In this episode of ‘MewMents with Catslayer’ I got in touch with one of Macau's most promising young talent, Francisco 'Escudo' Mascarenhas.
Escudo is an immensely talented player who at the young age of fifteen has already started making a name for himself in the Asian Counter-Strike circuit. He has already played the ESL India Premiership along with Team Brutality and although his stay was short, his presence was felt.
Here's a gist of our conversation.
Hey Escudo! Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself to everyone?
My name is Francisco Mascarenhas also known as Escudo. I am 15 years old from Macau, China. I started playing CS:GO three years ago in the summer of 2016. Being a student it is tough to manage both, gaming and studies but as my parents are completely supportive of my decision to pursue Counter-Strike professionally it gets a bit easier.
Hailing from such a small town, how did you manage to practise and develop your skill?
So I first started playing CS 3 years ago, in the beginning, I took it as a fun hobby and I just played with my friends, I didn't take the game seriously. But when I first watched an ESL tournament I actually saw the esports scene and all the competitiveness and I was really interested. So, I said to myself I really want to try to go pro because this is really fun it looks interesting and everything, from there I started practising even more.
Back then I used to do a lot of sports but I stopped them to devote myself to esports even more and from there I just kept playing and soon I got recognition from the public and some pro-players also got to know about me. Soon I reached a point where I didn't find anyone from my place that would play the game at my level, there is no pro-scene in Macau and there are not many players as Macau barely has a population of 600,000 and not many of them play, so it was really hard for me to find people.
I then started playing with other people from other scenes Thailand, Singapore, India, Malaysia, etc and that's how I started knowing people from the scene, I started playing with them and all my first teams were with people who aren’t from Macau.
At just fifteen years of age, how many tournaments have you participated in?
Not many actually, we can count them with the fingers on our hands. In Macau, there are not many LANs and I try to attend all the LANs I can. I have played in the Macau G4 Tournament two of them, Macau CESG & KOM Tournament where I placed second, some other online qualifiers like DreamHack Stockholm and ESL One Cologne, where I was a part of a mixed team called Tempus Troupe with Marzil and some players from ex-Wings and Raph, who is also from Macau. My last competition event was ESL India Premiership CS:GO Summer Masters with Team Brutality.
So having already been a part of many different teams, what’s next for you now? Where do you see yourself going from here?
Well I really feel I haven’t even started, its like things are happening and then they stop, then something comes up for a while and then nothing, its like a rollercoaster right now. I hope I can start again, obviously in a different scene because I don't have a possibility to do anything in Macau.
I just want to join a team, play with them, boot camp, everything. I was thinking maybe an Indian organization one day, for me right now the most fun that I have ever had was playing in the Indian tournament. I want to start again in the Indian scene or the Australian scene, I have been playing in their hubs and have been getting to know the people from there. Hopefully, go for international events from there on, those are basically my plans at the moment.
Having played both in India and China, what differences are there between the two regions?
Well, I haven’t really played in mainland China, Macau is a part of China but it acts as an autonomous region. There are some differences in between the two, so I won’t say that I have played in the Chinese scene by playing in Macau.
But comparing Macau to India, I can say that India is 100 times more advanced than us here. Macau players usually play on 5e and there are not many teams out here, players over here mainly play along with players from China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. But I can say that Macau doesn't have a stable scene, we barely get any tournaments, the tournaments we get here are qualifiers for bigger ones, local tournaments don’t exist. We have qualifiers for other international events like WESG, IeSF and some for events taking place in mainland China. But other than that the scene is weak, we don’t have any leagues.
Sometimes even I don’t know the players from my scene, I find someone and get to know later that the person is from Macau. I feel in other scene everyone knows each other and over here despite the scene being really small still, no one knows each other. Hopefully, Macau can have a scene like what India has now, it can really be a good start for us.
There are other young talents such as you, what advice would you like to give them?
What I am going to say might be quite controversial but it is the truth. Your skill is very important but in Asia, something that is more important is who you know or who you associate with. I won’t say this is a CS:GO thing, this is actually how life works.
Anyway, in Asia in the CS:GO scene this is very key, who you know and who you associate with. Try to make friends don't make enemies and always practise hard, work hard, try to do things so people can notice you, don’t sit in the dark. Try to stream, make YouTube videos, make highlights of your gameplays, play in open leagues and talk to other players if you can, all this is very important.
Be out there, not in a cocoon. Streaming is a very good way to get an audience, make a fanbase, to get other people to know you, some teams even scout you via your streams, so doing this is quite important. And just keep on playing and grinding!
Let's talk about something a little lighter. If given an opportunity which Asian team would you like to be a part of?
I would say the team that I would like to join even though I don’t speak their language, even though I am not from their country, I would like to join Lucid Dream because I think right now they have the most potential and their players are all so different. They recently went to Dallas and though they didn’t win anything I loved the way they played. I watch their streams, they are very entertaining, I can speak very basic Thai as well and I would love to to be a part of them.
What do you like doing apart from playing CS?
I like to spend time with my friends, socialising. I would say gaming is a little bit tiring and I think it is very important that you also feel the real-life world a little bit. I like watching TV series, I used to do sports but not anymore, I don’t get the time juggling between CS, friends and TV series.
But I hope I can get back to playing sports, it is a healthy activity and also if you play a team sport you can somewhere bring back the learning to your game.
Your dream holiday destination.
It was always to go to the Maldives and this year I went there for vacations, so that was fulfilled. I don’t know why I was so intrigued by their culture and also I have this thing that I like to prove people wrong, so whenever people speak negatively about a place, it only gets me excited to visit it.
This sounds crazy to some people but I really want to visit Pakistan, it has a very vast culture similar to India but there is something about Pakistan that makes me curious to visit it. I guess it is how media portrays it and I see all these videos with nice people, I wouldn’t say it is propaganda but I want to visit the country and see it for myself.
It will be an experience which I will never forget, not a lot of people go to Pakistan and it is something I want to do one day, maybe when I am a bit older, 18 or 19 maybe.
If given an opportunity to make your own Counter-Strike dream team. So what will it be?
Me; my favourite player - Marzil; there is this player that not a lot of people know but he is mechanically one of the most insane players for me in my opinion in the world - MUTiRiS, he is a Portuguese player who used to play for k1ck and Kinguin; NiKo and S1mple.
I would put Marzil as the ‘IGL’, although he is not the best at the job if he works at it, he has an amazing potential to be a great captain. He is a very smart player and does a lot of mid-round calls that wins us rounds, his game sense is off the roof making him the most potential candidate to be the IGL. Me and S1mple would be the AWPers, fluctuating it between the two, MUTiRiS as the Entry Fragger and NiKo would be the Support, he would fit into the role perfectly. This would be a really solid team.
Any shoutouts you would like to give?
There is this player a lot of people say I am obsessed with, I really want to thank Marzil for helping me out and believing in me, giving me a chance to play with him, he helped me out so much, he let me play with his team for a qualifier. Even my YouTube channel when I used to stream, he was the one who helped me, let me stream with him and that gave me a lot of subscribers. Marzil made a start for me, so a big thank you to him!
It was great talking to this up and coming athlete who wants to not only conquer Asia but also break out of the region alongside an Asian team. Wishing him all the very best for the long road ahead, hope his love and passion for the game remains the same no matter what. Until next time, this is Catslayer sighing off. Peace guys!
Check out the previous editions of 'MewMents with Catslayer' below.