The first Brazilian to join a North American Counter-Strike team is not a player, but a coach. Just yesterday, Team Liquid announced that Luiz ‘peacemaker’ Tadeu, former coach of #2 Brazilian side Tempo Storm, will now take the helm for Liquid’s CS:GO squad.
Brazilian pride: peacemaker coaching for Tempo Storm. Photo courtesy theScore eSports.
The acquisition is a make-or-break one for Team Liquid, whose roster includes an impressive but underachieving list of NA phenoms (koosta), rising stars (EliGE), and veterans (Hiko). Since they lost their knock-out punch import, the Ukrainian multi-talent s1mple, Liquid’s lack of cohesion, consistency, and in-game leadership has showed. They failed to make the finals of DH Austin, an NA LAN and their first tournament without s1mple, and then exited in groups at the ESL Pro League finals after getting stomped by an olof-less fnatic, 2 maps to 0.
Peacemaker could be the coach that will turn them around. Over his rather short resume coaching Games Academy / Tempo Storm, he has appeared to be an intelligent shot-caller and attentive motivational coach. Tempo Storm’s successful runs at the CEVO finals and DH Austin with a lineup with less talent on paper than Liquid’s were both impressive.
But beyond coaching Tempo Storm, who is peacemaker? What did he do before coaching Tempo Storm, and what sort of Counter-Strike mind is he? As it turns out, peacemaker has been playing the game since 2002, and been a pro within the Brazilian CS scene since at least 2008.
Team Liquid’s announcement reports that peacemaker was a CS 1.6 player, but this is partially incorrect. The first reference to peacemaker I can find is a Portuguese-language article from Teamplay Electronic Sports in October 2008. (Shoutout to HLTV.org user ‘-who-‘ for helping me research these sources!) That article repeats a report that CnB Gaming (a.k.a. the Cannibals), a domestically successful Brazilian team in Counter-Strike: Source, was hiring peacemaker and another player, ‘ekz,’ as a replacement for a departing member of the team. (Or so Google Translate tells me. I can’t myself speak Portuguese.) Based on their focus on ekz, I would guess that peacemaker was a sixth man for this team.
The article reprints an interview of ekz and peacemaker from CnB’s website that no longer exists in original form. In the interview, peacemaker states that he is 20 years old and had been playing the original Counter-Strike since 2002, making him 14 at the time he started playing. His Liquipedia page confirms that he was playing under a number of CS 1.3-1.6 clans I do not recognize from 2002 to 2008; presumably, he was not a full-time player during this period.
He also says that he had just started playing Source a month ago with the encouragement of’ Ivan ‘ruffo’ Ruffo, a contemporary Brazilian player, and that he was putting off school for a year; we can assume this was the start of his professional intentions in CS.
Why pick up Source instead of 1.6? Many CS 1.6 players, particularly from NA and Brazil, were lured to CS:S in 2006 and 2007 by the false financial promise of the Championship Gaming Series, or CGS, an eSports league that was supposed to grow to rival professional sports leagues. However, the glow of CGS and thus CS:S’s lucrative eSports position was well-faded by the fall of 2008, with the league itself folding in November. Pocket-money from tournaments may have been something peacemaker was hoping for on the long-shot, but it certainly wasn’t to be an education.
If good pay was unlikely, what was the real attraction to joining CnB as a pro CS:S rookie, then? My theory, barring an actual interview: the teammates he would have! Playing for CnB at the time was the brilliant ‘cogu’, Brazil’s brightest CS star and one of 1.6’s all-time greatest AWPers and all-around players. In 2006, cogu led Made in Brazil (mibr) to Brazil’s only major championship; what CS nerd in Brazil wouldn’t want a chance to play alongside him?!
mibr’s major title in 2006 under the likes of cogu and fnx was the height of Brazilian CS 1.6. Photo courtesy Vinicius Alves, Youtube.
Over the next year, a trail of old Teamplay articles record peacemaker’s movement through the constantly shuffling Brazilian CS:S scene. Some names he played beside an observant CS:GO fan might recognize: zqk and steel of KaBuM! and KeydStars fame, and zews, current coach for Luminosity, and possibly even FalleN for a brief moment on vSONE (though I can’t confirm this). The scene seems like it was a mess at the time, with players constantly shifting allegiances and dropping out of the game for school or personal reasons.
The only tournament I can find that he participated in at the time was a large domestic tournament in July 2009, the Destroyers TargetDown Cup II. He and the team he joined the month before, Team Yeah, went out in 6th-7th place following two heartbreakingly close Bo1 losses. The team he had left, CnB, made it to the finals. Whoops. The team that beat them? Team TargetDown (TB), a dream mix of RKZ, zqk, bit (IGL of major-winners mibr), cogu…and FalleN.
On his teams, peacemaker was always a rifler. What his playstyle was, I wish I could ascertain; I find CS:S demos from this era difficult to get a hold of, especially for someone who wasn’t from France or NA. I’d like to assume he wasn’t yet an IGL, though, since he was often one of the least experienced players on his team.
After late 2009, the trail goes cold. Liquipedia says he joined Team TD from 2009 to 20??; I suspect he focused on studies or something of this nature during those years while still keeping one foot in CS. He’s had a “couple breaks but never really managed to get away from the game,” he says in his welcome interview with Liquid; I suspect that this was one of those half-breaks.
Early Global Offensive: Stuck in Brazil
In Global Offensive, peacemaker continued to be a player in the domestic scene. At this point, he has played long enough in CS terms to be called a grizzled veteran; and when he says in his Liquid interview that he was always the IGL of his teams, I assume he is referring to his CS:GO experience. (Then again, you know what they say about assuming.)
There is actually a clip from 2013 on de_nuke, relatively early in GO’s history, of peacemaker landing a 4k on a retake, including a 1v1 clutch, that you can see right below.
The play isn’t actually terribly impressive. Peacemaker uses a good sense of timing to come out of vents at the right time, but I must note that his aim doesn’t look incredible, and two of his opponents were clearly on low HP. More notable is the venue–ESEA League #2, a tier 3 format–and two notable teammates who die in the clip, zews and boltz. I can assure you that the two teams (syt.MK and gathers) were not exactly world-beaters.
Boltz would prove enough of a talent for FalleN to recruit him into KeydStars, the breakout Brazilian lineup that began upsetting the world’s best teams in Bo1s in the beginning of 2015. In 2013, though, the Brazilian scene was floundering. After playing for a team called vti for half a year, peacemaker was recruited to Afterall Gaming in late 2013 to replace one of their old 1.6 legacy players, who left the team hanging at an event to attend a party. The forsaken party-goer was fnx. The young talent who remained on Afterall Gaming was fer.
Interestingly, peacemaker would stick with this lineup for two years as its IGL, making him a stable source in the Brazilian CS:GO scene and allowing him to witness several of his former teammates achieve unprecedented international success with FalleN’s overachieving band of Brazilians. It wasn’t until Luminosity’s final and decisive roster move in November of 2015 that peacemaker would be able to prove his chops as a coach rather than a player.
Global Offensive Success: the Coaching Begins
As FalleN cut steel and boltz from Luminosity to poach TACO and a resurgent (and now hard-working) fnx from Games Academy (read: FalleN’s farm team), he also brought in zews, peacemaker’s old CS:S buddy, as coach. GA needed a coach, and zews recommended peacemaker.
Under his leadership, Games Academy acquitted itself well in North American leagues, making it to the CEVO Gfinity finals and placing well at several smaller tournaments, including the NA qualifiers for IEM Katowice and Dreamhack Malmo. They picked up new sponsorship with Tempo Storm, but still failed to qualify for the major and went into IEM Katowice as huge underdogs.
In an interview with HLTV above during the major qualifier, peacemaker discusses his motivational role with the team. When rounds go against them, he explains, the team gets emotional and starts to choke; that’s where he steps in, to be both a cheerleader and a voice of reason to his emotional, young Brazilian team.
It was his rigorous work with Terrorist-side executions that would become apparent at the next tournament, however. At IEM Katowice, Tempo Storm would upset Virtus.pro, EnVyUs, and even took a map away from Na’Vi, arguably the best team in the world. In the process, they would put up massive numbers of Terrorist rounds, but struggle on their Counter-Terrorist sides–indicative of a team with excellent training, execution, and T-sided gameplan, but failing individual skill and mediocre CT coordination/gamesense. Thus, for their initial run, peacemaker must be given credit for the work he did outside the game, but showed room to grow in his understanding of CT-oriented CS.
Tempo Storm’s improvement since then, including their tournament win at the CEVO Gfinity S9 finals, has to be credited to the growth of several of its players, especially felps and boltz, each of whom have come to discover their own play-styles since Katowice. Peacemaker may have facilitated their growth as players, but the team’s work-ethic and growing international experience is probably the most relevant factors here. Nevertheless, the team’s continued success gives peacemaker a good notch on his belt; this team is not a flash in the pan, and they have both identity and the good fundamentals and executions that are so characteristic of good Brazilian CS:GO.
The New Chapter: Team Liquid
Will Team Liquid benefit from the coaching of this old CS:S pro? On the surface, peacemaker is perfect. He has experience taking young talent (something Liquid certainly has) and imposing a system of execution-based tactics and good decision-making onto them (something Liquid could use a lot more of). Furthermore, he has experience guiding teams to victories in close games, games where the team was beginning to choke. Tempo Storm did this several times at Katowice, but won out; Liquid has done this multiple times across multiple tournaments, and they always lose. An extra steadying voice besides Hiko would be a welcome addition.
However, Liquid also has a history of: (1) not boot-camping, (2) not living together in a gaming house like TS did, and (3) rejecting people from the team when they push their buttons. This is not exactly ideal material for a coach that wishes to transform a team into winners. Also, there’s a palpable hunger from Brazilian CS players which seems to have eluded the more salaried and complacent NA players like those on Liquid. If the clay isn’t malleable, it’s hard to craft good pottery with it.
Peacemaker has the skills, I believe, to make Liquid into NA’s consistent best team and a good team internationally. My question is whether he has the right material in Liquid. Only time will tell if old Brazilian wisdom can prevail over rash American pride.
What do you think? Are there any details of peacemaker’s career and accomplishments that I missed? Leave a comment and let me know!