Interview: SK’s Felps on jetlag, overpowered pistols and how they came to Europe to win ‘three out of four championships’

After clutching victory in both the Dreamhack Open and the ECS Season 3 finals, SK are looking like one of the strongest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squads in the world. 

They’re currently on a summer break, a working holiday that’s seeing the team venture to Europe with the aim of smashing the competition in several big contests: The Dreamhack Open, ECS Season 3 finals, ESL One Cologne and the PGL Krakow majors. 

Ahead of the team’s victory at ECS Season 3 this weekend, we spoke to João ‘felps’  Vasconcellos, who joined the team from Immortals in February, about the team’s European jollies, and the state of Counter-Strike in general. 

Esports Pro: does it feel to come into this tournament having just snatched a win at the DreamHack open? Do you feel confident that you can continue?

João ‘felps’ Vasconcellos (via Vasconcellos): During DreamHack, I said that if SK won it would give me a boost, if SK actually won it. But the team did, and now we’re coming here to play among the best teams in the world, the real test. 

Esports Pro: Presuming you guys go all the way to the final, who would you most want to play, and who would you least like to face off against?

Vasconcellos: G2. The thing is, they’re the only opponent that we haven’t beat yet. They’re the ones they’re missing. 

(A brief aside here, that SK did face off against G2 as their first match of the entire ECS final. They beat them soundly, 16-7 in a single elimination match on Cache.)

Esports Pro: Do you feel like the increase in prize money with the Majors and other tournaments offering big prize pots mean that the game is a lot healthier now, competitively?

Vasconcellos:I feel like, besides the money, it’s the visibility that it keeps on growing throughout the tournament. Being the best team in the world right now, it definitely helps the visibility.

Being an inspiration for the Brazilian fans, it’s very motivational for me and the rest of the team. That’s why we work so hard and rarely take breaks. That’s the main reason. We want to bring inspiration to the Brazilian fans.

Esports Pro: What’s next for SK? 

Vasconcellos:    We came to Europe to play four championships in a row, and the objective was to win at least three of them, so one is down. This one will be one of the biggest challenges, but if we don’t win it’s not the end of the world because we really want to win ESL One Cologne and Major. For now though, this is one of the best tournaments in the world, and it’s the first time thats I’m playing the CS finals in London, and besides the tournament having one of the best infrastructures and everything behind it, it always also has the best teams in the world so I’m really hoping to get a win.

Esports Pro:    You guys have travelled over here for the tournaments, how do you think being based in Brazil works against you with travelling for events and trying to manage jetlag and other travel complications? 

Vasconcellos:    Jet lag plays a very huge role in the tournaments. For example, in the first day at DreamHack they were feeling super, super tired. But he says that they need to adapt to all of it, drink Red Bull and all that. 

Esports Pro:    You guys have been successful in 2017, how have you found the recent meta changes, especially the tweaks to the UMP?  

Vasconcellos:    In terms of the UMP changes, I feels like it hasn’t changed a lot,  but in terms of the meta he thinks that the game is much more tactical and strategical than it was before. 

Esports Pro:  A lot of pro players have commented that they feel that pistols are now too strong an option. Do you feel the same?

Vasconcellos:    They’re way too strong and I feel like it should be changed because it’s too easy to lose rounds against just pistols.

Esports Pro:    Okay, and how would he tweak it so that you couldn’t just scum the pistols?

Vasconcellos:    Maybe change the fact that some pistols can kill with just one shot. For example, I feels like the UMP, if you don’t hit me straight away I can kill you if I just has a five seven. You shouldn’t be able to beat an enemy with a pistol when they have a rifle or submachine gun. 

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