As the player break comes to an end, DBLTAP's Jack Cohen spoke with Team Liquid CS:GO player Russel "Twistzz" van Dulken via email. They spoke about his thoughts on recent roster changes, Valorant, the Dust 2 map changes, and the general state of online play.
[The following interview has been edited for clarity.]
DBLTAP: What was it like having nitr0 as a teammate and leader since you joined Team Liquid?
Russel "Twistzz" van Dulken: I think it was a great learning experience—definitely for Elige and I. Nick's calling gave us a lot of freedom and especially the ability to grow as individuals in-game. Leading in-game was very natural to him in the beginning. It was the out of game aspect that he lacked, but I think over time, and with new people to be around, he will continue growing into a better leader.
DBLTAP: What excites you the most about having Moses as your new coach?
RD: The most exciting part for me is he has been in the Counter-Strike scene since 1999. He's played professionally and casted the biggest event for five years. All this guy does is watch CS; he's good with his words and has a leader tone to him. This pickup for us is huge and I think it solves puzzles for our team.
DBLTAP: Do you see yourself, or other teammates, or other teams not taking the online game as serious? Do you place value on the online game, or is LAN the only real proving ground?
RD: At the moment I still think LAN is the only proving ground; the majority of new players struggle on LAN. Online, I never feel nervous or under pressure and, if anything, I feel like the games are underwhelming. Personally, I have to play with 70-80 ping, too, so it can be frustrating.
DBLTAP: Do you see any changes in player motivation or attitude with LAN events feeling less and less likely?
RD: Of course it can be demotivating to realize that there are maybe no LAN events until sometime next year, but regardless we have to play with what we got and try to win as much as possible.
DBLTAP: Has the recent competitiveness in NA excited you? What do you think about how each match could be anyone's game? Or is this just a symptom of online play?
RD I think this truly is a symptom of online play. It's easier to be consistent on LAN than online I think. Every match kinda looks the same besides our rivalry with FURIA.
DBLTAP: Personal opinions on Valorant? What do you think of the game overall, the map design, the rifle play, its state as a competitive esport?
RD: I actually enjoy playing Valorant. I don't really take it seriously and I mainly play it with my girlfriend, but it can be refreshing to play a different shooter with similar shooting mechanics, and I find the abilities of the characters fun to play around with.
DBLTAP: What do you think about the amount of CS:GO players moving to Valorant? Do you think it will have any effect on the state of competitive CS:GO?
RD: This was bound to happen when another FPS came along and since the game is made by Riot, I assume the salaries and tournaments will pay well. Money is usually where people gravitate towards and I think in this case, a lot of FPS players that were bored or didn't find success in their original games will most likely go to Valorant.
DBLTAP: Do you think Astralis will be able to compete at a high-level with their stand-ins, or do you think they will only be a threat with their starting five?
RD: I can see Astralis being a top 5 team still due to the core being very strong, but I don't see them reaching the form they had before.
DBLTAP: Are there any young players you see entering the scene that you think might be the next big name? Any future Twistzz rivals?
RD: I don't really pay attention to most young players, but I feel like Grim is the next best young talent.
DBLTAP: What maps are you and TL feeling confident on right now?
RD: Very hard to say due to our roster changing but I think it will be clear soon what maps we stand out on.
DBLTAP: Do you like the Dust 2 B door changes? How does that affect how you're going to approach the map now?
RD: The door change was highly needed. Retaking B seemed impossible before, but with the skybox changing and the doors being inverted, it really does help the CT's. Personally, I think they should have changed suicide as well to prevent CT's from being picked easily while crossing—make it like the 1.6 one.
DBLTAP: Do you think the community is too quick to call young or unknown players cheaters?
RD: I would like to think zero people are cheating within the pro scene but I guess you can really never know since every game is being bypassed easily by people. CSGO has always had a cheating problem inside the community and other games are starting to see that too now. I hope this really does get fixed and game developers start crunching down it.