Before the ECS group stages kicked off I managed to grab none other than Marcelo “Coldzera” David to talk about SK’s current form, playing with Fox and the pressure of being named the best player in the world. As always the following interview has been edited for readability but I refrain from censoring as much as possible:
Joe: So you guys just came off of a win at Dreamhack Summer against Fnatic after falling to G2 at ESL Pro League. Individually you seemed off your game at EPL but managed to bounce back at Dreamhack. Would you be able to discuss what the difference maker was between these two tournaments?
Marcelo: Before EPL I spent some time at home and we have a busy schedule ahead of us. So I didn’t play CS for five days. I didn’t feel good at the EPL and I tried to play more at the tournament but got worse. But for Dreamhack we had almost three weeks in practice so I put many more hours in to the game and played better.
Joe: Do you think it’s important for all players to take a break from the game every now and again then come back to it?
Marcelo: It depends on the break. It’s good yes but when you’re in the middle of the season its hard. You have a lot of tournaments and if you have a long break or a little bit longer it’s bad, people are still playing in that time so if you go to the tournament and you haven’t played you’ll probably play pretty bad.
Joe: When I spoke to both FaZe and Astralis they both stated that having the past month off actually helped their play coming in to this tournament. Do you think that not having any demos from the past month will come in to factor when you come up against those two teams?
Marcelo: When a team like FaZe and Astralis have a long break like that and don’t play in two tournaments we played in they have time to create new strats and set ups. It’s hard to play against a team after they’ve had a break off. I think they will bring a new change but I don’t think FaZe and Astralis are hard teams because I like to play against them. For me, G2 is the only hard team because they play well against us all the time so I think they watch a lot of us and know how to play against us.
Joe: Do you think there is any particular factors that cause G2 to claim such good results against you guys?
Marcelo: I think it’s a different play style. They’re the only top team that plays aggressive all the time. So it’s hard to play against them when they’re always being so aggressive against us. But I don’t think the other teams are that hard to play against.
Joe: At the Dreamhack Finals the analyst desk actually credited Fnatic’s consistent breaking of your defaults through aggression to their victory on Overpass. Is that something you agree with? If so have you guys prepared to make sure that doesn’t happen again?
Marcelo: Overpass is a map that’s really hard to play against a team that’s really aggressive all the time so you need to prepare. We had three days for London to prepare and we fixed a lot of those issues. We’ve come prepared and we’re ready to prove it.
Joe: A statistic recently popped up online stating that SK haven’t dropped from the top 5 HLTV rankings in 17 months. That’s insane but what impresses is that you’ve managed to consistently keep up this form while defeating top EU teams while members of your team stating that finding good practice in the NA regions is difficult. Is this due to you guys being separated from these regions you that managed to develop your own playstyle rather than adopt other top teams?
Marcelo: I think for us living in Europe or living in the NA it doesn’t really matter, CS is CS. Any team today can beat anybody. I mean we lost to Tyloo last year. You have a lot of games you go in to where you believe you can’t lose but you can still lose.
Joe: You’re often regarded as the best player in the world right now. Some even go as far as say the greatest of all time. Does that any add any extra pressure on you when you play?
Marcelo: Sometimes. For example, when I come to Brazil I need to see my family, it’s important to me. But when I played at Pro-League I didn’t feel good, sometimes people put too much pressure on me because I always need to play good. Sometimes in boring and sometimes it’s um…
Joe: I means it’s still nice to be told that..
Marcelo: Yeah but sometimes it makes me sad.
Joe: Is it pure raw talent or is it something you’ve worked on for a ridiculous amount of hours?
Marcelo: When I first started playing I didn’t put many hours in CS I was just always good.
Joe: So there is always this picture that pops up every now from 2011…
Marcelo: That picture with Fallen, FNX and Nak
Joe: What’s it like looking back at that picture where they were your heroes and compared to now when you’re basically Fallen’s right hand man working in tandem with him in game?
Marcelo: Oh it makes me feel really good because they are special for me. They were my idols in Brazil so it’s really amazing. I’ve always got a joke going with Fallen where I say “It’s okay Fallen, you’re old now. Don’t worry I will carry you.”
Joe: One thing I love about SK is that after every round whether it be a good or bad round you’re always pumping each other up. That seems to be missing on so many teams, is there any team in particular that you think struggle in game because they don’t do this enough?
Marcelo: Sometimes I see teams when they win a really difficult or important round and they don’t really react. I don’t like it because you need good hype in team. It creates harmony between the players causing everyone to play good so. It’s also very natural for us.
Joe: Is that something that Felps is slowly picking up from you guys?
Marcelo: I mean sometimes he plays really boring. But he’s adapting.
Joe: Who’s the most fun in team?
Marcelo: Oh Fer for sure. *Fer gives us a grin from the opposite table*
Joe: Why the MP9? I have to ask.
Marcelo: I don’t know, Fer is crazy. He just buys it and says “I will rush and kill them okay.” And he does.
Joe: This is a personal question of mine and I would kick myself if I didn’t get to ask you. That jumping AWP shot on mirage against Liquid. What did that feel like?
Marcelo: So at the time I didn’t think anything about it but I see the score, 15-9, I told Fallen I didn’t want to buy the AWP because I wouldn’t have Kevlar and I hate playing without Kevlar. But I ended up buying it, I said to Taco “Let’s change and I’ll go B.” So we change and they came B. When I jumped the first time I say “Fuck off,” I jump the second time and landed the shot. It’s a lucky shot of course and it’s not normal.
Joe: Every time you guys are eliminated from a tournament you always seem to have a brief moment of disappointment but then pick yourself up with a “We’ll get them next time” attitude. But has there ever been a time where that attitude wasn’t there? Was there any time where it was just like “this is bad, we need a change”?
Marcelo: Yeah, in the beginning when we were playing with FNX and Taco was in the team it worked. It was a new team and we wanted to play more CS so we were all dedicated. But after we won two majors and a whole bunch of tournaments, I think FNX didn’t want to play as much CS so he stopped practice and focused on other things. Which is okay, I understand. But when we bring in Felps, he brought more hunger to the team. Sometimes we needed changes but not all at one time. But now we are focused and I think this is the second time I’ve seen my team play with so much confidence and passion.
Joe: How was it with Fox in this period then?
Marcelo: Fox is the guy who helped us not just in the team but outside of the team. He brought a lot of hype to the team and he caused us to be focused because he’s a really good guy. He’s easy to play with him and we tried to learn a lot from him. He’s a really special player.
Joe: In my opinion from what I’ve seen from him in Dignitas he’s been in some of the best form he’s every been in. A lot of figures in the industry also state that this could be due to his short time with SK.
Marcelo: I think Fox is a good player wherever he’s placed. He learned a lot from us and if he can bring that experience to Dignitas I think that they’ll go far. He brought a lot of hunger to us, he was always saying “guys, remember you left Brazil and gave up everything to come here, so just work hard.” He always tried to bring the
right mindset and that really helped us a lot.