Hiko and GBJames joining our ranks

September 03 2015
Team Liquid is delighted to welcome two new faces to our Counter-Strike: Global Offensive division. As has been known to the public for a while, Hiko has been our fifth man on the team in place of flowsicK. We have now finally made the decision to add Hiko to Team Liquid permanently, which in turn means that flowsicK will no longer be part of the team. Everyone on Team Liquid has nothing but respect and gratitude for Kyle and we have thoroughly enjoyed the time with him. We wish you the best of luck wherever your road leads from here.

In addition to Hiko, we have been working with a new coach, GBJame^s, and he too is now officially joining the ranks of Team Liquid. James has spent the past month developing a promising relationship with our players and management, and we're thrilled to announce him as our CS:GO team's new head coach and manager.

Spencer "Hiko" Martin

Today I am excited to announce a new chapter in my CS:GO Career. I am now a permanent player on Team Liquid.

I want to first talk about my time in Nihilum. I knew it was a risky move and I wanted to get my foot back into the competitive scene. When I first joined them, I was contacted by Semphis who was very confident that the team had huge potential and that we could possibly be a top team in the USA. Immediately it seemed apparent there were many problems with the team that existed in their core before Semphis and I even joined. We tried to make things work by making everyone feel comfortable and having their main spots but our roles were really messed up and we had two conflicting styles of calling which made us very inconsistent. Nihilum dropped us two weeks before the ESL Cologne qualifiers and the timing couldn’t have been worse because it killed our motivation heading into the event knowing we had no organizational support afterwards.

After failing to qualify for ESL Cologne I felt really bad and I think it sparked the passion that I had throughout most of my career. Looking around at my options, it seemed obvious that Liquid was my first choice but I wasn’t sure they were going to make a roster change after the qualifier. Everyone assumed there would be a big roster shuffle but nobody really knew what teams were going to change players. Fortunately for me, an old teammate and longtime friend of mine, James, ended up landing a coaching role with Liquid. He called me on the phone and asked what my plans were, and if there happened to be a spot on Liquid would I take it. The answer was immediately yes, and since I wasn’t contracted to Nihilum anymore there were no problems to just make the switch.

I’ve been standing in with the Liquid guys for about 2-3 weeks now and I’m happy to be able to call these guys my teammates. In this process however, people have branded me as a greedy person and I would like to explain a little as to why there were delays in this happening. Firstly, I assure you I am not making “2.5x or more” than the other players on my team. Secondly, I have personal deals and sponsorships that need to be honored, so it was a very slow back and forth process to figure out how to handle everything. I also want to address the idea that I kill teams or cause unnecessary drama in my teams; I have always and will always value long lasting rosters over team hopping.

I know I have previously said big organizations are a bad thing for players and they usually don’t treat players well, but I have worked with both owners of Liquid and I believe I will be much happier here than I was in previous teams. There’s a certain level of transparency I believe an organization needs to have, and I think Liquid has gone above and beyond what I’ve experienced in the past. It seems to me that Liquid treats their players very fair, and I respect them a lot for doing so. My heart and passion is still with the game and there’s only one thing I want moving forward: A Championship Title. I am excited to see what we are able to achieve with having such a solid organization behind us and I cannot wait to prove all of the haters wrong.

Thank you for all of your continued support, I cannot wait to see what we can achieve under the Liquid brand!

James "GBJame^s" O'Connor

It’s been a whirlwind re-entering the CS:GO community. I left three years ago with an early lead on the game when we were the best team in NA (Dazed, Moe, Pinekone, Hiko, and myself). I replaced myself with Semphis and Moe with Sgares. That core went on to do great things. Oddly enough, my wife is the reason I have come back to CS. She met my close friends and former teammates LuckeyTed and Pinekone at my wedding and kept learning about how big gaming had become and demanded I re-enter the scene in some way. I feel blessed to have such support from my wife and equally lucky that within 2 weeks of coming back I was recruited by Liquid. I have a lot to learn about the game but the fundamentals haven’t changed.

I’ve played over 10 years of invite-level competitive play, created and lead 9 teams to invite, coached over 200 teams in over 24 different countries through lessons. I’ve taken lessons from most of the former top minds in CS to collect their unique perspectives. I’ve been the IGL for every team I’ve ever been a part of. My goal is to implement the fundamentals I’ve learned over my career to raise the bar for American CS through Liquid’s team play. It is my hope that they will set an example; with the community's support, I think we will do just that.

Liquid's skill is unquestionable, but often players with such skill tend less to depend on their teammates or have rarely been forced to do so. I believe that is our greatest barrier currently. I’ve been extracting their true identity and will continue to support them as they further develop into their roles as leaders.

What I specifically do:

I will be evaluating the team's play looking for gaps. I will research other teams in the world, evaluate our own team play, and coach during live matches. Eventually I believe the coaching role may move to being an IGL where the 5 players focus on fragging. I ask myself, "who better to call strats than someone that can see what all 5 players are doing?"—it’s what they do in football. I currently feel we have an advantage on teams when I can attend high profile matches. We are also creating an analytics piece and will be hiring someone to support me in this. I will also take on the management of the team.

The first roster management decision that I brought to Liquid was to add Hiko to the team. I have a strong relationship with Spencer and I consider him a good friend. I also recruited him to my previous team and it turned out to be a great decision for both of us. We’re hoping we can continue our previous success together, albeit in different roles as I was playing at the time.

It’s important to note that I am highly against frequent roster changes. I believe you exhaust all options before you make a roster change. I believe it creates distrust within a group, an unwillingness to disclose mistakes, and kills team growth. I am certain that Hiko and our team would have been playing together already had contract and organizational confusion not gotten in the way earlier. I look forward to great things to come.

Liquid’s staff is incredibly supportive and their organizational structure is impressive. Both Steve and Victor are of high character and I look for to knowledge sharing with the LoL coaches for best practices, and evolving the CSGO coaching position. Go USA!




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