Twistzz: "Our whole thing was to have Vertigo ready for the Major"

The Canadian rifler gave some key insight into his team's early exit from IEM Rio, and what they have done to remedy their form.

FaZe's IEM Rio Major campaign began with disappointment, the squad squandering a massive lead against Cloud9, and ended in embarrassment with a 6-16 spanking by Vitality and then a 1-2 series loss against massive underdogs Bad News Eagles. The second half of the year has not been kind to FaZe in general, a far cry from their title-winning exploits earlier in the year.

If the team that won three of the big four events this year wants to end on a high, they need to start getting things right at BLAST Premier Fall Final. With many of the other teams in attendance also lacking form and low on confidence, the event seems like the perfect chance for FaZe to play their way into shape.

Twistzz says FaZe have tried not to overthink their early Major exit

Russel "⁠Twistzz⁠" Van Dulken took some time with HLTV ahead of FaZe's upcoming campaign in Copenhagen to give his thoughts on his team's woeful Major showing, how they have sought to remedy their fortunes for the remainder of the year, and what he thinks about the current lack of a clear No. 1 team.

It was a disappointing performance from FaZe at the Major. What happened?

The Major can probably be summed up in a way where maybe we had unlucky draws, we played two teams who were in the top five at the time, so kinda weird to enter the Major that way. Nonetheless we choked a 14-7 lead against Cloud9 which needless to say if we won that, it's a completely different result. We had a pretty lacklustre game against Vitality, as a team we couldn’t get anything going, and then completely dropped the ball against BNE. Props to them, they shot very hard on a day where we didn’t really feel we could get anything going. That pretty much summarises our experience at the Major.

Would you like to see a change to the approach to seeding then? I think NAVI had a similar experience, playing top teams in the Legends Stage.

I think it's weird because upsets usually happen at Majors and they happen because of the Bo1 system, there's lots of opportunities for them to happen. The problem is when one of them happens it really ruins the seeding for the team that lost, and the other teams that have to play that team now.

It has a knock-on effect.

Exactly, a completely domino spiral. I think the reason they can't change it is because it would make the Major run too long, because I think Bo1 should be removed entirely, maybe only the first match should be Bo1 and move everything else to Bo3. I think it would be different if the seeding was still that way but we had at least played Bo3 against the other good teams, because at least if you lose a Bo3, you made mistakes. Losing a Bo1 is rough because you could have had two more maps to play.

FaZe were visibly distraught after their loss against Bad News Eagles

Something that has been a strength for you guys, but seemed to let you down particularly against Bad News Eagles, was that clutch factor. Why do you think that is missing from your game at the moment?

Like I said, I think the BNE game was mostly up to the duels in very key moments, and if you don't win the duels then you're not going to win the Counter-Strike game (smiles). That's pretty much how it goes. It's tough to say because individuals did step up in their own moments on each map, but it just wasn't enough as a team effort to really pull through. Obviously we've tried really hard to not overthink the situation, because I think BNE just played a very strong game against us and that doesn't really reflect on how our practice was going.

We had a very solid boot camp, teams were even saying so. We had extremely strong scrims against pretty much every team, I would say our win percentage in scrims was probably like 80% over nine days of five maps each day, so it was very good for us. All we can really do now is use that energy that we put into the bootcamp and use it not only for Rio but the other events we have left.

A lot was said about the veto against Bad News Eagles, there seemed to be a consensus that leaving Vertigo up was not the right idea. What was the thought process within the team?

Of course we played Vertigo a lot in practice at the bootcamp, it was kind of our whole thing, to have Vertigo ready for the Major. We hadn't been feeling good on Ancient, we couldn't really figure out the map in time before the Major and we thought that the way people like to play fit Vertigo better. It didn't really matter what team we played, I mean Ancient was Bad News Eagle's best map, and we didn't want to go into the Bo3 thinking Ancient was gonna be tough and there's a chance we start 0-1 anyway. We just thought Vertigo was more 50/50, they didn't have any information on us, and it's a map where you get lots of duels so we were relying on that a bit.

Obviously it's a team decision you know, Finn asked everyone and personally I'm a player that feels very good on Vertigo and it's a map I like, so of course I said yes. We decide, we prep, but unfortunately it wasn't enough that day.

If I could speak more generally, is it hard to get yourself up for tournaments considering the success you had at the start of the year, the incredible highs? Is it tough to get motivated for games where the stakes aren't so high?

I don't think so. The RMR games for us were very intense, lots of OTs, the energy that was put into those games proved to me that everyone still has that winning mentality and they're still hungry to win, it doesn't matter the opposition we play or the stakes. We tried our heart out, I feel like people invested their energy into the matches we played at Rio.

We had an opportunity to reflect as a team, practice for the past week, change some things and approach the game in a better way for everyone, kinda see eye-to-eye again. Even if you did before, it's always good to retouch on it and see if people still think the same way. Once again our practice was pretty good going into this event, so it's just about applying that skill to the matches.

Do you think that is what was needed, a bit of a refresh of your game and approach?

Yeah of course, that's exactly what we did after Lisbon as well to be ready in time for Cologne, because it’s a very long event so we have to have a very thorough playbook going into it. Obviously it worked there, the problem is we didn't play so many games at Rio so not everything we did practice or wanted to use was used, we didn't really get to venture into our entire map pool. It's just unfortunate really how Rio went and we are looking to have a good result here now.

Do you think there's any element of a packed schedule punishing you? You play basically every top tournament, is there a need to focus on peaking at the right time?

I think that actually is a discussion, but it's a lot smaller than maybe people on the outside think. You don't have a big talk at the beginning of the year about events you want to be super prepared for, it’s only really the Major that you think of it that way. Also many teams boot camp at the beginning of the year because Katowice is usually at the beginning of the year, and you want to start off strong, it's a big event, you don't want to flop at it. Same goes for Cologne.

Usually the most stacked tournaments where you want to have a good result, not only because it brings confidence up but it also impacts the rankings heavily, especially when events are ESL and it affects both rankings. Everything's important, we won Pro League which qualified us for the BLAST Final, so everything kind of has impact.

That's why it's a lot less friendly to take a break for a tournament or skip an event because of how heavily it does impact the rankings. Especially I feel bad for the teams that can't attend one of the last two events, look at C9, they are top-three and they might end the year outside of the top five.

You mentioned that you have worked on a few things, changed a few things, can you give me any insight as to what you have done ahead of this event?

Like I said I think it was just about building confidence up in a teamplay style, just like you pointed out before the clutch factor, maybe that wasn't happening as much because people weren't taking the duels they would usually take. CS is that game where confidence is everything, and if you hesitate for even one second to take a duel then it's no longer in your favour.

Just trying to find that groove again, that confidence where you can make a mistake, you can take a high risk duel, and if you lose it you know that your teammates are going to have a chance in the round, you don't have to value your life so heavily where you are too scared to do anything. It's something we are trying to get back into ourselves.

Twistzz is confident in the work the team have done to prepare for BLAST

I guess it's easy when you are winning everything, everyone is hella confident?

Exactly, you don't even think twice about doing something, you just go for it.

What are the goals for these final two tournaments? Have you sat down as a team and said you want to win these, are deep runs enough?

I think our main goal is to win one of these last two events of the year, even if we make this final and don't win but win Abu Dhabi, personally I think the result is fine. Nonetheless, if we don't win either one of these events it is disappointing. We had a very strong year, I know people might congratulate us on that for the first half, but honestly it doesn't feel so great when you end the year on such a low.

You'd almost rather do it the other way round, right? Start weak and finish strong.

Yeah exactly.

I've been asking people what they think about the lack of a clear top team right now, and it seems very appropriate to ask you as you were the last team to occupy that throne. What are your thoughts?

First of all the scene is very competitive now, I even felt that way back in Antwerp where Spirit was an unknown entity and had a really big result. That game we played against them in the semi-final was the first game with a crowd to be honest and it was extremely tough. I think there have always been competitive teams, tier-two or tier-three teams that can push tier-one teams, and you don't really get to see them up until the RMR and the Major when there's way more spots and opportunities, that's where you get to see them shine.

In CS everyone knows how to aim, it's just about what players take the better initiative, who has the better ideas, what players can really read the game, and if you're playing purely on duels against some of these tier-two teams it's gonna to be a toss-up. Everyone can shoot hard, and CS is that game where if it's your day, it's your day, so you don't want to gamble that. You want to feel as prepared as possible for every team.

I hate seeing comments where people say CS is boring now that there is no clear favourite, but this is what makes the game great, it's super important for the scene to see new players coming in and doing something great. Obviously it's great for the future of the game, for the growth, a great opportunity for the orgs to see there are more players. At the end of the day it's a sport, but you also want the organisations to have something to look forward to.

Canada Russel 'Twistzz' Van Dulken
Russel 'Twistzz' Van Dulken
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
1431
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.62
#1
 | 
Brazil MIBR_IS_BAD
0-3
2022-11-22 21:32
17 replies
#2
 | 
Brazil flytw4tp
lul what a dumb move i mean you can't expect to play well in a map that you're not used to. Not at the damn major, FaZe should just focus to get better on their usual maps and keep vertigo as perma
2022-11-22 21:33
13 replies
#19
 | 
United States Dug
sounds like they wanted to move ancient to their perma. They practiced well on vertigo and the match was a bo3 against a lower tier team. Good time to practice a new map in an official with low stakes since it was the first map and not the last.
2022-11-22 21:55
9 replies
#51
 | 
Argentina Saazu
Low stakes? Lol it was literally the highest stakes possible. They had no margin for error, and payed the price for it.
2022-11-23 02:05
5 replies
#65
 | 
United States Dug
It's relatively low risk because it was the first map in a bo3 against a team a tier below them. The situation gives them good experience playing the map under pressure and even if they lose, they should still win the series because they're the better team with the better map pool. They didn't lose because they allowed BNE to pick vertigo. They're also not confident on ancient, which was BNE's best map. It's not like ancient was a for sure win for them.
2022-11-23 06:37
4 replies
#81
 | 
Argentina Saazu
Again, I cant see how it is low risk. I understand what you said, but cant really agree with it. They were 0-2, again, with no margin for error. I dont think that was the place to try out new things... high risk low reward. What is the return? Winning a "silly" game and going 1-2. The risk? Losing the major 0-3.
2022-11-25 01:33
3 replies
#82
 | 
United States Dug
Their ancient was really bad prior to the major and they weren't feeling confident on it. Ancient is BNE's best map. If there's any map BNE is going to win, it's going to be Ancient. It's not like it was a Bo1. It was the first map of a Bo3 against a weaker team. They practiced vertigo in preparation to use it as a surprise pick. If they're going to test out if the map is going to be viable for them, using it in a Bo3 against a weaker team who isn't good at vertigo seems like a good idea. It is low risk because even if they lose the map, they should still win the series 2-1. The return is finding out if they can play the map against better teams. The risk is losing the map but still winning the series 2-1 since BNE is a team they should be beating 2-0.
2022-11-25 08:37
2 replies
#86
 | 
Argentina Saazu
Again, I understand what you and faze were trying to do. But being 0-2 is no place to be experimenting new things... you have everything to lose and not much to win. Surprise pick? That curveball should be thrown against "real" opponents with high reward stuation, like astrlis' pick of vertigo against liquid back in 2019. Now everybody knows vertigo is a possibility and will be prepared. They need to win 2 more games to even reach playoffs. Plus it would have been great if they had actually prepared the map lol so many missed smokes in that game. Anyway, we will never agree. So nice to talk and debate with you mate.
2022-11-26 16:29
1 reply
#87
 | 
United States Dug
Elimination games is where you bring out what you were working on. What's the point if you lose without doing everything you prepped. It makes no sense to fault them for playing vertigo. They were off the entire tournament. I don't think they even won a single important clutch in those 3 maps vs BNE.
2022-11-26 20:14
I'd usually agree, but BNE had proven that they were a strong team on Vertigo, so it was a bit risky. Imo they should've tried it as a surprise pick against a team who will float it but not regularly pick it. Maybe like OG, Fnatic, or Mouz. Otherwise, I think its a pretty smart move. I think Ancient has higher upset potential than Vertigo all else equal, so it makes sense that they'd want to be more comfortable on it
2022-11-23 02:34
2 replies
#66
 | 
United States Dug
What are you talking about? Look at BNE's vertigo stats. They have a 33% win rate on it. That's another reason why Faze was comfortable playing vertigo against BNE. It sounds like Vertigo was definitely going to be their trump card, sorta like what astralis did to liquid in berlin. Unfortunately, something was off with the entire team the whole major. They didn't seem like they were all on the same page.
2022-11-23 06:41
Pretty smart move to go 0-3 lmao
2022-11-23 08:25
they didn't lose because of the veto, the lost because they sucked. people are so dumb to play so heavily on the veto.
2022-11-22 23:23
2 replies
#48
 | 
United States DarkFX
Its time to Fazeup!!
2022-11-23 01:55
1 reply
true
2022-11-23 03:55
Haha
2022-11-22 21:33
Lmao
2022-11-23 05:48
1-7
2022-11-23 06:25
why reveal it now
2022-11-22 21:33
1 reply
#68
s1mple | 
Congo, Democratic Republic of zne_
jinx before blast
2022-11-23 07:49
FAZE WILL BE BACK TOP1 SOON!
2022-11-22 21:33
5 replies
and will let vertigo get picked at most important games of the tournaments xD
2022-11-23 00:09
3 replies
#49
 | 
United States DarkFX
Maps do not matter, you either win your duals or you lose.
2022-11-23 01:55
2 replies
maps definetly matter. BNE got absolutly destroyed on ancient in the major no reason for faze to pick it.
2022-11-23 02:06
Correct
2022-11-23 06:21
+1
2022-11-23 05:44
ezaF dont overthink! u lost only cuz of bo1
2022-11-22 21:34
1 reply
#69
s1mple | 
Congo, Democratic Republic of zne_
+1 bne match was bo1 of 3
2022-11-23 07:50
They wanted so bad to pull an Astralis Starladder Berlin so hard lmao
2022-11-22 21:34
#8
 | 
United Kingdom _xC4ctus
FAZE ERA LUL
2022-11-22 21:34
their only good map is nuke, how are they so bad at other maps??
2022-11-22 21:34
twistzz played well in that last match, if it wasnt for him the score wouldnt have been close on vertigo! But Faze had some nice set executes, I think they should pick vertigo in BLAST
2022-11-22 21:34
2 replies
#50
 | 
United States DarkFX
I agree with you 100%. I also think they should start picking T side to start. I actually think alot of teams should start picking T side to start. You cannot shy away from weakness, you absolutely must face it head on.
2022-11-23 01:58
1 reply
the c9 on inferno strat
2022-11-23 02:09
Great quote from Arley "⁠Rak1M⁠" Muñoz!
2022-11-22 21:35
#12
 | 
Finland vegoo_
who tf is Arley "⁠Rak1M⁠" Muñoz
2022-11-22 21:39
He's a fucking genius!))))) It just dawned on him!)))
2022-11-22 21:39
lol whocars FaZe is dogsheet
2022-11-22 21:40
Unloko
2022-11-22 21:43
The only FaZe player who appears in hard matches
2022-11-22 21:43
2 replies
feels like the only faze player who still wants to win, broky gamble, ropz 0 emotion, ropz family, karrigan watching demos maybe
2022-11-22 21:52
1 reply
broky gambling addiction confirmed? :O
2022-11-22 22:06
I would really like to respect Twistzz. but with that hair, I just can't.
2022-11-22 21:45
9 replies
+1
2022-11-22 21:57
+1
2022-11-22 22:02
+1
2022-11-22 22:18
atleast its not pink now
2022-11-22 22:21
+1
2022-11-22 22:31
#31
 | 
Europe Vallon5(1)
+1
2022-11-22 22:47
reported
2022-11-22 23:24
#83
 | 
Denmark RainsChild
makes sense that all the +1s are from 3rd world countries
2022-11-25 09:40
1 reply
that's anti-semitic
2022-12-07 00:54
you had vertigo ready but went 0-3 ...
2022-11-22 22:02
lol his bo1 excuse when they didn't win the bo3 either
2022-11-22 22:09
1 reply
#84
 | 
Denmark RainsChild
I was gonna comment on your reading comprehension. Then I saw your flag. Makes sense
2022-11-25 09:41
#27
 | 
Norway Snaids
liquid flashbacks
2022-11-22 22:28
> I think it's weird because upsets usually happen at Majors and they happen because of the Bo1 system, brooo, this BO1 upset against BNE.......
2022-11-22 22:41
2 replies
+1 XD
2022-11-23 07:52
Well we did the math and: BO1 + BO1 + BO1 = BO3
2022-11-23 09:36
#30
 | 
Europe Vallon5(1)
WAS LOL
2022-11-22 22:46
All according to the plan
2022-11-22 22:53
GL at blast, i hope they bounce back and hit a new peak next year!
2022-11-22 22:55
dont worry my little vegan handsome boy <333
2022-11-22 23:07
#35
 | 
North America barosielle
great interview!
2022-11-22 23:19
twistzz is such a chad <3
2022-11-22 23:24
blaming bo1s for going 0-3 kekw
2022-11-22 23:25
6 replies
I mean, it's true that losing your opening bo1 puts you in a bad spot going forwards. You already get worse seeding especially if you lose an upset match in a bo1. If they win their first bo1 they don't play vitality (who were seeded low because they lost 2 bo1s in the round before). So in my opinion it's a very valid point. There's a huge amount of emphasis on the bo1s
2022-11-23 00:13
4 replies
nah they choked the 15:10 and ended up eliminated against BNE
2022-11-23 07:52
1 reply
That doesn't invalidate any of my points
2022-11-23 09:24
#76
 | 
Ukraine ShimonSS
Well their first bo1 lose is on them, 13-4 against c9, if you cant close such map, why do you think that you can win a bo3 against them? And their game against vitality, they met each other cause they were both suck at major, and both sides were eliminated in legends stage, which include bo3 elimination games. So this point isnt valid, but what twiszz can say, that broky is gambling before important games instead of having rest, or that ropz doesnt care at all, because major is just a nice bonus?
2022-11-23 09:37
1 reply
I agree that they only have themselves to blame. But vitality won all their bo3s in the challenger stage, but lost their bo1s. So were they really doing that badly at the major? It depends on how much weight you put on the bo1s. Yes, they should have closed the map against cloud9, but you're missing my point. The point is that losing that single game impacts your next games massively and that was the point he was making. He clearly admits they should have won that game
2022-11-23 09:43
+1
2022-11-23 00:52
prepping map on a major GIGACHAD
2022-11-22 23:32
3 replies
the twist factor is they were prepping map for paris major not the rio, as always 200 iq igl karrygun :D
2022-11-23 00:10
2 replies
saving strats for major during the major
2022-11-23 02:10
1 reply
that's what 200 iq is for xD
2022-11-23 04:31
+1 about Cloud9 how bad teams like g2 are playing blast and not c9
2022-11-23 00:17
Thats good because everyone is going to permaban anubis in next tournament.
2022-11-23 01:39
Ok
2022-11-23 01:40
#56
 | 
Europe Khanan
I think he has a lot of excuses but good luck to them.
2022-11-23 02:48
5 maps every day for 9 days was their bootcamp? and he felt they were prepared? what the fuck?
2022-11-23 05:42
good interview from top 1 2023 player
2022-11-23 05:44
2 replies
My guy probably had two tabs opened at the same time with twistzz and s1mple interviews and posted comment on wrong one
2022-11-23 07:51
1 reply
probably meant top 10
2022-11-23 12:13
Whoever is interviewing the players kinda sucks at their job. Ask some better questions. Always the same shit.
2022-11-23 07:36
1 reply
#85
 | 
Denmark RainsChild
it's striker. He's horrible at just about everything. Maybe good at showing gums
2022-11-25 09:45
#78
maga | 
Denmark sla1ve
xdd
2022-11-23 10:17
Straight facts from Van Dulken. Remove bo1s or reduce their amount, domino effect it creates ruins the experience. It's like Bne won bo3 over Faze that felt impactful, Grayhound won over C9 on Dust 2 you feel like you were robbed of a fair result
2022-11-23 16:52
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