Xizt: "I knew we could go all the way"
Continuing with our IEM5 European Championship Finals post event coverage, we caught up with Richard "Xizt" Landström from fnatic.
Richard "Xizt" Landström stepped up to the plate at his first event in the fnatic jersey and we all know the outcome. The former Lions member played a big role in winning against mTw, a match fnatic came from behind to win it.
Landström has taken the time to answer some questions about his early Counter-Strike days, what it's like to play for fnatic, his recent success at the IEM5 European Championship Finals and a few lighter questions relating to his time bootcamping with the team.
Could you start off with you letting us know how you got into Counter-Strike?
I think it was my two older brothers and their friends who first introduced me to CS. They often had small LAN´s around the neighbourhood playing CS, BroodWar and other old games, sometimes I would join in and play some too.
Did you play any sports as a kid? When did Counter-Strike start to take over?
Not really, went to some soccer practices when I was younger but I wasn´t that good haha.
What was your first event you can remember ? Did you win?
Hm, I attended alot of smaller LAN´s in my hometown, maybe 6 years ago or something, I was like 12-13 years old then. But my first "big" event I think was Dreamhack Skellefteå 2008, we shared group with fnatic, Blank and some random team. We managed to get a tie versus Blank and fnatic totally crushed us. We went out 3rd in the group, I think we shared the same points as Blank and fnatic except they had better round difference.
You have quite a unique alias, can you explain how it came about?
Yeah it´s a kinda funny story behind it. My brothers friend, had the nick "xiZ"... so I got the great idea from him, and put a simple "t" on the end.. great imagination huh? :)
How did you parents first react to you playing heaps of Counterstrike early on?
Of course like most parents they were against it in the beginning, they thought I played too much etc etc, cant say I didn´t tho!
Has their attitude changed now that you are making a living from CS?
Yes, lately, I guess they approve of it and they like what I do, they are excited for me and they are getting more and more in to the scene to figure out what I am doing.
So you are 19 years old, what do you do with yourself if you are not playing CS or traveling?
I just graduated school like 7 months ago so I have just been taking it easy, no other studies or work. When I am not playing CS I hang out with my friends, partying and stuff like that!
Towards the very end of last year, you made probably your biggest career move and joined the Swedish powerhouse fnatic. Patrik (cArn) quoted that you guys were more motivated with CS than ever and were going to play a lot leading into European Championship Finals. Can you explain basically how you did spend your time when you were practicing?
Hum, when we started practicing for IEM, we had like... 3 weeks maybe. The 2 first weeks started out with practice 5 days a week (sunday-thursday), we usually began around 17.00 and played until midnight.
Then about 1 week before, we bootcamped at dsn´s apartment, we played ALOT of cs. We woke up around 13-14:00, started playing some CSDM and things like that, then we began praccing against other teams maybe around 16.00 until 01-02:00.
I think we are going to have the same schedule now for IEM World C'ship.
How does the training schedule differ from your time in Lions?
I don´t think it differs that much, except in fnatic we had the option to bootcamp, which we gained ALOT from. I think we played more together now in fnatic then we did in Lions before an event, but I guess thats because we were a new team and we really needed to play together.
Speaking of Lions, do you still maintain good friendships with your ex-Lions teammates?
Yes I do, talked with alot of them at IEM and there´s no hard feelings or something like that. They gained a great player in Gux so I think they are happy with the trade anyway.
How does it feel to win a major international tournament in Counter-Strike?
Feels great! It´s my first major title to win. I had only won ASUS Summer outside of Sweden before but I don´t think that counts as a major title.
I don´t think I have realised what we managed to do yet.
Did you think you would win one so early in your time with fnatic?
To be honest, no I didn´t think we would win it all, I was hoping for a top3 placing. It was pretty much up and down when we practiced, one day you could play good and the other day we would lose everything in big numbers. But practice differs so much and there´s a whole other gamestyle when you are on the big stage, you don´t do the same mistakes as you did on practice. After the first match vs Na´Vi in the groupstage I knew we could go all the way, we really needed a jump start like that to get going.
You recently came in at #18 in our recent poll, do you think that position reflects your year?
Yes I thought it was very cool, but I don't think that much about stats since there is so much more to the game. I didn´t think I would end up in the top #20 when you guys released it, but it was fun to get recognized and I am really happy with #18 place.
Where do you think you will poll in 2011? Who will be #1 in 2011?
Haha kind of early to say! Alot of players at IEM that proved they want to be in the fight for #1 this year. I guess anyone from the topteams could end up with it.
How does your personal playstyle differ now in fnatic compared to Lions?
Not that much, I guess the same. cArn and threat aint that different in calling strats, except that cArn maybe improvises more then threat, but tactic-wise its almost the same.
Who's you biggest rivalry with? SK because of the player trades, Lions because it's your old team? Na´Vi because they were seen as the "fnatic killers" in 2010?
I think the match versus SK is gonna be really intense because of all the player trades etc. It´s gonna be really fun playing against them at CeBIT, so I have to go with SK on this one!
There must be some cultural differences from Lions to fnatic. How do the two organizations differ?
Yeah there is a big difference moving to fnatic, for starters the organisation is so much more professional. When I first joined there were alot of people contacting me from the fnatic staff and I felt really welcomed in to the team. Lions is also a good organisation with good people behind it but you can't really compare it to fnatic. I had a blast in Lions, we had much fun outside the game and also ingame. It's not that much different in fnatic, we are having loads of fun while playing and also outside of the game. I guess the bigger difference ingame with fnatic is the amount of experience dsn and cArn got, they have been doing this on a toplevel for 5 years now so it feels great having them besides you, we are learning alot.
Speaking of your time bootcamping at dsn's house, how would you describe each of your team-mates in one word:
Who's the funniest?
I guess pita is the team's clown! Delpan probably has the worst humor.
Who's the cleanest?
Not dsn, you should have seen his apartment....... Nah just joking, maybe cArn?
Who's the most organised?
Who's the best cook?
I don´t know really, haven´t had to experience that yet, (thank god). But from what I´ve heard cArn makes pretty good taco:D
Who sleeps the longest?
Which international team do you have the most fun with outside of CS?
Haven´t attended that many international events, but the guys from Frag eXecutors are great guys, and Na´Vi of course.
If everyone spoke the same language world-wide, who would you most want to play a CS match with?
Who's the best new talent in Sweden right now?
Hard to say, there are alot of good "semi-elites" in Sweden that one day probably will end up in SK/fnatic/Lions.
Any last words?
I would like to thank our sponsors who make everything possible: MSi, Steelseries, SLAPPA, Raidcall, ugame.net and Bigfoot Networks.
Don't forget to visit our site fnatic.com.
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