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Talking Taco's time — His time with the SK Gaming roster

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It has recently been confirmed that Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo has parted ways with the roster he has been with for 27 months, who are currently playing for SK Gaming. This will be a look back at where he came from before the roster, what he achieved with them and where he might end up next.
The Global Offensive journey records for Epitácio "TACO" de Melo start at Dexterity Team, a Brazilian team that, at the time of their leaving, sported the following roster of familiar names.



During his time with that particular organisation, between August 2014 and late July 2015, he also played with Marcelo "coldzera" David and Joao "felps" Vasconcellos. Fast forward their way through names such as Não Tem Como and Games Academy with the same lineup and it was time for the journey that would thrust his name far further into the spotlight as three of the roster, including coach, moved on to Luminosity Gaming.

History of results

The trio to keep in mind here that will stick together from start to finish are David, Toledo and de Melo. Under the Luminosity banner, de Melo was straight to large amounts of success with two notable tournament victories and one second place with the organisation amongst other placings. The two first places are one $200,000 victory at the ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals and one huge $500,000 victory at the MLG Major Championship Columbus 2016. The second place coming in ECS a month after the ESL Pro League victory with a 0-2 loss to G2 Esports whom they had beaten in the previous tournament. Just under 5 months into his time with the organisation de Melo had won his first Major and pulled a positive rating whilst doing so. Certainly the impact you want when joining a new roster.

After numerous successes under the banner of Luminosity they found themselves in a controversial move over to SK Gaming. After the initial drama over alleged contract disputes the team were straight back to the usual programming of victories. Another Major victory at ESL One Cologne 2016 and another positive rating saw the Brazilians solidify themselves as one of the strongest forces seen in Counter-Strike in terms of their trophy collection that was to grow more still. A patch of mixed results followed as they found themselves going out of events such as iBuypower Invitational 2016, ESL One New York 2016 and Epicenter in 3-4th place and finishing 3rd in the online portion of ESL Pro League Season 4 North America. They then found themselves tantalisingly close to two victories only to be beaten by two more surprising opponents in the finals of ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals and IEM Oakland 2016, losing to Cloud9 and Ninjas in Pyjamas respectively. The streak of being unable to find a victory continued as they found one 2nd place, three 3-4th places including the Eleague Major Atlanta 2017 and two early exits from IEM Katowice and StarSeries.

It was not all victories from there on out but there is no such thing in Counter-Strike and there was still plenty of trophies to be added into his collection. Two consecutive first places at cs_summit 1 and IEM Sydney were a good start to this and in the end added to the following list of most notable trophies Taco took home during his time with the core of the roster.

  • MLG Columbus 2016 (Major)
  • DreamHack Austin 2016
  • ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals
  • ESL One Cologne 2016 (Major)
  • cs_summit Spring 2017
  • IEM Sydney 2017
  • DreamHack Open Summer 2017
  • ECS Season 3 Finals
  • ESL One Cologne 2017
  • Epicenter 2017
  • Blast Pro Series 2017
  • ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals

  • Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo built an impressive list of trophies during his time with the roster
    Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo built an impressive list of trophies during his time with the roster

    Personal form

    Something that has been very much in the limelight as soon as the victories aren't rolling in are de Melo's personal performances. As such I'm going to take a look at them as stats alone, which keep in mind don't tell the entire story.

    Under the Luminosity banner his best notable ratings were 1.09 with a +15 K/D at IEM Katowice 2016 which the team placed second at and at Dreamhack Austin 2016 with a 1.12 and +14 K/D during the team's victory. Meanwhile his worst performances at LAN under the banner came at ESL Pro League Season 2 Finals with a 0.52 rating and a -78 K/D and 0.85 at the Faceit League 2015 stage 3 Finals with a -42 K/D, both of which were his first LAN appearances with the roster.

    Moving on to SK Gaming it would be fair to say he has more LAN ratings under 1.00 than above, with his two best being 1.14 at ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals with a +31 K/D and 1.25 at ESL One Cologne 2016 with a +45 K/D. Cologne, a Major they won, actually saw him as the third best performing player at the event behind Marcelo "coldzera" David and Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz. Meanwhile his two worst were at the PGL Major Krakow with 0.83 and a -25 K/D and his very last event WESG 2017 World Finals with 0.44 and a -27 K/D.

    With that being said however, I must question if the decision to make this change has come at all from the statistical performances as his ratings on LAN over his documented CS:GO career have been very similar. 2015 saw him have 0.84, 2016 saw him have 0.97, 2017 he posted 0.91 and in the past three months he has posted 0.87. This puts him at 0.92 for his career so far which isn't a world away from his current form of 0.87 for the past three months.

    As I said however, stats do not tell the entire story for de Melo in particular. He describes him self very much as a support player, who will do anything required to help those around him who he knows can achieve amazing feats. Whether this means he prioritises throwing grenades to supplement his teammates peeks or puts his weaponry second in order to drop weapons to those around him. The difficulty is, whilst this is in some ways observable it is very difficult to track and display numerically for the rest of us to consume and as such, hard to quantify just how much it is worth so to speak to the team.

    Role in the team

    As mentioned there isn't much debate as to his role in the team as he is one of the clear supports in the scene, the debate comes in to how much that should affect the other parts of his game play such as his ability to add kills to the scoreboard.

    I can only question as his performances don't appear to differ too drastically how much this can be an issue at the moment compared to earlier. Can something that has seemingly been consistent throughout his time with the team really be the reason they have gone from winning seemingly every other week to struggling to find consistent form?

    Perhaps, it isn't actually the reason for the drop in form, but it certainly seems to be a big factor in why he has chosen to leave. It is no secret that he is and seemingly always has been a heavily criticised part of the team due to our tendency to take the scoreboard as the final say. In his statement he not only said that "The weight of shield is heavy, and it's not for everyone to wear it for too long." but he directly stated the following.
    During all this time, every second in the team I felt the outside pressure on me was always HEAVY and maybe this is one of the reasons why I came to this closure.
    This is a fairly clear indication that it is at least partially due to the criticism that has come his way that he has decided to step down, a decision he stated he made himself and one that is "the hardest decision in my life."

    I personally am one of those who believe that his role in the team is far underrated, that he is one of the most selfless players in the game who is truly dedicated to making things possible for his team. I can not say I have any hard data to back that up, simply his attitude towards the game and the statements and unwavering support from his teammates.

    What we will miss and what we could look forward to

    With this move away, a core three of David, de Melo and Toledo have been split up and they are a trio of personalities that have brought great moments to the scene. His synergy with Toledo in particular is something that will be missed as they had some funny and endearing moments together on screen during things such as interviews.

    The on-screen duo of de Melo and Toledo will be missed
    The on-screen duo of de Melo and Toledo will be missed


    However, despite this, in terms of on the server there is an increasing number of players without teams across multiple regions that could form together some interesting teams. There is of course options for him in the Brazilian teams, however with his recent statements about his immediate plan to improve his English perhaps he is looking to join a more international lineup. With names like Richard "Xizt" Landström and Adam "friberg" Friberg currently looking for teams, to name just two from the international side, whilst twins Henrique "HEN1" Teles and Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles also currently find themselves without a team.

    Wherever he ends up, I wish him well and hope to see him back on our screens as soon as possible.

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