Rush B Media has learned from multiple sources that Team Liquid is looking to replace long-time rifler Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken with AWPer and in-game leader Gabriel “Fallen” Toledo. A source close to the team told Rush B Media that while contracts have not yet been signed, Twistzz is aware of the change and FalleN is the prime candidate to replace him.
It comes as a surprise that Liquid would replace HLTV’s ninth best player in 2019. But Twistzz has been struggling throughout 2020, averaging an HLTV 2.0 rating of 1.06 on the year, the second lowest on the team and a career low. The current iteration of the lineup has also failed to consistently maintain a win rate above 60%, a standard familiar to the Liquid organization for years. The addition of FalleN brings knowledge and accomplishments unique to any of the Liquid members, and fills a primary AWP void the team has struggled to fill since removing Nick “nitr0” Cannella.
Rush B Media was made aware that Team Liquid was practicing with FalleN back in October, as the Canadian was taking a mental health break from the game during a downtime period. Additionally, RBM knows that the idea of a trade between Twistzz and Extra Salt AWPer Josh “oSee” Ohm was discussed when oSee was still contracted to Cloud9 during the Colossus building period. The trade was only ever in the infancy of talks and never progressed further beyond that. oSee was later transferred, along with his fellow benched teammates, to the new North American organization Extra Salt in early December.
FalleN’s addition comes after the legendary Brazilian left MiBR in response to the organization’s decision to part ways with Fernando “fer” Alvarenga, Epitacio “TACO” de Melo, and coach Ricardo “dead” Sinigaglia. Despite MiBR’s struggles, FalleN was able to maintain solid individual performances, averaging a 1.09 HLTV 2.0 rating during the year. FalleN brings much more than just stats, as the two-time major winner has a wealth of experience as an in-game leader, potentially freeing up Jake “Stewie2K’ Yip from the role.
Liquid have failed to establish themselves as a top team throughout 2020 as they struggled in North America, finishing fifth in IEM New York 2020 North America and 3rd-4th at IEM Beijing-Haidian 2020 North America before ending the year in Europe. The team has not faired much better in Europe as Liquid failed to qualify for the BLAST Fall Finals and finished in last place at Dreamhack Masters Winter 2020 Europe. However things were beginning to look better for the Americans as they were able to reach the finals, before losing to Astralis, at the IEM Global Challenge 2020. Expectations were high after adding Michael “Grim” Wince, but Liquid still seems to be struggling to regain their 2019 form as they have plummeted to their lowest ever HLTV rank at #17 in the world. The decision to add FalleN comes as Liquid attempt to climb back to the top, something that FalleN is no stranger to.
Rush B Media reached out to a representative from Team Liquid who declined to comment.
Following the change, Team Liquid’s roster will be:
- Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski
- Jake “Stewie2K” Yip
- Keith “NAF” Markovic
- Michael “Grim” Wince
- Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo
- Jason “moses” O’Toole (coach)
- Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken (benched)
Cover Photo Credit: Igor Bezborodov – StarLadder
Statistics for this article were obtained using HLTV‘s statistics database