHack Austin. So it was a close grand final, we won 3-1, but the loss on Inferno was really important for us, because we figured out some mistakes that we fixed and we used that to win against Astralis now.
What is the general feeling coming to IEM Sydney, the opposition, what were your plans and preparation for this event?
Like I said, we used cs_summit, the matches, to figure out the mistakes, and then we used the last week to fix the mistakes we did at cs_summit. This week was very important for us, we practiced a lot, we practiced a lot on Train, Inferno and Overpass, maps we weren't that good on we worked a lot on after cs_summit.
You opened with ViCi, they had some good rounds and seemed competitive at the start, how did it go from your perspective?
To be honest, we had no idea how they were playing. It's a new style, we never practiced or played against them. At the beginning, we were kinda surprised as well, but during the game we were fine. They lack experience still, they have potential, Chinese teams, Asian teams, they have potential, I hope we will see more Chinese and Asian teams playing international tournaments.
Against North you played on Cobblestone again, what was the struggle there on T side, you came back on CT?
We played against North many times in the recent tournaments and we won Cobblestone many times against them as well, I don't know why they let us play Cobble against them. I think both sides could've won the game, we lost pistol rounds, ecos, rounds we should not have lost. In the end, I think the result was fair, they are a really good team as well, but on Cobble I think we are 12-0 now and it's a really good map for us.
At the end of the map, we saw you with the AWP on B platform, that's the place you seem to AWP on the most. You had that great round that sealed the deal in a way - tell me a bit about your AWPing, why do you AWP only in that position it seems like?
Since felps joined our team, we had to switch some positions, and the positions I'm holding now, I'm free to buy the AWP. So, A on Cache I can buy the AWP, Cobblestone platform I can play the AWP.
When I feel comfortable to do something I will try to practice to be better and will do that thing. I think playing the AWP is amazing, we can play the dual AWP, me and FalleN, depends on the map, sometimes it's coldzera and FalleN, on Inferno felps tried it as well. When I think something is good I'll try it in practice and do it to help out my team and I think it worked out well.
The last match, you already mentioned it, was the one against Astralis. How confident were you in the Inferno pick, were you happy with the veto?
I think the advantage for us was that we knew that we were going to play Inferno, but they didn't. I'm pretty sure that they thought that we don't play Inferno or we are bad on Inferno. But actually, as I said, we spent the last week practicing Inferno a lot, fixing the mistakes we did at cs_summit. I think we lost eco rounds, both pistol rounds… I think we played better and the result was fair in the end, we played better than Astralis.
Looking forward, you are announced at DreamHack Summer, what is the plan for that period leading up to the Major?
We are going to play the ESL Pro League S5 Finals in Dallas next and after that we are going to boot camp in Europe leading up to ESL One Cologne and the Major. We are improving, we are a good team, but I think Astralis is the best team right now. I think it's important to know that we are not the best team in the world anymore and that we have to work harder than ever.
We are going to use DreamHack to practice, to clean up our mistakes. I think IEM Sydney will help as well, of course, we want to win this tournament, that is our main goal here, but if it doesn't happen it's OK. We are going to work, see what went wrong and go to the next tournaments better prepared.
Professeur writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter.