Next in our Top 20 players of 2010 series is a player who has thanks to his performances during the year in the end earned himself a call to join fnatic. It's Richard "Xizt" Landström who gets the 18th place, the best player from Lions in 2010 and one of the brightest rising stars in the scene.
Player: Richard "Xizt" Landström
Teams: H2k, Lions
Team achievements in 2010:
1st - ASUS Summer 2010, fnatic PLAY BEAT IT finals
2nd - DreamHack Summer 2010, EPS Nordic III
3rd - DreamHack Winter 2010, MSI BEAT IT, DSRack LAN #3
Stats from major LAN tournaments in 2010:
Kills per round: 0.75
Deaths per round: 0.64
Rating: 1.10 (?)
Maps played: 73
MoM: 10 times top rated in a match
Best tounament: Arbalet Cup Dallas
Best map: de_tuscan
Most notable stat: 1.36 rating at de_tuscan (2nd best of all players)
Last year started rather quietly for Richard "Xizt" Landström as he was a member of Begrip at that time and probably didn't expect the rest of the year to develop for him as it did. Landström ended up being the only constant in a team that was part of 2 other organizations, as he played with 11 different teammates throughout his 2010 campaign.
While some other players and teams were already preparing for, and taking part in, the early big tournaments, Landström and his team were only about to get their real chance by signing for H2k at the end of February.
Their first opportunity to prove themselves came in April as they visited one of the world's biggest LAN events, The Gathering in Norway, although without many prestigious names in attendance there. H2k finished 3rd at the event while Landström had a solid performance with a 1.08 rating, doing well especially in their 3rd place decider against Playzone.fi.
Next time we saw him in action was at the Swedish Championship where H2k won their tickets to Paris and ESWC. Defeating the likes of MYM in the semi-final and Playzone.se in the final meant they were assuring themselves to be the 3rd best team in Sweden, while Landström was the team's best player at the event.
After that the first next big tournament came along in May, Arbalet Cup Europe, but H2k had to attend it with a stand-in. They didn't make it past the first group stage but Landström played well in all 3 of their matches.
In the mean time during a period from April to June, H2k were taking part in EPS Nordic II online and even though they finished at a low 8th place, Landström was again the team's best player and was even the 6th best rated overall at the event (1.12 rating)
Lineup changes followed as H2k added 3 new players, but Landström stayed along with his long-time teammate Markus "pronax" Wallsten. DreamHack Summer was to be the first big test for the new lineup and it would prove to be their breakthrough tournament as they finished 2nd behind mTw. Landström also got his big break at this tournament by proving himself against fnatic in the quarter-final as the team provided a big surprise. He didn't shine in the rest of the tournament, but having the best rating (1.29) in 2 maps of a quarter-final against fnatic at a major tournament was enough to now make him a part of the big leagues.
DH Summer was a breakthrough tournament for Xizt and his team
Not even a couple of weeks passed and it was time for another big tournament for H2k as they attended ESWC, although they again had to use a stand-in just like a few months earlier at Arbalet Europe. They were a bit more succesfull this time, dropping out at the second group stage and only due to worse round difference and after some controversy. Landström was his team's best player overall with a very good 1.14 rating.
Shortly after ESWC, one of the most prestigious online tournaments of the year took place – fnatic PLAY BEAT IT finals. H2k overcame the likes of Cheap Times, Frag eXecutors and in the final mTw to win the 1st place, while Landström was the best player of the tournament. He finished with a 1.23 rating and he especially stood out in the quarter-final against Cheap Times. He had what was probably his match of the year against the Danes, posting a 30-19 score in the 1st map and then an astonishing 39-15 in the 3rd map. During the first map on de_train he also made his highlight round of the year, an ace while on a full-eco round.
The next tournament was Arbalet Cup Dallas where Landström was again on top of his form with a 1.14 rating, but more importantly again shining in some important matches. This time it was against SK in the quarter-final where he tipped the scales to his team's favor with 30-20 and 29-21 scores in the 2nd and 3rd map as they won each 16-14. He followed that up later in the 3rd place decider match having a 33-19 score in the first map versus Evil Geniuses in another 16-14 win, but sadly it wasn't enough as they lost the next two maps and finished 4th.
Xizt had some great matches at Arbalet Dallas
WCG Nordic took place a couple of weeks later and Landström had a solid tournament with a 1.06 rating, but was still the 7th best rated player overall as the team finished 4th. He had another good performance against SK in the semi-final of the tournament, with a 34-24 score in his team's overtime loss on the first map.
In mid-August after some turbulence with the H2k organization, Lions jumped in and signed Landström and his team, although leaving out the only teammate he had left from the begging of the year, Wallsten. Their first tournament as part of the Lions organization was ASUS Summer in Kiev where they finished 1st and Landström had his best tournament rating of the year (1.28) without a bad performance in any match and finishing as the 2nd best rated player overall.
A trip to China awaited Lions next for the MSI BEAT IT event and Landström had an average showing, with some ups and downs as his team finished 3rd. World Cyber Games followed at the end of September and Lions' participation in one of the biggest tournaments was short-lived as they were knocked out by Na`Vi in the first round of the playoffs. But Landström still managed to leave his mark in the group stage, having a 33-18 score in his team's crucial win versus Evil Geniuses that enabled them to go through the group of death that also featured the French team FACE2FACE.
At DSRack LAN #3, as his team attended an event with a stand-in again, he was their best rated player with a great 1.20 rating as they finished in 3rd place. His standout performance was probably in the 3rd place decider against mTw where he was rated 1.32 over the two maps. A few days later at KGC #2 they were defeated by fnatic in the Swedish Playoff final, as Landström played average.
During the last few months Lions also took part in online competitions EPS Nordic III and IEM5 European Championship. At IEM5 Landström was the team's 2nd best rated player with a 1.14 rating, with several very good performances, including one versus mousesports (32-19) in the second map which went into overtime. The Nordic league went even better for him and his team as they finished 2nd at the LAN finals and Landström the 7th best rated player of the season (1.18 rating).
At the last major LAN event of the year, DreamHack Winter, Landström was his team's second best rated player (1.10 rating), especially shining in their 3rd place decider against Frag eXecutors helping his team to get another top 3 finish at a major event.
Landström played his last match for Lions at DreamHack Winter
In December, he ended up leaving the team whose he was the only constant throughout the year as he received an offer from fnatic which he couldn't refuse. The transfer to the Australian-based organization in itself speaks enough about his progress, as only 12 months ago he was a rather unknown player internationally and is now a part of one of the best teams in the world.
As far as individual achievements go, even though he didn't win any official awards, his performance in the fnatic PLAY BEAT IT tournament could be considered MVP-worthy. And as far his performance at major LANs is concerned, Landström was more often than not his team's best player and also often among the best players of an event overall, with practically no bad performances (event stats history). In addition to that, he had many great individual performances in important matches against big names like fnatic, SK and mTw.
It also might be interesting to mention his great play on de_tuscan as his 1.36 rating on that map really stands out compared to his overall rating 1.10. Only one player has a higher rating on it than him (Andreas "moddii" Fridh), and even he is better only by a small margin, which makes Landström one of world's best players on the map.
Recommended demos of Xizt in 2010:
If you want to check out some of his matches that were mentioned in this article, you can find links to those demos right here:
|Playzone||tuscan||EPS Nordic II||30-17||HLTV|
|fnatic||train||DH Summer (Quarter-final, map 1)||29-17||HLTV|
|Fx||inferno||ESWC 2010 (Group stage #1)||27-15||HLTV|
|Cheap Times!||train||fnatic PLAY (Quarter-final, map 1)||30-19||POV|
|Cheap Times!||dust2||fnatic PLAY (Quarter-final, map 2)||39-15||POV|
|Hausen||inferno||Arbalet Dallas (Group stage #2)||26-16||POV|
|SK||train||Arbalet Dallas (Quarter-final, map 2)||30-20||POV|
|SK||nuke||Arbalet Dallas (Quarter-final, map 3)||29-21||POV|
|EG||tuscan||Arbalet Dallas (3rd place, map 1)||33-19||POV|
|SK||train||WCG Nordic (Semi-final, map 1)||34-24||HLTV|
|Playzone||tuscan||EPS Nordic III||30-13||HLTV|
|EG||tuscan||WCG 2010 (Group stage)||33-18||HLTV|
|734MCL4N||dust2||DSRack #3 (Group stage, map 1)||28-4||HLTV|
|fnatic||tuscan||DSRack #3 (Semi-final, map 1)||19-9||HLTV|
|mTw||nuke||DSRack #3 (3rd place, map 1)||26-15||HLTV|
|mousesports||inferno||IEM5 European Championship||32-19||HLTV|
|Cheap Times!||tuscan||IEM5 European Championship||28-15||HLTV|
|Fx||inferno||DH Winter (3rd place, map 1)||23-12||HLTV|
What do you think about the performance of Xizt in 2010? Does he deserve a place in the Top 20? What was your biggest impression of him this year? Feel free to leave a comment on this topic and stay tuned to HLTV.org if you want to see what the rest of Top 20 looks like, as we will bring you number 17 tomorrow.