The winners of ESL One: Cologne 2017, SK Gaming’s successful Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team can trace their origins to a major shakeup that occurred within another team a little over a year ago.
FalleN and Crew Join SK
Now known as SK Gaming, Brazil’s most dominant CS:GO team originally competed under the banner of Luminosity, even winning a major (DreamHack Austin 2016) during their time with that organisation. However, after a contract dispute with Luminosity, the quintet of FalleN, coldzera, fnx, TACO and fer, along with coach zews, ultimately joined SK Gaming, where a majority of them still remain today.
To say that SK has been a dominant force on the scene ever since would be something of an understatement – the team has continually been considered one of the top five teams in the world over the past 12 months. Two members have recently left the team, however, as zews now coaches North America’s Team Liquid, while fnx was removed for felps due to chemistry issues.
FalleN Has No Equal as an In-Game Leader
In-game leader FalleN is the brains behind SK Gaming, with the 26-year-old being forced to step up even more after the exit of zews. FalleN commands the troops in and out of the game, guiding them into proactive and positive scenarios. Coupled with the fact that FalleN is the primary AWPer of the team, he plays one of the most crucial roles for the team.
While his play has dipped from SK’s peak, FalleN’s ability to be a solid AWPer while also in-game leading is impressive in its own right. Many players struggle to secure kills while being an IGL, as you place more of your focus on the tactics than mechanics.
Coldzera the Superstar
Coldzera is the long-standing superstar of the team, globally recognised as one of the two best players in the world for over a year now. With some of the most refined and precise aim that the game has ever seen, Cold also couples that aim with the ability to both rifle and AWP – a skill that gives him an incredible amount of versatility.
Cold’s greatest asset, however, is his consistency, as he always appears to make the right play based on his surroundings. This is a blessing for an in-game leader such as FalleN, as he knows no matter what is happening on the map, coldzera is making the correct decision – with an incredible aim to boot.
Fer Excels in High-Pressure Situations
One player finally getting the recognition he deserves is fer, the entry-fragger. Being the first man into a bombsite is one of the toughest roles in Counter-Strike, yet fer appears to do it with ease. Many a foe has spoken about how they know exactly what he’s going to do, yet he is able to wipe out the opposition anyway. Fer, like coldzera, is a rock for the team, providing excellence in the highest-pressure situations where normal players would crumble. Originally hiding in the shadow of coldzera, fer is now seen, and deservedly so, as a top-five player in the world.
Versatility a Strength for TACO
TACO is the glue that allows SK Gaming to function, as he fits any role needed for the team at the time. While perhaps not quite reaching the highs of cold and fer, TACO’s ability to use an AWP, entry, or throw flashbangs when needed shows how much he means to this team. Other members are able to play aggressively and take risks, knowing that TACO can make the right play afterwards. While perhaps not being particularly flashy, TACO’s flexibility is a crucial aspect of what allows SK to stay at the top.
Felps Adjusts Well to New Surroundings
The last member to join SK, felps took some time to develop synergy with the rest of the team. Previously a star of Immortals, felps had to figure out how to play with other quality players. After the adjustment, felps has beautifully replaced fnx’s role as the consistent player with breakout potential on certain maps. While not putting up the absurd numbers he did on previous lineups, felps has lowered his kills per map a tad in exchange for winning titles.
As a whole, every member of SK Gaming could become the best or second best player on another team, but the ability to constantly perform and win titles has kept this Brazilian powerhouse together. SK should expect solid results for the foreseeable future as many top teams adjust to their new rosters coming out of the player break period.