Twistzz talks FaZe expectations, why he passed on ‘American dream’ reunion with Liquid, and why EG won’t save NA

It's early, but FaZe look good to start 2022.

Photo via PGL

One year ago, Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken left Team Liquid and North America to join the international CS:GO roster playing under FaZe Clan. He made his main event debut in the BLAST Premier Spring group stage. And now, one year later, Twistzz is back alongside some new teammates to compete yet again.

But there was a very small chance that Twistzz wouldn’t return to BLAST Premier Spring alongside FaZe. Twistzz told Dot Esports that he had a “friendly conversation” with players on Team Liquid about potentially returning to his old club during their post-PGL Major rebuild, but confirmed he didn’t talk to anyone on the organizational side and that it wasn’t serious.

“There was a little talk with Liquid when they were in their rebuild stage that they kind of wanted me to come back,” Twistzz said. “It’s tough, it’s super nice to play with your old friends again and be part of this ‘American dream’ about CS:GO [relevance] again, but I love my team right now.”

Twistzz spent many successful years with Liquid before leaving in late 2020, including a red hot American summer in 2019. But the things keeping him with FaZe now are the same things he told Dot Esports about when we spoke in June. He feels his voice and input are more valued and players are “willing to change for the better of the team.”

He had nothing but praise for his FaZe teammates during our recent interview. He said that he’s meshed especially well with both broky and olofmeister, and that particularly alongside broky, he feels like “there’s five people alive” even if it’s just the two of them. Twistzz also has the “utmost respect” for his in-game leader karrigan’s work ethic and dedication and has high hopes that karrigan’s existing bond with new addition ropz will be pivotal to the Estonian star fitting in with the team.

But even after a disappointing 2021 campaign overall, Twistzz and FaZe are still setting the bar high for 2022. Twistzz believes they’re a team that “should be contending for titles consistently,” but they’ve set a safe goal of reaching the semifinals of their first few events. They’re already off to a good start. Just after talking to Dot Esports, FaZe finished atop their group with wins against Liquid and a revenge victory over Vitality after losing in overtime earlier. Now, they’re just one best-of-three away from the BLAST Spring Finals.

Those wins against Liquid didn’t come easy, though. FaZe needed overtime to win both games on Inferno. Even before the two teams played, Twistzz already had respect for the new Liquid roster.

“I think their roster right now is one of the better ones skill-wise,” Twistzz said. “I think they have all the pieces to be a great team again. I still have the utmost respect for Nitr0 as an in-game leader. He always tries to get the most out of all his pieces.”

For this next era of NA CS, Twistzz believes that Liquid “will hold the throne early on” but isn’t counting out a potential upswing from the new Complexity roster. When asked about Evil Geniuses, Twistzz said they have the “least” potential to be the saviors of NA CS.

“I think it’s a big gamble for EG to hope for three players to bring their form back. Four if you put CeRq into the mix,” Twistzz said. “I think all the players have been struggling; could be lack of motivation, could be how volatile the roster was. I think it’s a tall order to create a system where all five players can get confidence back and gain form again.”

FaZe and EG didn’t get to meet in their BLAST Premier Spring group, but there’s a chance they’ll face off with a finals spot on the line if EG can get past both BIG and Astralis. Otherwise, the two teams will have to wait until the ESL Pro League, if they even get sorted into the same group then.

Update Jan. 31 4:15pm CT: Twistzz provided a statement to Dot Esports after this article was published, relaying that there were no “professional talks” between him and Liquid. “I wanted to make it clear that no professional talks ever happened between me and the org and it was strictly friendly conservation that involved some serious and not so serious jokes about me returning with nitr0.” This article has been updated accordingly.