We talked to Epitacio "TACO" de Melo after Liquid became the first team advancing to the New Legends stage of the FACEIT Major after securing an overtime win over Vega Squadron and going 3-0 in the Swiss format.
Up to the third round, you looked convincing, but here against Vega, it turned out to be a tough match. First of all, how did you approach Vega Squadron as a team that hadn't played almost anything up to this tournament?
To be honest, we really like to just play our game, but we knew that, against Vega, it would be a different story because they use a different playstyle. We actually wanted to study them to see the way they play, we knew the map would be between Cache and Mirage.
We tried to do that, but we didn't find demos (laughs), so we went to bed, we decided to just play our game, we knew that they have a really aggressive style. It's still pretty hard to play against this because the teams we practice all don't play like Vega, so it's still different and hard to play against.
What was the dynamic of the match itself like?
We were adapting at the beginning of the game because they were exploding on every side and they were using mid a lot, as well, so we realized that we had to either fight mid or fight the edges of the map and that's what we started doing. Then we came back in the first half, we won some ecos that helped a lot, and we got seven rounds as CT, which is not good, but we are confident in our T side.
We lost both pistol rounds, which doesn't help at all. But we won the full eco round in the third round, that helped a lot, but we were really confident as T. In the last part of the game when it was 15-13 for us, they got some early kills in the round and it messed up our strats, but we were really calm. In the early game, we were maybe sleepy, something like this. We weren't stressed, we kept calm in the game.
Going back to the start of the tournament - looking at some of these other teams that were in Stockholm or even at ZOTAC, were you at all worried you were going to be rusty at the start?
It was good for us. I think the way we decided our schedule for this second season was really good because we had more time to practice. Coming into this event and playing against teams who were playing in Stockholm helped us a lot because we can see if they have new stuff, we can actually steal some stuff for our team, as well, so it was really good to watch that tournament.
We got to know the opponents we would face here and in the Major, and going 3-0 means we will have even more time to practice, so we can still change stuff, we can prepare for the real Major.
How do you look at the competition in the next stage?
I think the format of the Major is a really hard format, anything can happen, it's a Swiss format and it's a best-of-one. I don't know what to expect in a best-of-one when I'm only facing good teams. Everyone playing at the Major are really good teams, in my opinion, so, in a best-of-one, there is no favorite. It's just hard, I don't really like the format, but that's what we have, and I hope we can go 3-0 as well in the next stage. I wish we can make Liquid legends, that's our first goal, and the second goal is winning the tournament, of course.
More interviews from the FACEIT Major New Challengers Stage:
cajunb: "I really want to win a Major, that's when I can retire and be happy"
somedieyoung: "We pretty much knew everything North were going to do"
AdreN: "It's me and Hobbit who are trying to make the mid-round calls"
hutji: "During his 1v1, chopper said 'no worries, guys, I'm going to punch him'"
tiziaN: "I've actually practiced it 3 or 4 times, but I wasn't planning on doing that shot"
Twistzz: "We knew that bootcamping was the way better option"
BnTeT: "We're confident in our skill, but I'm not sure we're confident in our team play"
Lekr0: "I think I learned the most about [in-game leading] from pronax back in the day"
stanislaw: "We have all the pieces to really do some damage"
B1ad3: "We still haven't found the perfect in-game leader"
crush: "We didn't play much [officially] because we wanted to find our game"
Hiko "American teams are dependent on the momentum they gain"
NEO: "byali wanted changes even before Snax told us [he was leaving]"
DavCost: "The main goal is to show who we are"