DreamHack Masters Exclusive Interview: TACO Embraces His New Role as “The Shield”

by Kevin Hitt

(Photo: SK Gaming)

When you talk with SK Gaming’s Epitacio “TACO” Pessoa, you can’t help but notice the kindness and goodness behind the eyes of the 22-year old professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player. TACO is a humble, yet highly competitive player that has put his ego aside to help make SK Gaming the No. 2 team in the world.

TACO has had to change roles on various occasions and with the arrival of Joao “felps” Vasconcellos from Immortals, he has had to change once again.

“I needed some time to learn,” said TACO. “It’s a really hard role and at the same time you don’t have an ego. That’s really important.”

TACO’s role with SK doesn’t really have a name. He is responsible for gathering information and creating space so that his teammates can defend or enter any area of the map. The role requires a selfless type of player that doesn’t care about statistics or K/D ratio. The role is designed for a person that simply wants his team to win.

“I do this because I just want my team to win. I think with the experience I learned playing in a lot of tournaments, now it’s easier to do what I do,” says TACO.

When pundits and fans look at his numbers, sometimes they become confused because he doesn’t lead the team in kills and quite often is at the bottom of the chart.

“If TACO is our leading fragger, it means we are doing something different from our game plan and that’s probably not good,” laments SK’s team manager Ricardo Sinigaglia.

There are many roles that TACO takes on including holding bomb sites on his own, gathering information, clearing out space, and helping get a pick or two if needed.

“I know what I am doing now, better than I did months ago.” – TACO

The young SK Gaming player has now found a love for a spot that a lot of other professional players could not play. TACO has designed practices and loves to create plays especially with the smoke grenade.

“I like to create new things, especially with smoke. CS:GO gives you so many things that you can create with smokes, flashbangs and stuff.”

Even though TACO loves to create plays with the utility available in CS:GO there is one partnership that he cannot do without in-game or out.

“I have played with Cold for two or three years and I started playing CS:GO with him,” TACO said with a smile on his face. “We are friends in real life and it helps so much in-game. He calls me his “shield”. He says Shield let’s go!”

Marcelo “coldzera” David is arguably the best player in the world and was voted as such at the Game Awards earlier in December 2016. TACO is the one that helped coldzera achieve that greatness.

“We work really good together. We always hold bomb sites together and create new plays to get better. We can communicate really well and we are a good team.”

Another issue that affected TACO and SK Gaming was in fact the addition of felps and TACO feels like he is a great addition to the team.

“felps is one that I would call ‘gifted’. He works really hard as well. When he first joined our team he was playing 16 hours a day. We had to tell him to calm down and not play so much. Calm down,” said TACO “felps is already a good player and is improving really fast.”

TACO is one of the few players in all of CS:GO that could actually play this role. There are too many egos in the scene and a-type personalities and it refreshing to see a selfless team player that is young that leads by example.