Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo originally made his name as a star AWPer in CS 1.6, where many hailed him as the heir apparent to cogu, one of the greatest AWPers in Counter-Strike history. FalleN dabbled in CS:Source and Crossfire, but rose to prominence once again in CS:GO leading the underdog KaBuM! e-Sports squad in 2014. He became a star AWPer in CS:GO, but had quite a down period between the end of 2016 and moving into the new year. At different points in his career FalleN has lost his form and been less impactful, but the talented Brazilian superstar always finds his way back to the top.
FalleN in CS 1.6: The First Rise and Fall
Towards the end of CS 1.6, FalleN had proven himself as an AWP prodigy on multiple teams. After cogu took a step back from the game, FalleN was the next great Brazilian AWPer. FalleN wasn’t quite as great as cogu, but he was still an incredible talent. He wasn’t surrounded by the same level of support or talent that cogu had, and was never as successful on the international level, but he did win multiple tournaments against North and South American teams.
Unfortunately, FalleN’s 1.6 peak came at the wrong time, as all the other great Brazilian players were on the decline and starting to move way from the game. CS 1.6 itself was also beginning to fade, as players began trying to transition to CS: Source. FalleN tried his hand at Source, but never quite seemed to hit his stride in that installment of the Counter-Strike franchise. He also briefly experimented with Crossfire, another FPS title with elements similar to CS, and performed quite well. But his 1.6 career left many wondering what could have been if FalleN was competing with the same advantages of a player like cogu.
Climbing in CS:GO
In 2010, FalleN made the transition from primary AWPer to IGL. His level was no where near the superstar he was in CS 1.6, but he slowly began to build it back up. FalleN was also giving CS lessons in Brazil and eventually formed his own organization in 2011, Games Academy. FalleN did play for the organization, but eventually moved on to bigger things. At the start of CS:GO, Brazil was a nonfactor, but Games Academy continued to field Brazilian teams and the scene was slowly built from the ground up, due largely to the infrastructure FalleN had created. Many of the players on the current lineups of Immortals and SK Gaming came up through Games Academy.
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After a period of slow and steady improvement, FalleN began catching the attention of fans and analysts in CS:GO with the international debut of KaBuM! e-Sports in 2014. The rise of Brazil in CS:GO came hand-in-hand with the return of FalleN. Although he was a star AWPer in the past, FalleN came back as an in-game leader and often rifled instead of AWPing. At first, the team was able snag best-of-one upsets and occasionally push the best teams in the world to full three game series. If you haven’t seen the MLG X-Games match on Mirage between KaBuM! and Cloud9, it’s worth watching in its entirety — FalleN’s team caught the North American team unprepared on the map that his squad specialized on.
His teams might have lacked the firepower to win series and make deep tournament runs, but the passion was there.
FalleN worked hard to make it back to the top. He surrounded himself with talented players like fer and coldzera. FalleN put in the practice and returned to form, displaying the same flavor of calculated aggression and unreal gamesense that had made him a star AWPer in 1.6. For many, FalleN was the best AWPer in the world during 2016, and if the back-to-back Major champions he won that year are any indication, the fans and analysts were right.
Down and Up Again
SK Gaming were on a roll in 2016, but removed fnx from their lineup towards the end of the year. This threw SK’s success off for a while, as they used fox as stand-in. As an IGL, FalleN was still able to get the best out of his team and while they remained competitive, the team was no longer winning every event. FalleN’s individual form also fell off, perhaps due in part to his willingness to hand off the awp to fox.
SK eventually found a permanent fifth player, felps, but FalleN’s individual performance continued to suffer. SK were shaky early on with felps, but stabilized eventually, and the team’s return to elite status also coincided with FalleN’s rise in form. He has found a way to be effective with the AWP again, and sets his star players for success.
FalleN’s form is trending upward and with the Major around the corner, it couldn’t have come at a better time. With FalleN’s impactful AWP, fer’s aggressive play, and coldzera’s consistency, SK is one of the most talented and dangerous teams in the world.
Form is Temporary, Class is Permanent
FalleN’s CS career has had its ups and downs, but he’s a certifiable legend in 1.6 and CS:GO. He almost single-handedly revived an entire country’s Counter-Strike scene, leading them to the top of the world. He was the best IGL and the best AWPer in the world for nearly an entire year and knows how to tap into the potential of his players. Whatever the future holds, FalleN has proven capable of revitalizing himself and his team time and time again, and tournament wins never feel out of reach when FalleN is involved.