Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo is one of the most passionate players in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which works both for and against him on and off the field.
For all the inside stories from the ECS finals, watch the CS:GO team interviews from ECS.
His team, equally as passionate, have undergone a messy transition from world-conquering underdogs at Luminosity Gaming, to new team SK Gaming in a fiasco of contract back-outs and closed door discussions. According to the Brazilian in-game leader, while the team's emotions offer them strength in their work, he admits it causes them problems in business. Despite that, the team won their second Major in a row last weekend in Cologne.
We caught up with FalleN at the ECS season one finals in London's Wembley SSE Arena to talk about Luminosity's recent past, and the future with SK Gaming.
PCGamesN: Any psychological change in the team since winning the MLG Columbus Major?
FalleN: I think since winning the Major we got ourselves more confident. But the very first event after the Major we lost in the group stage, which is the first time we ever did that. We lost to Tyloo and we had a very bad map choice, we tried to bring up cache for our game and we thought it was a good time to try it out in a tournament as it's better than trying it out in practices, but actually it ended up pretty bad. We lost two matches to Tyloo and went straight out of the tournament, but after that we actually won a lot of tournaments. So psychologically speaking I think we got ourselves more confident, I think we feel, ourselves, more powerful as well but every time we try to remember that we still need to achieve more and we need to stay always focused and keep ourselves humble. That's how we got here so far, so we should not change what's working.
Do you have any teams in the scene you are keeping an eye on?
No, being honest we're not looking into any specific team as a threat, we're really relying on playing our game and trying to keep our playstyle on the fly where it's supposed to be. But you should always be careful against the top teams in the world, even in our group. Our first match [at ECS] against NiP, they're a super great team and the other group have Astralis, those teams are always dangerous. So we need to be careful and play our best in order to achieve.
Your recent contract kerfuffle with SK Gaming has many confused, mostly as the deal seems too good to turn down and you attempted to back out anyway. Can you explain why you felt the need to stay with LG?
It has been a learning experience for me. Me, personally, I have been too much deep into this and everything that happened, and the only mistake I think we did was trying to go back on our original plan. Because when we decided to jump in and start talking to SK, we weren't doing anything wrong. You are looking for a new job, that's something everyone has the right to do in their life. But the problem is after doing that, we decided to go back, and that's for the most part because of me, because I wasn't feeling ok with that.
That's something personally that I have changed, and mainly because I was being too emotional in the business part. And for me, that was the thing that I learned most of from the things that have happened. So I'm trying to not get too much involved with emotional things in the business part of things anymore. I think we're going to handle this but I'm not authorised to say anything about the resolution of this matter. But for me, personally speaking, I have been growing a lot as a person and as a worker with all this happening. I try to take every good aspect of any problem that we have, so I think I'm growing.
LG was where you really blew up in NA CS:GO, and wanting to stay sounds like it could have been a question of loyalty. Do you think that's a rare thing in CS:GO?
I think when it comes to business, there is no loyalty, being honest. Of course there is loyalty to do things correctly, but you can't just deny better offers, or not look for better conditions for you to keep doing what you love just because you started with someone. Also there is a straight line with loyalty and doing what is good for yourself, so that's difficult to measure and know where it crosses or not. But I think it's important for the players to be looking for the best things they can have and esports has been growing a lot.
And as you mentioned, we actually came to NA not because of LG but because of Keyd Stars and went to Luminosity later. But it has been a great year with luminosity, we have been growing a lot, but it doesn't necessarily mean we need to stay with them forever just because of that. I think it's difficult to say where loyalty ends, but in our case it wasn't for loyalty that we were staying or not, I mean we did everything we could as our best since we started, and we're going to finish like this.