Team Liquid Speed On Org Signing, Ronaky, New RLCS Format And More
After Stage One of Europe's first regional event was completed, there were many shocks and surprises, none of which can compare to the newly signed Team Liquid. The roster consists of legend Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinquemani and Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke, who most recently formed two-thirds of mousesports before being released by the organisation, and the duo wasted no time by picking up Emil “fruity” Moselund.
During the off-season, in their first tournament, they finished as runners-up in The Eurocup 10k. Soon after, legendary organisation Team Liquid jumped in and picked up the squad. With an honourable fifth-sixth in the Summer Grand Prix under their belt, all eyes were on them for the first regional event of RLCS X.
Things didn’t go to plan, ending the swiss stage 2-3. The team is looking to bounce back following their quarter-finals showing in The Grid, and we caught up with Team Liquid’s Speed to find out exactly how they’re doing to do that, alongside discussing his old teammate Ronaky, the new RLCS format, and more.
First off, it’s not just Speed - it’s Team Liquid Speed. It’s been a month since the pickup and the dust has had a chance to settle. What were your first reactions when you signed that contract to join such a big org?
Absolutely over the moon. I think it is very well documented that this is my dream org, and even though the dust has now started to settle it's still when I get a drop through the mail and it’s ‘oh we sent you another eight t-shirts’ I turn around and go ‘ohh’. It kind of hits you every time. Now it’s starting to settle I’m getting more used to it. I’m still over the moon by it.
Alongside joining Liquid, you’re reunited with fruity from your team on The Bricks. What would you say he’s like as a teammate on and off the pitch, and what was it like to bring him back with yourself?
It’s a maturity aspect, he’s very mature, but he’s also very funny. I get on with him really, really well. So that was the main reason why I wanted him back to be quite honest with you. It’s that I wanted to be able to have three players on a team where we can just… be open. If there’s an issue you say it, you get it done with and you have no egos hurt. With fruity, you definitely get that and you also get fun in spades, and he’s a pleasure to work with.
We’re not ones to dwell on the past, but we’re well into the fall split now - and stage one. Obviously you guys dropped in the first stage, but what would you say from your point of view that went wrong and have you managed to find any positives looking back on it now?
Bad day. Bad day. You know there’s not really much more to say other than we finished it, and then over the next two days, I did something like eight hours of replay analysis on that day alone pretty much, like we found the issues it was just a bad day. It was a day of nerves, to be honest with you. To not divulge in too much it was the first time I’ve ever thrown up before a match, like I was really feeling that. Yeah, it was just I think nerves that just made us play so very passive, and just get rolled by these teams that actually didn’t have anything to lose you know. We went up again Fadeaway, Triple Trouble and Monkeys were the three teams we lost to none of which are RLCS in the past. All of which are on the peripheral of top 16 at the time, so they didn’t really have anything to lose whereas we were a sure-fire like ‘yep they’re making top 16, obviously making top 16. So a mixture of us having so much pressure them having none kind of made an awful potion for us to kind of choke that day. It was a bad day there’s no looking over that. We’ve got better since.
You guys picked yourselves back when it came to The Grid, and you lost to the eventual winners, as you kind of touched on - Triple Trouble. Do you think if you beat them then you would’ve gone all the way?
Yep, so the way I’d describe The Grid, when we lost to Giants 3-0 I got so angry and livid because they didn’t play well, we didn’t play well, and we still lost 3-0 that was a bad loss as opposed to Triple Trouble who were actually playing really well and we had chances on them, I remember missing three open nets that I should’ve just scored and in my eyes the only thing that was missing was putting the ball in the open net. Like we played well, that was an okay loss. As far as winning the tournament had we [beat] them I think we would have. We were in good form then, like after the loss to Giants we, in that 15 minutes, everything changed, we became more aggressive and ‘hey let's just actually go and win the match’ as opposed to not losing them. From then on we were pretty good, it was looking good, whether we would’ve beaten Oxygen or not I don’t know but I definitely think we would’ve beaten Endpoint and got to the final.
Like you say, after that Giants' loss you picked yourselves back up and you faced off against not only Barca, but your former teammate Ronaky. What have you made of his success at Barca and FCB in general at the minute?
I’ve always thought he’s underrated. I mean even back on Triple Trouble he was a top two or three striker in Europe. He’s now still the top two or three striker in Europe. It’s always been that he needed his teammates to just give him the ball, and he’ll put it in. With Flakes for example or Bluey or whatever, these more individually minded players, he would not have as much of the limelight. So he’d always get pushed under the sand, but now he’s got an itachi who’s a very team-based, passing oriented player and that’s the same with Deevo he gets to shine really well. I think they’re seriously looking good and one of the top five in Europe right now.
With the state of Liquid and taking some tricky results, what is Kux like in that sort of environment? You guys are working coachless at the minute, would you say he is the sort of coach to pick the team up? Overall, what’s it like playing with a veteran like him?
As far as coaching goes, that’s me. As far as the veteran status of him and the ability to play under pressure - there’s no one I’d rather have. Like I said, Ronaky is a top two or three striker, I think Kux is number one. I give the ball to Kux and the ball gets rifled into the top right and now we’re on the kick off again and it really is that simple. He’s had a couple of off days in the last couple of weeks and that’s fine, it happens to everyone. As far as his veteran status goes, the reason why we picked up fruity is to have three experienced players who don’t choke as regularly under pressure, as all of these other teams will start to because now Triple Trouble everyone’s going to turn around and go ‘hey we expect them to play well and as The Grid champions to play well’ and I think that maybe Calix as an inexperienced player will struggle, whereas I don’t think we will ever have that with us. The ability to play under pressure will always still be there from now on and especially because we’ve got the biggest hurdle out of the way. That first RLCS was going to be the biggest hurdle in terms of pressure. I think we’ve seriously got a lot of potential now.
It was a day of nerves, to be honest with you. To not divulge in too much it was the first time I’ve ever thrown up before a match, like I was really feeling that.
There are a lot more hurdles to come, but with this new season, it’s a big shift in the format. Overall, what do you make of not only the new RLCS format but the introduction of The Grid as well?
I’m really happy - it’s more matches. It means that, yes, we had a bad day, like we had a bad day with RLCS, but then we still turn out in The Grid each week to tell everyone ‘hey, we’re still good’. In the past, especially with regionals week for RLCS, if you were in those regionals spots, like third, fourth, fifth, and you had one bad day - well you’ve not made LAN now. You could have gone 6-2 in League Play but you’ve choked now you’ve had one bad day, whereas with RLCS and the fact The Grid is there as a backup we can have one bad day in RLCS and still be good for The Grid and still put in consistent results in The Field and not have it all ride on one day, which is very important I think in an ecosystem.
Also, on top of The Grid and the new RLCS format is the introduction of The Field. I don’t believe you guys have played any games in it yet, but what do you make of that added twist on to more and more games?
We literally just played our first game last night - that was the first time we’ve played. I really like it. My biggest problem with scrims is that teams don’t take it seriously because there’s absolutely nothing on it. I think that with The Field having a prize pool teams want to [play more games], and with results being public, you can publicly see which teams beat which teams, it forces players to fight for prize pool - but also pride. So now that we’ve actually got into it, we’re going to be playing a lot more of it.
Something that helps a lot of players outside of tournaments is 6Mans. Do you still play 6Mans, what is the impact on rising players as well as keeping top players playing consistently?
As a person, I float in and out of 6Mans, I can play six to ten series a week to no series in a month, I don’t know what causes that, sometimes I go ‘ooh yeah time to do 6Mans’ and then I’ll forget about it again for a month. It’s definitely very useful. Generally, people queue 6Mans when they’re not going to be doing The Field or anything obviously so it means your choice is 6Mans or ranked and every pro player or every high-level player is gonna tell you that they want to play 6Mans. I got out of this bubble scene through 6Mans. I found fruity originally on The Bricks with Shakaron because we were three high-level rank X players in 6Mans. I think the impact of 6Mans on the bubble scene is massive. That’s where you find who you have synergy with. When you get into a 6Mans game and you 3-0 players who you’d normally struggle with, you’ve absolutely battered them because this trio just works. That’s how 6Mans impacts the bubble scene. As for the pros, it’s just better than ranked. It’s just something you can play to keep your mechanics warm and have some fun. I think 6Mans is less important now I’m pro, but was absolutely paramount when I was trying to get there.
Like I said, Ronaky is a top two or three striker, I think Kux is number one. I give the ball to Kux and the ball gets rifled into the top right and now we’re on the kick off again and it really is that simple.
Lastly, with so many games going on and with a lack of scrims because of it, do you think a lot of teams’ play styles are going to get figured out, or at least a lot quicker? Or do you think a lot of teams are going to shift up the focus?
No, I think at the end of the day you’re doing fewer scrims but you’re doing more tournament games as a result so it’s net neutral. I think the only thing that will change is the viewer aspect of finding out teams, is that as viewers you’ll see which teams are more consistent and less consistent because notoriously scrims have been very private. As far as pro players seeing more of each other, I think that will stay the same, maybe increase slightly. Like I say, scrims you notoriously don’t try as hard, or they’ll play for half of it and then try, not because they’ve played the best of five. Genuinely I think it will stay the same, apart from viewers being able to see which team is more consistent.
Thank you so much Speed, and you can catch Liquid playing in The Grid later on this week.
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