Upon the announcement of fnx’s departure from Immortals, speculation on his replacement began almost immediately. For the first time since joining the org, there was no clear replacement for the departing star. SK’s roster was set in stone, fox had returned to Europe and no remainders of the Brazilian shuffle were left to swoop up. Instead, Immortals would turn again to the under appreciated Brazilian scene, hoping to find another diamond in the rough. After weeks of false rumors and hasty denials, the North American organization settled on the candidate whose dream they would fulfill, Brazil’s very own kNg.
From an outsider’s point of view, the announcement of kNg as their new flagship talent was perplexing to say the least. For a team so heavily reliant on the AWP skills of HEN1, another unproven AWPer was just about the last thing they needed. KNg’s skill was of little concern compared to his uncertain role within the team. Whether or not, Brazil’s latest export was strong enough to compete, he would face the struggle of fitting as a sidekick to a player whose role he seemed to replicate.
But from the perspective of a Brazilian fan, kNg’s sudden reappearance at the top of CS marked the return of a legend from their closely knit community. KNg may not be known to the casual viewer of Global Offensive, but his legacy stretches past the latest installment of our beloved series. For long-time supporters of South American CS, kNg is instantly recognizable as a 1.6 stud, who never got the chance he deserved.
Six years ago, in the forgotten world of Brazilian 1.6, Vito “kNg”Giuseppe was an exciting prospect for the future of Brazilian Counter-Strike. As a young up and comer in a scene of veterans chasing their glory days, kNg stood out from the pack. As the standout talent from GamerHouse, he led his team to the top of Brazilian Counter-Strike, second only to the mibr veterans that he idolized.
KNg drew eyes not only through his shots on the server, but through his colorful personality as well. Even at his first international LAN, Dreamhack Bucharest 2012, kNg stole the show with his unflinching poise.
As his teammates prepare nervously for their upcoming test, Vito dons a pair of oversized shield sunglasses, heads into a dimly lit showroom for a Mercedes-Benz of brilliant red, and prepares for an interview.
“How do you plan to defeat Fnatic?” The reporter asks.
“Well, I guess I’ll just kill them all.”
At the time of this…optimistic prediction, Fnatic was unquestionably the best team in the world. Their Bucharest success came at the tail end of 5 consecutive tournament wins, spanning nearly half a year with Fnatic dominance. The odds that anyone, much less the second best team in a shallow region, could beat Fnatic in a best of 3, were poor to say the least. Unsurprisingly, GamerHouse couldn’t take the W in the end, but kNg’s prediction was not entirely untrue. Despite the odds stacked against them, the young Brazilians managed to snag a map off of Fnatic, a feat only the strongest of European teams had pulled off to that point.
At the head of it all was kNg, pushing his team ever forward both on and off the server. In the first map, kNg barraged his opponents with a flurry of Portuguese insults, unfazed by their caliber and status among the general CS scene. His relentless trash talk and fired up yelling could be seen as disrespectful by some, but his contributions toward the team’s morale were undeniable. His lack of respect or care for the most well-respected team in the world helped relieve the nerves of his more bashful companions. He repainted Fnatic, not as the world’s greatest players, but as just another opponent, about to be demolished at the hands of his team.
Love it or hate it, savage or stupid, kNg brings an incredible flair to Counter-Strike that has fallen off since the days of 1.6. His foul-mouthed hyped up passion for the game will fit in well with a team notorious for their loud celebrations. In every aspect, from his flashy flicks, to his brash personality, kNg fits right in with his new North American suitors. He and HEN1 make an unexpected combo, but one with the firepower to take down any team in the world, if given the chance. Regardless of his role on the team, kNg provides a jolt of energy for a team that’s been static for far too long.
Fortunately, Brazil’s newest AWPing star contains the same explosive fire in a sniper rifle as he does in his over-the-top, cocky demeanor. In his first three events, Giuseppe showed off the highlight-worthy playmaking ability that made his name in Brazil. Even against a far superior level of competition, Giuseppe maintained his poise, as he did in Bucharest so many years ago. In particular, kNg’s monstrous performance in Dreamhack Summer was vital to Immortals’ top 3 finish. First, a blusterous gem of the dying days of Brazilian 1.6, then a persistent force of Brazil’s unrefined CS:GO scene, and now an internationally unknown import getting his big break, kNg is showing he’s always belonged with the big dogs of Counter-Strike.
In just a few weeks’ time, kNg has flipped the script on his critics. Upon his arrival in North America, questions abounded on his place on the team, outshined by HEN1’s long-proven stardom. Many wondered if he could grow and thrive in the shadow of a player perceived as superior. More importantly, he was considered a parasite, leeching resources from the team’s true star to support an inferior, unproven player desperately trying to fill a role better suited for his superior partner. Now, it’s HEN1, the face of Immortals’ starpower, whose role has been put into question. How do you justify the continued support of an inconsistent AWPer, already past his peak, when a budding star could perform better given the same resources in that role?
These questions don’t have to be answered immediately. KNg has glistened in his first few events, but his tenure with the team is still relatively young. The double AWP setup is an unconventional style of play, but given the raw talent between the two of them, and their struggles with consistency, it could be the unlikely solution to Immortals’ long-unresolved inconsistency issues.
Even if he doesn’t supersede HEN1’s role and take the helm of Brazil’s secondary threat, kNg is a name that’s going to stick around for a while. Given his historic motivation and confidence, it’s unlikely we’re going to see him quit anytime soon. After all, he’s stuck around for 6 years now, long after his infamous talent and lack of humility faded with the rest of the Brazilian scene. Who knows, maybe in 5 years he’ll join his 1.6 idols, in the same breath as cogu and FalleN, where he always dreamed he would be.