Twistzz pondering his next moves back at ELEAGUE
With the New Challengers stage of the Major starting to get going, we have another interview from Michael "Duck" Moriarty, where he had the chance to talk with Liquid's Russell "Twistzz" van Dulken and discuss his team's preparation, changes and personal performances.
I'm going to start with you skipping DreamHack Masters Stockholm. Was that a general team decision to miss the event so you can secure qualification from the New Challengers stage into the New Legends stage of the Major?
Yeah, that was completely a team decision. We had the choice between ZOTAC Cup at the time and DreamHack Masters, and we chose ZOTAC Cup because we wanted kind of a warmup confidence booster event before going to the Major. But after our Cologne result, we decided that we need more time to actually prepare instead of going for an easy trophy or going to a stacked event where at the time we're not doing that well and the result would probably be bad. So it was a team decision to take the time to bootcamp for two weeks, and it was the right decision.
After the disappointment at Cologne, even with a good result at ELEAGUE immediately following, did you and your team just have a complete feeling of "we need to do a bootcamp - we need to focus on the basics, the tactics, the simple stuff"?
Even with the good ELEAGUE result - well we got the good ELEAGUE result because we practiced like a week before then - we had a straight practice week and we practiced really hard. The result was what we were looking for. I mean of course winning is what we really wanted, but at the time we were ok with second place and realized that we had to keep working. Even with just a week of practice, it really showed everybody what practice really does to this team.
With the bootcamp now behind you in Amsterdam, are you and your team confident you can push through in this Major and make it all the way through to the playoffs in Wembley?
Definitely. We played over 70 maps at our bootcamp and we had a over 75% win rate. We were practicing really hard.
Focusing on yourself for a minute - still a fairly young player, still 18, become one of the stars of this Liquid squad. How have you seen your personal performance change over the past year or so, coming up to this point now? Do you see yourself at a peak or do you see yourself climbing?
I'm definitely still climbing. I don't have a set role it seems, I'm just sort of put into these roles, and that's ok, everyone on this team can do every role. But I'm usually supporting or entrying, and I don't expect a good performance from myself always especially at Cologne when we were unprepared and we played opponents that were well prepared. My roles are difficult in those situations and our confidence was pretty low going into Cologne.
My performance fluctuates a lot, obviously last year I was pretty consistent but I feel like different lineups - different players change how other players play so I feel like stanislaw had a positive impact on my performance - just for some reason I feel like he helped me improve. It might have been a mental problem when he left, because I immediately started playing bad - I had two bad events.
Was it just having to get used to the new leader?
I think so, well not like a new leader but a new personality in the team - something new. Before that it really messed with me - it was something I had to get over mentally. But when NAF joined it wasn't like that and I saw myself improve on that. Now I'm getting back to my consistent ways.
How much of an eye have you been keeping on the events immediately following the Major? So ESL One New York and then IEM Chicago.
Our bootcamp was like an overall preparation. Of course after this event if we feel the need to make new things, continue practicing hard - probably a bootcamp then. The way we prepared was an overall "we're bringing our team to the next level." Everything we added and everything we practiced is going to be the the things that we use probably for the rest of the year.
You've had TACO for a few months, with the performances you've had so far are you and the team set in his role or is he similar to you, just fluctuating doing what is needed?
That's just the way it's always been for him. He does have a set role, of course for some of the strats he goes first because he has experience. Like he knows the timing, he has it down, and we put him in that role because that's the most effective for all of us. Everybody can do everything.
I prefer to entry on some strats, whereas on other strats I prefer to support because I'm more comfortable. So we need to put people where they're comfortable and I think TACO is very comfortable - every time I talk to him he seems very happy with the position that we're in and how he's doing individually. He continues to work hard even though we just played CS 11 hours a day and last night in the practice room he played FPL for like six more hours. He's very dedicated.
Liquid play OpTic in the second last game of the day, which has an estimated start time of 2pm EDT.