Twistzz: My Return to ECS

June 22 2017

One year ago this weekend I was playing in ECS with Team Solomid. That weekend we surprised quite a few people with a win over Astralis and a 2-0 over Cloud9 in groups. We later lost to LG (now SK) in the semifinals but we kept map two close before losing 16-14.

That was my first big tournament and it was a good showing. But looking back it's also where we would peak. A couple months after this event we lost Autimatic to Cloud9.

So just two weeks after my first tournament abroad I was back home, watching Liquid make a run through ESL One Cologne.

I knew they had it in them to make a deep run. After their finish at MLG Columbus I expected them to do as good if not better. I generally cheer for all the North American teams but from the beginning I knew Liquid was the team I wanted to play on.

Fast forwarding now a couple months and a couple more tournaments with TSM. I reached out to nitr0 after one of the iBUYPOWER events and asked him to take a look at my demos. He was nice enough to respond and gave me some comforting feedback.

He basically told me that I wasn't making many mistakes and that most of the situations were out of my control. The main problem was that my team was leaving me out or didn't know how to get me involved.

From there nitr0 and I became better friends. I played a bunch of Rank S back in those days and we'd often find ourselves on the same teams. We also started to casually play games outside of CS and just generally became better friends.

A couple months later, nitr0 came to me about a potential opportunity…

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I was actually in Australia when I got the news that Liquid was interested in me. The process took awhile but just three weeks after that day I was on a plane to LA to join the already bootcamping team.

It was a pretty crazy turnaround since I signed the deal in Australia, flew back home to pack, and was gone the next day. Actually, I got back to my small hometown in Canada at 1pm to find the deal was official. Jokasteve then called and said "we can fly you out tomorrow". So with barely any sleep since Australia I was on my way.

I arrived to the bootcamp only nine days before cs_summit. I hadn't met any of them out of game at this point but everything settled very quickly. In fact, we had an online match that night against Optic.

What may have been a throw away online match was actually a huge deal for me and for how I felt with the team. On my past teams we couldn't really compete with Optic or any of the top NA teams. It would really take somebody stepping up big for the games to be even close.

From the very first game on Nuke I could tell this was different. We actually fell really far behind and ended CT side down 5-10. Even still, I didn't doubt that we would win. Everyone just continued to do their job and everything else fell into place.

The rest of the online matches all kind of felt similar. We would just go in with the expectation of winning, play our game, and walk out with a win. Again these were just online games but they felt good.

In terms of the bootcamp itself things went smoothly. Right when I got there Peter knew how he wanted to use me. Nitr0 actually wanted to shuffle some of his positions so I was able to take over those as well as some of Pimp's old spots.

Our performance at cs_summit was decent but could have been better. We were very close to forcing a third game against Gambit and we shouldn't have lost to Optic. The event and its relaxed atmosphere did have its pluses, however, because there wasn't really much pressure. I'm not a nervous player but at Summit with no crowd it really just felt like playing online matches with great ping.

That is until you went to shake hands, which was sweet, because I'm a huge f0rest fanboy.

The story at Dreamhack Austin was much the same. Our performance wasn't bad but with a couple breaks it could have been better. These first LANs with the team, while not amazing, really accelerated our growth as a team because of all the time spent together.

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Then we went to Dallas. I was feeling super confident both in myself and in the team. We had bootcamped for another week in LA prior to the event and we felt ready. Our goal was to get out of groups and we achieved that. Playing in front of the home crowd though was something else.

That was a real highlight for me and something I won't soon forget. The match may not have gone our way but we learned a lot from that event and appreciated everyone who turned up.

And now, almost one year later to the day, I'm packing for ECS once again. This time playing with the team I had always wanted to join. The ECS groups are once again stacked but our goal is to top four.

Then after ECS, instead of heading home, I'll be off to Cologne to try and recapture the magic Liquid left in that building last summer.


Editor: Ryan Prager
Images: Dreamhack / 1UP

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