TACO: "I'm happy that today I could show everyone that I know how to play B on Train"
We caught up with Epitacio "TACO" de Melo after following MIBR's victory against AVANGAR to talk about the strides made over the past five months, Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe's supportive AWPing and the team's series against the CIS side.
In this interview, TACO talks about his Train performance against AVANGAR after previously failing to impress on this map, blames poor team preparation for the loss against TYLOO and reveals that he is currently struggling with back pain.
It has been several months since the additions of both kNgV- and LUCAS1, and the process of their integration has been a challenge. What are the current comfort levels in the team?
I think we have been improving a lot since the first moment that we played together. Maybe not in terms of results, which are important and what matters in the end, but we are feeling more confident as a team. The last weeks of practice were really good for us. We came into this tournament expecting to show really good results, and making it into the semi-finals is a boost of confidence, and I hope we can go further.
In an interview with FalleN we learned that kNgV- was working on incorporating a supportive element to his AWPing. Have you personally felt this adjustment in-game?
It's something that we changed. When kNgV- joined our team, we tried to give him the main AWP on the T side. After a few tournaments and after some maps that we played in practice, we realised that it would be better to have FalleN as the main AWP, because he is really good at what he does, and he is also a really good support player.
kNgV- is also really good with the Krieg; he is a playmaker, he knows how to use the Krieg, he knows how to entry-frag and he knows how to create plays for the team. He has good aim as well, so we thought that it would be the best decision for the team, and of course, kNgV- is very happy with it as well. On the CT side we just kept the double AWP, because kNgV- also happens to be a very good AWPer. I think it's working pretty well for us, and it's also the reason why we are feeling more confident. I think it's fitting better within our system.
Diving into CAC, the group stage saw an interesting outcome for you, in that your initial series against Evil Geniuses saw a convincing 2-0 series, followed by an upset from TYLOO, who managed to beat you flawlessly. Take us through that series and some of the things that, in hindsight, you saw as mistakes.
I would say that the game against TYLOO was an off day for us. Of course they played really well, they outplayed us, and I think our preparation for that specific game was not that good. We had had a really good preparation for the match against EG, but for TYLOO we didn't.
It's the collective fault of the team, I also had really bad preparation on my bombsites. I think the B bombsites were a problem in the series against TYLOO. When you're playing on the B sites you have a lot of responsibility, because if I'm having a bad day, then you know that you're going to lose a lot of rounds on the CT side. This is the type of bomb that you can't retake if you are having a bad day. I was having a bad day, my preparation was not good and my communication was really off. It's not an excuse, but I have a problem with my back, and the pain has got worse recently. It was a really bad day for me, and I would put the defeat against TYLOO on my performance.
The back pains are not an excuse, I can still prepare for the game and provide good communication. I have played sick before, and that was not a problem, so I don't want to give an excuse even though there is one to give.
The series against AVANGAR saw the Kazakhs pick Mirage, while you grabbed Train, with Dust2 left over. Considering the outcome of the series against TYLOO, which saw both of the picked maps lost, how confident were you that the series would go your way?
We think Train is our best map, we are really confident on it, and even though it's one of AVANGAR's best maps as well, we didn't care, instead deciding to just play our game. It was enough to win, even though we had a really bad T side, which is normally pretty good. Mirage isn't a bad map for us, we are confident on the map, but recent results haven't been great. The third map was Dust2, which is another map that we feel confident on.
The veto was really good for us, actually, we had the chance to play our best map on Train; Mirage, which we are confident on, and Dust2. Even though AVANGAR are really good on the same maps, we just decided to play our game to see how it goes and in the end, it paid off.
On Train, you had an outstanding individual performance, and on the CT side effectively single-handedly ensured a third map. Was there anything specific that made for such a strong showing?
zews helps me a lot on this bomb site because when he was a player, he used to play solo bomb sites. He was really good on this one and he has been helping me a lot. He gave me a lot of ideas and in the last two to three weeks it was a bombsite I worked on a lot because I was not really confident.
When we played StarLadder in Turkey, I was not feeling confident on this bomb site, so I put a lot of work into it in the last few weeks of practice. Against TYLOO I had a really, really bad game on this bomb site, but I'm really happy, and I knew that I'm good at holding this bomb site and I knew that my performance against TYLOO did not represent me. I'm happy that today I could show everyone that I know how to play B on Train.
Dust2 was a very close call for the team. A 4-11 CT side was rough, and losing the second pistol made it worse, but you managed to pull it out in the end off the back of a handful of pivotal T rounds. How did you maintain composure despite the deficit?
Something that didn't help us was losing every first half pistol round. It's bad because we were always starting from behind, which adds pressure. On Train, we had a really bad T side, on Mirage, we had a really bad CT side, but on Dust2 it was a case of us missing key kills in rounds. I know that we lost 4-11, but it didn't feel like it, we were not having a terrible game, you know? We couldn't land the key kills, which led to a 4-11 half.
The second half we really needed a pistol round, but we lost it, so it added even more pressure because we knew we had to win the second round, which we did. After winning it, FalleN and zews had really good calls. I think we got five or six rounds straight after winning the eco round, and it put pressure on AVANGAR. At that point, I think we were just playing our game, and FalleN and zews had very good calls that led us to a win.