Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo is the in-game leader and AWPer for SK Gaming and is a legend within the Counter-Strike community, who furthered his legacy after winning MLG Major Championship: Columbus.
Prior to attending the Columbus Major however, FalleN and the rest of his team signed contracts with SK while still playing under Luminosity Gaming and found himself and his teammates in the middle of a dispute between the organizations. The situation came to a head when the dispute was made public on May 27, but was ultimately resolved on June 24 with the team going to SK on July 1.
Suffice to say the transition has not been an easy one for the team or FalleN, but you wouldn't be able to tell if you were looking at their results. They won DreamHack Austin, they won the ESL Pro League Season 3 LAN Finals, they topped their group during ELEAGUE and they finished second at the Esports Championship Series LAN Finals.
With all their recent results and the fact that they're the reigning champions from the previous Major, SK are one of the biggest threats going into the upcoming Major at ESL One Cologne 2016.
FalleN took the time to answer some questions from theScore esports before his team's photoshoot in SK Gaming's office in Cologne, Germany, talking about how the transition from LG to SK affected the team and what he hopes to bring to their new org.
You guys were at the center of the dispute between SK and LG, which likely caused a lot of stress within the team. But now that the situation has been settled, how is the team atmosphere?
Actually it is really good. We have fun practicing and we are focused on the Major. It feels good to leave the stressful weeks behind us and start a new chapter.
Do you feel the situation hurt your relation with the fans?
I don't think so. The past weeks have been as difficult for many of our fans as they were for us. Our fans are truly very important to us and I believe they like us as players and also as persons. I hope they will join us in this new chapter of our lives and keep supporting us.
How about other players in the scene, have they spoken to you guys or made comments about the situation?
Some had good wishes for us and some let us know that they support us. But nothing special really.
You guys are also going into the Cologne Major as the reigning champions after the MLG Major, do you feel that because of this and the drama that you guys are going in as maybe the "villains" or the "final boss" of the tournament?
If you look at our group there is really no need for the opponents to have a special motivation. The entire tournament will be super tough. I think this is our hardest tournament to date and we have to be very focused from the very first round.
As the defending Major champion we kinda are the final boss but I don't think the team situation has added anything to this. At this tournament everybody wants to win, no matter the opponent.
You’ve been in the SK office and met some of the people there, what are some of your first impressions being part of SK?
We have been treated very well. Everything has been handled very professionally and we can totally focus on practicing for the tournament. On a personal level it will take time to get to know all the people and to build a relationship. Our first impression has been really good.
As it stands you guys will be staying in L.A., but have you guys considered moving to Europe, with SK’s offices in Germany? Or perhaps bootcamping in Europe?
We don't want to leave the U.S. Our manager Ricardo and his wife Camilla live there and we want to stay with them. I mean, California has also great weather and nice beaches, whats not to like. We found a new house in a really nice area and will move in after the Major.
As for bootcamps, it is a huge advantage for us that we now have practice facilities in Germany and the United States. This make our preparation even better.
Though your last event as part of LG, at the ECS LAN, was not a win, you claimed a Major title and overall elevated that brand in the six-seven months you guys were there. What are some of your goals as part of SK?
Everybody in Brazil knows SK from back in the day when they played at CPL Brazil vs. MIBR. It really is a legendary name and we want to get it back to the top and add to the legacy.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking
Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev. You can follow him on Twitter.