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 went 3-0 in the Swiss group stage, taking the first playoff spot at IEM Sydney. To achieve that, the Brazilian side won against ViCi and two Danish teams, North and Astralis. 

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.

Brazil Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
2017-05-04 12:54
Hungary sprayK1NG
2017-05-04 12:54
Rhymes< 3
2017-05-04 12:57
good job taquinho, HLTV loves you <3
2017-05-04 12:57
SK could win with 5 awps aswell
2017-05-04 12:58
That's a really bad picture of Taco.
2017-05-04 13:09
tbh it's hard to find a good one
2017-05-05 22:06
Taco > FalleN
2017-05-04 13:11
<3 my brother I'm so proud of you <3 Thank you HLTV, nice interview <3 We smart, we loyal, we friendly, we are from BRAZIL! Kreygasm
2017-05-04 13:12
That picture lol :D :D
2017-05-04 13:13
he looks baked af in that pic.
2017-05-04 13:16
stoned as fuck
2017-05-04 13:23
Australia Raychippy
He looks tired as f
2017-05-04 13:25
Great player..one of the best atm
2017-05-04 13:28
Looks like the psychopath from "No country for old men"
2017-05-04 13:42
lmao, true
2017-05-04 19:17
2017-05-04 20:46
haahah taco awper hahahha
2017-05-04 13:49
Finland ginbay
"I'm free to buy" expected tbh
2017-05-04 13:59
Taco learning from fox, he buys awp to drop to fallen
2017-05-04 14:01
2017-05-04 18:50
"I think I learned" the other AWP lul
2017-05-04 19:02
2017-05-04 19:16
United States hehexddd
I don't get it, can you explain?
2017-05-04 19:47
United States hehexddd
No I know he named it that, I just don't get WHY he named it that
2017-05-04 20:08
He thinks he's good at sniper now but it's just another joke
2017-05-04 20:12
2017-05-04 22:37
United States hehexddd
2017-05-04 22:56
he is a cool guy
2017-05-04 20:12
His older awp was called "drop for fallen", but the actual is "I think I learned". Got it?
2017-05-05 08:22
at least we know that taco has some sense of humour
2017-05-04 19:45
That's the point
2017-05-04 19:51
lol taco
2017-05-04 14:02
worst picture of taco lul
2017-05-04 14:59
I like TACO TACO is a good person
2017-05-04 15:22
taco is going bald
2017-05-04 16:44
No shit.. That's why he always used the beanie.
2017-05-04 17:21
Brazil Nyaulex
Great interview
2017-05-04 17:20
2017-05-04 19:18
Ez for best team in the world (SK)
2017-05-04 20:50
Astralis tried to do the same as they did with FaZe: Let Cobblestone to be played, but in the last veto, they didn't have the courage. I knew as well that the map would be Inferno. Astralis tried freaking out SK by banning both Mirage and Cache already, but it didn't work.
2017-05-04 21:27
+1 Professeur
2017-05-05 08:05
cs:go became so boring :/ astralis, sk and losing VP. so shitty to read and watch this
2017-05-05 12:37
so boring ? Astralis, Virtus.Pro, FaZe, SK, Gambit and Envyus already won tournaments this year better than 2014/2015 when nip/fnatic won every tournaments
2017-05-05 19:19
2017-05-05 22:18
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