TACO: "[Winning in Malta] took some of the pressure off of our shoulders"

Liquid qualified for the playoffs after the ESL Pro League Finals opening day in Odense, with victories over G2 and BIG. We caught up with Epitacio "TACO" de Melo after their second victory of the day.

Liquid's run could not have started better, as they were able to take a best-of-one against G2 before sealing their pass to the playoffs with a best-of-three win over BIG. Tomorrow, Liquid will face a whole different beast as they will go up against Astralis, their bête noire, for a berth directly in the semi-finals.

TACO hinted at Train possibly making a comeback in Liquid's map pool

In the interview, TACO touches upon winning in Malta, playing BIG again in Odense, the match-up against Astralis tomorrow and what they can do to make their map pool match up better against the Danes's.

So you finally lifted a trophy with Liquid in Malta, but it wasn't a huge tournament. How did it feel?

It feels like a boost of confidence, which is pretty good. It wasn't the biggest tournament, but some good teams like NRG, BIG, and HellRaisers were there. It could have been bad, as well [laughs], it could have destroyed our team if we would have lost that tournament, but thankfully we did a good job and got the confidence boost.

Talking about some good teams being there, BIG was there, and you beat them then, and you beat them again today. How was playing against them again? Not the hardest game you've had, 16-6 both maps...

BIG is a team that's difficult to play against, but when you get used to their style... I don't want to say it's easy, but when you get used to it, it's better for you. We know the way they like to play, so we just played our game. In Malta we had the chance to study them, so we just used what we studied for them in Malta and it worked.

You had a streak of bad tournaments late last season, and somebody on the team said you felt stale and needed to rework your map pool and so on. This time around, you fell out of ECS, but still seem to be doing quite well winning Malta and the two first matches here. What has changed between what you felt late last season and this season's final stretch?

To be honest, since we bootcamped before the Major, we haven't had enough time to change a lot of stuff. We've been using the stuff we created before the Major, but we are a good team and I know everyone watches us play. We just have to adapt, to change small stuff, and ECS was just a bad tournament. We didn't play at all there, I don't know what happened, it was just a really bad day.

It happens, you know? It's just a rock in our path, I don't think we're the kind of team that goes out in the group stages, we're better than that, and we've proved it at many tournaments we've played this year. As far as our preparation, it's just adapting, and when we have time to practice we're always trying to change some stuff and adapt as much as we can.

You said winning in Malta gave you a confidence boost, does that change how you go into this event at all? Is not winning or making the final now a disappointment?

Since I joined the team and when we started to get some good placements in tournaments, we always go to tournaments with high expectations, and this one is no different. Our goal is to win the whole thing and we're sure that we're capable of it. That's our mindset right now, and winning in Malta proved it to us. It took some of the pressure off of our shoulders. It also gave us a boost of confidence. If we lose I don't think we'll be sad because I don't think we're the favorites. Astralis is playing and the best teams in the world are here, but of course our expectations are high and hopefully we can win.

Talking about Astralis being here. They're your kryptonite and you're playing them tomorrow for a spot in the semi-finals. How are you feeling about that one?

Our record against Astralis is really bad. The problem is that their map pool is really good against us. They have a really good Nuke, which if you watch our Nuke, they're the only team that beat us. Actually, except North, but that was a really bad day [laughs]. We only lose to Astralis, and it feels bad because they win it against everyone, and so every best-of-three they pick Nuke and start the series 1-0. This time around I hope we have learned from the other times and we can take it.

Do you think you're going to be the team that breaks their streak?

Yeah, I think we're the closest ones, we had 14 rounds against them once, and the second time was 13. We study it a lot, we had a bootcamp in LA to try and get a good Nuke. We've even thought about adding Train to our map pool because of Astralis, which would help us a lot. Going up against Astralis, for me, it's just one more match, and if we play our A game we can win, I'm 100% sure.

So adding Train to the map pool, is that Liquid's Christmas homework?

Yeah, we're thinking about playing seven maps. We don't have that much of a chance to practice Nuke because teams in NA don't play it much, so it's hard to practice, but I think adding Train to the pool will be good. We actually had a good Train when I joined the team, but we had a bad result and decided to ban it. We actually know how to play it and we wouldn't have to learn the map like for example when I was in SK. We never played Nuke, so if we would have picked it up we would have had to learn everything. This case is not like that, we know how to play Train and just decided to leave it out of our map pool, but maybe in the future we add it back in.

Brazil Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
He was so chill in Malta
2018-12-05 00:27
Da fuck happens with #1-#7? Did u reported all to make first? (0.0)
2018-12-05 10:54
No lol
2018-12-05 11:09
2018-12-05 19:02
Indonesia segopecel 
2018-12-05 00:28
Solid player my boi taco
2018-12-05 00:28
United States Fledge 
yes, you notice when VACO leave SK they do bad and when he joined Liquid they do good. Good player leaves bad team to make an okay team one of the best. ez 200 iq
2018-12-05 00:49
He is playing better than when he was in SK as he isn't doing all the bitch roles. But as always he is doing good entries and strong CT sides.
2018-12-05 00:59
United States Fledge 
he left cause of baitzera
2018-12-05 01:00
United States AproximateCS 
He's still friends with them enough to hangout
2018-12-05 01:22
Sweden Unluko 
No he didnt lol
2018-12-05 07:28
no. i think he is a great player but if sk/mibr continued in portuguese they would be better instantly or upgraded over taco. towads the end he was dogshit. especially on wesg. liquid didnt level up after taco came. they leveled up after naf came. they were still as good wih steel. maybe better.
2018-12-05 10:52
Not better with steel. He didn’t quite fit his role. I think they wanted his English to be better so he could igl and it just didn’t get there so he dipped.
2018-12-05 13:17
communiaction issues only affected steel if i remember right because there were times that he didnt understand the spots etc. but i think his solo anchoring was better than taco. also he was doing good nic flanks etc. and they were good on train. now its their permaban. id rather have them get ethan for free because he played tha same solo anchor roles on clg and was a huge upgrade in skill and language. but nrg took him for free, but they went with taco. which is also fine i guess.
2018-12-05 13:22
I recall an interview with steel where he talked about how it took him long to communicate cuz he thinks in Portuguese and has to translate it real time and he struggled with it. So that’s where taco is an upgrade. But I love steel. Decent clutch nice solo holds and a really uplifting spirit
2018-12-05 15:52
Tbh I’d love to see -karrigan +steel or, and this is a stretch, -fallen -Tarik +steel +hen1/kng
2018-12-05 15:56
Still lose to Astralis though.
2018-12-05 00:29
Denmark MinorThread 
Let's go to Malta and get some weight off our shoulders. Let's get a win under the belt again.
2018-12-05 00:45
United States Trump2020KAG 
Taco sucks. Liquid need a awper.
2018-12-05 01:03
Italy steven513 
nitr0 is the problem
2018-12-05 01:07
United States Trump2020KAG 
Nitro is the best igl in NA
2018-12-05 01:09
Italy steven513 
That's not really a huge accomplishment considering the lack of "good" igls in NA; daps is arguably better, at least in certain aspects.
2018-12-05 01:20
Daps is better in calling however nitr0 is a better player overall
2018-12-05 01:32
Italy steven513 
Yeah exactly, I'm responding in reference to "Nitro is the best igl in NA".
2018-12-05 13:31
Better igl than fallen is right now kiddo
2018-12-05 01:46
Italy steven513 
Where the fuck did you get FalleN? I'm only discussing daps and nitr0.
2018-12-05 13:32
United States Trump2020KAG 
Ok exactly so when he is the best we can choose from obviously he isn’t the problem.
2018-12-05 08:58
I just hope Liquid won't go MiBR's way and won't farm on t2-3 torunaments.
2018-12-05 01:05
off of ? wtf
2018-12-05 01:12
Why danish flag on article?????
2018-12-05 01:14
chrisJ | 
Hong Kong Escher 
Because it's an interview made in Odense
2018-12-05 01:20
Myanmar xdcc 
flags are where interviews being taken. TACO is in Odense for ESL so Danish flag
2018-12-05 01:20
interview was conducted at the epl finals, which is being held at odense
2018-12-05 01:25
because danish cs best cs
2018-12-05 01:42
Croatia Jack Russell 
This is the right answer
2018-12-05 02:34
because Astralis will win EPL
2018-12-05 02:36
Denmark Zorrondo 
Liquid and BR CS farming "titles" in tier 8 events OMEGALUL pd: -TACO +Nifty
2018-12-05 03:25
3 in the World lol
2018-12-05 06:18
2018-12-05 06:35
Austria gex0r 
i love tacooo
2018-12-05 09:19
Norway PeteZz 
Lul, still MEGA chokers.
2018-12-05 10:38
Versus trash nrg, against astralis can't get double digits on finals lmao
2018-12-05 19:19
So is He saying that they are gonna let Astralis Pick Nuuk today? Could be interessting?
2018-12-06 06:44
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