CS:GO
(Featured image via Valve.)

FalleN the Puzzle Master: Fitting the Pieces Together

Feb 25, 2017
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(Featured image via Valve.)

Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo is known as the godfather of Brazilian CSGO. As in-game leader of his own hand-picked lineups, FalleN has transformed teams from non-factors on the international stage to upset artists to top-tier competition and, last but not least, Major winners. His Brazilian lineup has gone through multiple iterations on its rise to the top of CS:GO, with FalleN always making the decisions to make roster moves. Through all of the organizational and roster changes, FalleN has always found ways to optimize his teams, fitting the pieces together to get the most out of his players.

KaBuM/KeyD Stars Lineup of 2015

For most of the early years of CS:GO, Brazil was a non-factor. The first Brazilian lineup to really make waves and get noticed was FalleN’s team, KaBuM.TD, which had been formed after KaBuM merged with ProGaming.TD. FalleN played alongside:

• Fernando “fer” Alvarenga
• Lucas “steel” Lopes
• Caio “zqk” Fonseca
• Ricardo “boltz” Prass

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For this merger, FalleN actually dropped Lincoln “fnx” Lau, who would later rejoin FalleN on Luminosity, as well as Henrique “HEN1” Teles and Lucas “LUCAS1” Teles who would go on to success with Tempo Storm and Immortals. FalleN was able to lead this KaBuM team to upset map wins over the likes of Cloud9 and Fnatic. The same lineup went on to become Keyd Stars and made the quarterfinals of the ESL One: Katowice major in 2015. fer was the clear star of this lineup, with FalleN following up behind. But this team was severely lacking in fragging power and changes had to be made.

First Luminosity: Arrival of coldzera

FalleN’s roster left Keyd Stars in July of 2015, dropping zqk in the process. The previous lineup needed star power, a problem FalleN solved when he discovered Marcelo “coldzera” David. These players competed alongside FalleN during this era:

• Fernando “fer” Alvarenga
• Lucas “steel” Lopes
• Ricardo “boltz” Prass
• Marcelo “coldzera” David

Under FalleN’s leadership, coldzera emerged as a superstar talent that helped carry Luminosity. FalleN’s play also began to rise as he improved his level with the AWP. To balance out the lineup FalleN had fer, the original carry, take a backseat to coldzera. Behind coldzera and FalleN, fer became a hybrid star capable of being more supportive, while still having big impact games when needed.

Second Luminosity/SK Gaming: World Number One

In November of 2015, FalleN made another big roster move, dropping boltz and steel to pick up Epitácio “TACO” de Melo and bring back fnx.

• Fernando “fer” Alvarenga
• Marcelo “coldzera” David
• Lincoln “fnx” Lau
• Epitácio “TACO” de Melo

Many questioned the timing of the move, as it came right before the FACEIT Stage 3 Finals. The decision seemed even more questionable after Luminosity lost their very first map together in an absolutely devastating 16-0 to Fnatic. However, FalleN gave a digital middle finger to the haters, rallying his team after the loss and making the finals of the tournament where they would, unfortunately, lose to Fnatic again. (To be fair, losing to Fnatic was normal for almost every team on the planet at the time.)

There was a lot of doubt cast on TACO at first, mostly due to his poor individual play, but he quickly developed into a very high impact support player for the team. fnx, who had been removed before due to lack of motivation, looked vastly improved and with his experience he became a great clutch player for the team. This lineup would go on to win both majors in 2016: MLG Columbus as Luminosity and ESL One: Cologne as SK Gaming.

SK Gaming in Flux: fox as a Stand-In

Towards the end of 2016, SK Gaming remained incredibly competitive, appearing in plenty of finals and semifinals, but the team was no longer winning tournaments. FalleN made the decision to bench fnx in December of that year, and SK Gaming would use Ricardo “fox” Pacheco as a stand-in for the next two tournaments.

• Fernando “fer” Alvarenga
• Marcelo “coldzera” David
• Epitácio “TACO” de Melo
• Ricardo “fox” Pacheco

SK used fox for the ECS Season 2 Finals and the ELEAGUE major at the start of 2017. On FaZe Clan, fox was the primary AWPer but his struggles at the elite level were well-known. He was not at the level of FalleN in anyway, but FalleN still found ways to incorporate fox and elevate his play. FalleN sacrificed his own play in order to get the most out of fox, even giving up the AWP at times. During this time, fer once again became a star carry alongside coldzera. Despite using their stand-in, SK Gaming made the semifinals of both tournaments and still looked dominant.

The New SK: Brazilian Super Team

After the ELEAGUE major, Immortals and SK swapped fnx and João “felps” Vasconcellos.

• Fernando “fer” Alvarenga
• Marcelo “coldzera” David
• Epitácio “TACO” de Melo
• João “felps” Vasconcellos

On Immortals, the second best Brazilian lineup, felps was the star player and carry of the team. Questions lingered about how FalleN would manage to balance out his team’s raw talent and star power. But as he always has, FalleN looks to have found a way to make it work and get the most out of everyone. DreamHack Las Vegas was the first tournament felps played with SK, and they made it to the finals undefeated before losing to Virtus.pro. SK have not lost any of their fantastic teamplay and tactics, but have still incorporated their new player. Statistically, FalleN was the worst player for SK as he fell back and allowed his stars to shine. coldzera is the consistent superstar for SK, while fer and felps both had explosive, high impact games throughout the tournament.

SK look even more formidable now, with more fragging power than ever before. They look like a legitimate super team, and look to make a run at the top spot once again. The one constant for these successful Brazilian lineups has been FalleN’s leadership and structure. The Brazilian captain has always found a way fit the pieces together to create a cohesive whole.

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Oscar Izquierdo
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Oscar is a writer and student from NYC currently working on his MA in English. Originally a Madden NFL enthusiast, he refined his taste and began following LoL in 2012. In 2014 he picked up CS:GO and has been covering the pro scene for both games ever since. When he isn’t writing or following professional e-sports he can be found feeding away in dynamic queue or matchmaking.
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