Gustavo “SHOOWTIME” Gonçalves was replaced by Wilton “Zews” Prado shortly after Immortals’ failed conquest at ESL Cologne 2016’s Major Qualifier. At the time, it was considered to be a bolster to the mentality of Immortals, still reeling after their loss of Luis “peacemaker” Tadeu in May. Things took a turn for the worse, and Immortals wasted no time in handing Zews his marching orders after group stage exits at ELEAGUE Season 2 and ESL Pro League LAN Finals. With every passing disappointment, the dismissal of SHOOWTIME is looking like a grave error for the Immortals squad.
SHOOWTIME’s role within Immortals bears a number of similarities to Robin “Fifflaren” Johansson’s role at Ninjas in Pyjamas. Back in the 87-0 era, when Ninjas In Pyjamas dominated the CS:GO scene, Fifflaren was continually compared to his Swedish comrades and scrutinised for his individual performance. Nonetheless, Fifflaren and Ninjas In Pyjamas – even through the fierce criticism – went on to compete at three major finals, winning ESL Cologne 2014.
Yet once the honeymoon period came to an abrupt end, with Ninjas in Pyjamas crashing out of ESWC 2014, NiP quickly replaced Fifflaren with Mikail “Maikelele” Bill and tumbled steeply downhill as a result. Failing to find their perfect 5th member, Ninjas in Pyjamas have suffered through several dry spells, failing to return to their once authoritarian control over the CS:GO scene.
The parallel’s between SHOOWTIME and Fifflaren are immediately apparent. Having SHOOWTIME on the team, Immortals won the CEVO Gfinity LAN Finals against SK Gaming and won Dreamhack Summer 2016 against Ninjas in Pyjamas. When the squad weren’t able to get their hands on silverware, their LAN tournament placings were always a reputable second place. Having SHOOWTIME as part of the squad gave freedom to Henrique “hen1” Teles and João “felps” Vasconcellos to accustom themselves with their own play-styles.
SHOOWTIME, much like Fifflaren, was always willing to sacrifice himself, playing uncomfortable positions and dying continually so his team could obtain advantage in the playing field. As a result, SHOOWTIME continually received hate from the community for his surface level poor play and stats. Even with the weight of public scorn bearing down upon him, he always found a way to turn a bad situation around in Immortals’ favour:
Stats may shout the loudest, but they only ever tell half of the story when it comes to competitive CS:GO. After crashing out of the ESL Cologne 2015 Qualifiers – and despite winning Dreamhack Summer 2016 soon after – Immortals felt the need to “drop” SHOOWTIME, creating an unforeseen paradox by picking up Zews.
Comparing Immortal’s tournament timelines during both SHOOWTIME’s and Zews’ eras with the teams quickly raises a number of red flags for the once dominant squad. The players appear to be acting on impulse, and the management are spoiling them like children. It is incomprehensible as to why you would cut both Zews and SHOOWTIME after a single bad tournament.
As a team, you are supposed to weather the storm and find a way to work through a series of poor results. In Immortals’ case, they seem to be continually searching for shortcuts to success. Immortals’ belief is that, “by cutting a statistically, under-performing player, we can quickly reach the top in no time,” and that clearly hasn’t been the case.
In hindsight, the original roster with Ricardo “Boltz” Prass IGL’ing and SHOOWTIME, was certainly Immortals’ strongest recipe for success – their fortunes have undeniably slumped since the pair were torn apart. The organisation have screwed up big time and it’s going to prove difficult to get them back on track.