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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Up & Close with 15-year-old Chinese CSGO Pro Escudo

Following up on our TalkEsport’s Interact series, where we feature talent from the esports circuit. Our new guest is Francisco “escudo” Mascarenhas. Escudo is a 15-year-old CSGO Pro from Macau, China. Escudo is currently playing for Team Brutality in ESL India Premiership: Summer Phase of the Masters Cup.

Malav: So escudo, you mentioned earlier that you are 15 years old. How did your journey to play CSGO professionally begin?

escudo: So it all started when I was around ten years old and my dad bought a computer for his own office work. Instead of him, I ended up using it for hours daily. I actually played Counter Strike 1.6 when I was eight at my domestic helper’s house. I first played Counter Strike Global Offensive in the summer of 2016. In the beginning, I did not enjoy it and I would only play because of my friends, but after a while I absolutely enjoyed it. In reality, it took me a long time to get to where I am, after playing the game for a month I was still horrendous at it and I was mocked for my skills. Being mocked by my friends, in turn, motivated me to play even better.

While scrolling through Youtube for CS:GO videos, I stumbled upon highlights video of a professional CS:GO match, to be exact, it was ESL Cologne 2016. Till then, I had no idea that there was a competitive CS:GO scene. I thought that the only possible way to make money with gaming was by making Youtube videos. After that, I watched the entire ESL Cologne 2016 tournament and saw SK Gaming lift the trophy. That’s when I found out that I wanted to go professional, I said to myself “this is what I wanna be, an esports player.” So I started playing, even more, I even quit sports to devote myself to gaming and from there everything led to another. By that time I started playing FACEIT and I started getting recognition from the community. I started playing tournaments, I got invited to teams and that’s essentially how it went.

The first sponsored team I joined was Wanted Esport, a French organization, and now I am in Brutality playing the ESL Premiership India – Masters League.

Malav: Did your parents support gaming from a young age? What do they think about going professional is CSGO

escudo: My parents have always supported me in whatever I did, whether it was sports, gaming or anything. I am very lucky to have this kind of support. Many parents are against gaming- they don’t buy their children computers to play games who then sneak out to Internet Cafes to play. On the other hand, some parents prohibit gaming despite owning a computer. I believe that I am very fortunate to have such supportive parents. They are the best parents I could have asked for.

Although my parents support me, they do have some concerns. They think that gaming is not healthy and hampers education. I do agree with them to a certain extent. A lot of people have not been able to balance gaming and education. In my opinion,  with good time management anything thing can be achieved, you can be a top student and a top player at the same time. My parents believe that gamers are lazy and overweight. When I hear people saying this I just show them a picture of, my teammate, Ankit. Ankit (better known as V3nom) is the most active person I know. He plays professional Counter-Strike, goes to the gym, likes to do modelling and is the brand ambassador for the best companies in the world. He is the perfect example to show people that being a gamer doesn’t mean that you can’t be fit and lead a good life.

Malav: Is there a communication barrier between you and Indian players?

escudo: Well the communication in Team Brutality is a mix of Hindi and English. During retakes and executes, there have been moments where I have felt a bit out of the loop. Other than that our communication is pretty clear and all of us are working to improve it.

Malav: How different has the experience been playing on an Indian Team compared to a SEA Team?

escudo: In my opinion, there is a huge difference between Indian teams and SEA teams. In SEA, there are more individually skilled players so when it comes to teams you can see more individual plays in SEA teams. On the other hand, Indian teams have a lack of firepower and structure, however, they are getting better day by day.  Something I realized about Indian teams is that they tend to craft their own style. On the other hand, SEA teams tend to copy strats from other teams. Additionally, the SEA region has many young talents between the age of 13 and 16 who play on the top teams there. In India, there aren’t any players of my age group (13-16) who play for top teams

Malav: Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?

escudo: To tell you the truth, it scares me a little to know that in one decade I will be twenty-five years old and that my childhood will come to an end. I hope that in ten years I can buy my own house from my own income and provide for my parents and family.

Malav: Favorite moment in your life regarding CSGO?

escudo: My favorite moment regarding CS: GO is definitely when I reached the finals of CESG & KOM, Macau. It was the first time I played on a stage and my parents were there. It was a special moment because I made my parents proud by showing them how good I really was and I feel that my parents started to believe in me even more.

Malav: What is one fact about you that only a few people know?

escudo: I have a huge passion for learning languages, for me when you learn a language you don’t only learn the language, you also learn about the culture of a country. I can only speak Portuguese and English fluently. However, I have intermediate proficiency in other languages like Mandarin, Malay, Bahasa Indonesia, Spanish, French. In Macau, the esports scene isn’t great and I learned languages by playing with my friends from other countries.

Malav: A quote that you live by?

escudo: “With hard work and effort, you can achieve anything”-  Antoine Griezmann

I live by this quote because I can relate my life story to it. I do believe that if you work and focus really hard you can achieve anything. It wasn’t easy for me to get here, I worked really hard – hours and hours of practice and watching demos every day. I still work hard to find ways to improve myself.    

Thank you Escudo for generous responses. We wish you all the best for your endeavors with Brutality!


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