SK got their two first wins after struggling with EnVyUs and NiP, and we caught up with TACO to run us through the action.
Epitacio "TACO" de Melo runs us through the team's feeling going into the event as well as through both matches, and shares a bit about Ricardo "boltz" Prass's quick adaptation to the team and SK's plans for ECS and the Major, where boltz is ineligible to play.
Let’s start with the comebacks, EnVyUs maybe a bit of a harder match than expected?
Yes, we played a few times against EnVy and we played them on Cobble so we know how they play. We were feeling pretty confident going in against them although it turned out to be a bit harder than expected. We were really calm the entire match, but in the beginning we weren’t feeling that good because it has been a while since we’ve played official matches, a week or so. We were in Brazil playing the [WESG] qualifier so we didn’t have enough time to practice, and our practice in Brazil wasn’t good in general. We were cold in the beginning of the match, but during the match we were calm as always and it ended up being fine.
What about against NiP, did you expect them to come out as strong as they did on the terrorist side, and did you expect you could make the comeback after the switch?
Yeah, we actually picked CT because we thought they didn’t have a really good T side. We knew they play the executes and with a lot of smokes and so on, and as CT we thought that if we played aggressive against them we could have some success, but it didn’t work. When we went to the terrorist side we knew we needed to win the pistol round since it was 4-11, and we said “guys, we just need the pistol, terrorist side on Cobblestone is our best side” so we were feeling really confident even with the 4-11 halftime score.
I have a couple questions about boltz. The first event he comes in you guys go all the way, but having played a bit more with him now, how is it going? Obviously he fits the playstyle better, allows the traditionally aggressive players to shine being more passive himself...
The adaptation to boltz was really simple. We knew how he plays and that’s why we picked him to play with us. It was really easy even without practicing with him very much. We only practiced a few days with him so we’re not at our full potential. Like I said, it was easy and simple because we knew his style and that he was what this team needs. He gives freedom to fer and cold and even to me. Now I can change some roles, renew many things. When you play the same way, on the same sites, doing the same things, people start countering you. Now everyone can do new things and we’re really happy to be playing with him. Also, he’s a really good player, and he’s doing really well.
Having played with this core back in the day, how do you think boltz has grown as a player?
I haven’t played with him for years, but I always watched him play and I’m sure with the old Immortals lineup he learned a lot. He’s a really different player now even though he kept his style as a passive player, big ups to him. I think in our team he’ll keep learning, and his mindset is really good. He’s open to listening to everything we say to him and I’m pretty sure he can still keep learning a lot.
So you guys are back on top of the rankings, which had shifted a bit lately with teams like FaZe and Astralis up there. How do you see the competition at the top right now?
There’s no solid top team right now. Astralis are struggling a bit, but they’re still a really good team, they’re always there, FaZe won some tournaments lately, so I don’t think there’s a best team right now. We are working to try and stay consistent and keep winning tournaments. We have four tournaments left and this competition is good for us, it’s what keeps us wanting to keep winning. I remember when we woke up and saw we were on the third place of the ranking we said “guys, this can’t happen, let’s practice, let’s play our best again to get back on top.” It’s not the most important thing, but I think it’s important to be the best on the ranking and that’s why we’ve been working hard the past months.
To wrap it up, one more question regarding boltz and the player change. He can’t play the Major and ECS, so how are you guys facing this?
First of all, I think the rule is bad for the players and the fans, boltz just played the online qualifier for the Americas Minor, so it’s kind of unfair. I don’t agree with it. But when we decided to bring him on we knew this and there’s nothing we can do about it. The Major and ECS we’ll just play with a stand-in. At ECS we’ll use another player and we’ll play the Major with felps. As far as ECS we don’t have many options, I know we can play with felps, but I’m not sure if that works out for him or not, we’ll have to choose a player that hasn’t played the online portion of the tournament.