Twistzz: "We have something to prove"
To get some insight into Liquid and how the team is feeling, we talked to Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken after his team finished the first day at ESL One Cologne 2-0 up.
Liquid wasn't able to secure a spot at the upcoming Major in Krakow, as they fell to FlipSid3 in the decider match after overtime. In Cologne, Liquid bounced straight back, picking up wins against Natus Vincere and Immortals.
To hear about how he has been adapting to a new environment, the disappointment at the Major Qualifier and their campaign in Cologne.
I want to start with getting your general feelings on coming into Liquid, how have you been adapting to a different setup, environment, bigger tournaments and all that. How has that been going for the past two months?
I think I've been adapting really well to playing against higher tier opponents. I think I've improved a lot since I've joined Liquid as a teammate and a player, and yeah, I really like everyone on the team, they are like family to me.
Biggest difference, anything that pops to mind compared to what you did before?
Biggest difference... everybody is super motivated to become the best team we can become. And everybody loves each other, (laughs) it's a good team, everybody is on point.
You've been improving steadily as a team as well, and then you had the Major qualifier just last week. Tell me about that, you came very, very close to qualifying for the Major, you especially were one of the players that seemed the most affected with it. So tell me a bit about that, the feeling and the Major qualifier.
So... not qualifying for the Major really hurt me a lot, since I really wanted it, badly. But I understand that I have more time, there will be more Majors in the future. It also hurts because our run wasn't exactly difficult, we just had to beat PENTA, BIG and FlipSid3. We just couldn't do it. They are good teams, respectively, but it's really heartbreaking.
So after that, you are coming to Cologne. How does that put this tournament in perspective? Is it more important for you now, considering you are not going to the Major? What are the goals, expectations?
Our goal, I'm pretty sure, is to get out of groups. And not qualifying for the Major and going here, we have something to prove now, that not qualifying for the Major was a fluke.
You had two matches here, you are already 2-0 up. The first match, it seemed like you were in control against Na`Vi, especially on the CT side of Inferno, can you talk me through that match a bit?
It didn't feel like Na`Vi was adapting, it didn't feel like they were really into the game like they usually are. I know, Na`Vi we saw versus Cloud9, that's real Na`Vi. The Na`Vi that showed up versus us was not the real Na`Vi. So, they weren't mentally in it and it felt easier than it should've been.
Then you had this game against Immortals, it was a totally different story because they were leading in both halves and then you clawed back on both sides, and then the overtime and then the win. Can you tell me about the breaking points on both sides, what were the key elements?
T side, I think jdm and I had two huge clutches back to back that really shook Immortals, I'm pretty sure it really broke them mentally. We ended up closing that half 7-8 after being down 7-2 or something, winning five rounds in a row. That was huge, that got us mentally back into it and everybody was just really into it after that.
The CT side it was kinda like the same story, we started playing more team CS, doing things together like we should've been doing in the first place and we just claw back into the game round by round.
After the 2-0, you have three chances to get one win. Does that take the pressure off, how are you feeling as a team going into the match tomorrow?
I guess some pressure is relieved but I never think that way. The job isn't done until we get out of groups, so I'm going to keep trying my best and hardest no matter what. Pretty sure that goes for the team as well.