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Epitácio “TACO” de Melo and his Liquid teammates qualified for the playoffs at the StarSeries i-League Season 5 Finals.  VPEsports ambushed TACO at the door before he could leave and asked him a few questions.

Congratulations for making the playoffs. How do you feel about it?
“We had a good group stage; we won our first two series against NRG and GODSENT. Every time we have played Mirage here so far we have lost. I don’t think that we have a bad Mirage, it was just off games that we had. Until the game against AVANGAR, I felt like it wasn’t going to be our day, that’s a problem, but I think that we are good enough that we can beat everyone and win tournaments. So, going to the playoffs, my impression is that a whole new tournament started for us. So, I’m excited to be in the quarterfinals.”


On the first map it looked like AVANGAR had you guys figured out–moves, executes, everything. Did you expect from them that level of performance and preparation?
“At this tournament and the last month we have played, we didn’t really do any anti-strats. We don’t really care about other teams, we just try to play our game.  But, we knew that they were going to play Mirage because they pick it against everyone and they actually have a good Mirage. AVANGAR played really well this match. They have a style that we are not used to playing against. They played fast and tried to push sides, very aggressive. We didn’t expect them to play like this.”


Yesterday’s match up against SK must have been very important to both teams. Have you come to grips with and managed all those feelings after the loss? What went wrong?
“I think that this match against SK was kind of weird for me because I didn’t play my game at all. I wasn’t confident, I kept thinking about ‘Okay, they know what I do, what should I change?’ ‘Maybe If I do this, they will not be expecting,’ but then I went out of my comfort zone. I was not playing my game and I think that I let my team down. But I think it’s normal as well. I played with them for two and a half years, I know everything. I know how they like to play as well and, in the end, I learned a lot of things. It was a well-played match and it was a good learning match. I hope to face SK again.”


When you left SK, you said that it was your decision to leave. In our interview with Marcelo “coldzera” David, he said that you were kicked. Who is right?
“I decided to leave SK. I don’t know why he said that. He keeps talking about me every interview. But, I decided to leave SK right before WESG in China, I just didn’t tell them. Right after the tournament, I told them that I have no motivation to play with them anymore. I don’t know why he said that, it has to be some kind of misunderstanding.”


In our interview with EliGe, he said that you almost solved a problem with language barrier. Do you and your team still struggling from some miscommunication?
“The first step in learning how to play with them is finished. I already know most of what they call the positions. That was most important thing and now I know the basics as well. The second step is to understand everything that happens and is said quickly when a round is going fast. I want to be able to communicate everything I see. I still think in Portuguese, so sometimes it’s hard, but I am evolving, getting better in every match I play. My teammates are helping me a lot so I think that it’s just a matter of time. I would say that I am at around 70% of understanding everything I need to know and we will get 100% soon.”


Which team do you prefer to face in quarterfinals?
“We have no preferences. I’d like to play against everyone. If you are going to win a tournament you have to face the best team always.”


Want to take revenge over SK in grand final?
“A grand finale against SK would be great. Take revenge. They are really good team. It’s never easy to play against the SK machine.”


You were part of that machine for very long time. What was it like to play against this machine?
“There are a lot of different feelings. When I was in SK, we were the best team in the world, everything worked. It’s not the same and playing against them. I felt strange and mixed feelings. I know the way they move and during the game it helped, but still it’s hard to read them even with my experience.”


Are you on good terms with your brothers over there at SK?
“Yeah, we have no problems at all. We are still friends, especially Ricardo “dead” Sinigaglia(*) and I. We are really good friends, so when we see each other at tournaments, we talk every day and hang out together. There are no hard feelings, nothing bad between us. I wish them only best and I wish of course that we will beat them.” (smile)


There are old streams out there where you with FalleN played Dota 2 together. Did you know that at the last major, PaiN Gaming secure the 3rd place?
“I watched Dota and I watched PaiN Gaming’s matches because Team Liquid is also very good in that discipline. They won the last International, so I follow Dota, but not that much. I have to focus on CS:GO of course. But I follow the Dota 2 scene and sometimes play Dota 2. I like to watch every big tournament that happens.”


In the beginning of the Dota season, Valve introduced a new system of tournaments — The Dota 2 Pro Circuit with minors and majors. Would you like to use this system in CS: GO?
“I think Valve’s Dota developmental team is much better than their CS: GO team. Our developers sometimes look like they don’t care about the competitive scene. My hope is that they will take a little more care of the game. I think we need them, we can work with them.”


* Editor’s note: While we are sure that TACO loves boltz, we erroneously put Ricardo “boltz” Prass instead of Ricardo “dead” Sinigaglia in the piece. Our apologies TACO, maybe you can give us an exemption and forgive us just this one time.


By Taras Bortnik

Special to VPEsports

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