Welcome rapha

August 27 2016

The Quake connection continues. After signing DaHanG and id_ over the past few months, we're excited to announce that we are adding one more Quake great to our lineup: Shane "rapha" Hendrixson.

rapha is one of the most successful Quake players in the history of the game, and a legend of Duel. After debuting in 2008, it didn't take him long to hit the ground running. He won his first QuakeCon the succeeding year, and followed that up with more titles in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

As arguably the greatest Duel player of all time, rapha brings more than just aim to the table. He is famed for his vision and understanding of positioning, and he has always been dedicated to analyzing his own play. Coupled with his familiarity with DaHanG and id_, we'll definitely be five steps ahead in no time.

Our adventure in Overwatch so far has been tons hard work for everyone involved, yet still a lot of fun. We set out to become a force to be reckoned with, so our story doesn't stop there. It feels incredible to say that we finally have a full team signed to our name. Better yet, our sixth player is none other than Shane "rapha" Hendrixson, a player I have personally followed and admired since 2010.

At one of my first events, back when I was very green to eSports and working with professional teams, I got to meet Shane in person. I don't think he remembers but the day before the finals we went out to dinner with Cengiz, Yilmaz, Cooller, HasuObs, MorroW, MaNa and Shane's manager, Min-Sik (dinner reference here in one of my first blogs on TL). We had some general conversations about gaming, but it was very clear to me that Shane took his career very seriously and did everything he could to prepare for his finals day. I was left with a feeling that, despite having reached the top already, this was not enough for Shane. He was going to do everything within his power to continue his reign in Quake. This was a person with a mentality that I would have loved to work with given the chance.

And finally, here it is. The warmest of welcomes to Team Liquid, Shane. We're nothing short of excited to have you on board to complete our team of MESR, DaHanG, AZK, Minstrel and id_.

I also want to give a big thank you to Kephrii, whaz and EliGE for being absolute champs in helping out our team in the BTS Cup and the qualifiers to ELEAGUE.
- Robin "Bumblebee" Nymann

Hi rapha! First of all, welcome to Team Liquid! Some of our fans might not be familiar with you, so why don't you introduce yourself to everyone.

Hi, I'm Shane Hendrixson. I'm 27 years old and I'm from Rockford, Illinois. I've been a professional gamer for the better part of 8 years now and I am looking forward to continuing that with Overwatch and Team Liquid.

Can you go over some of your past experience in gaming to those who may not know?

For those that don't know me, I've been one of the best Quake 3/Quake Live players from 2008 to the present. I also played a little bit of ShootMania for about a year, but Quake Live is what I'm known for.

[E/N: rapha has won QuakeCon (Quake Live Duel) five times: in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016. He also won the IEM World Championships for Quake in seasons IV and V.)

Now you're playing Overwatch for Team Liquid. What drew you to Overwatch?

What drew me to Overwatch is the fact that the game itself is fun, and coming from mostly a duel background in Quake—even though I have played team modes/games before—it's nice and refreshing to start something new and play a team game. And I think the game has great potential as an esport, and being able to compete to be the best is something I love to do. So naturally I was drawn to Overwatch.

And how did you get discovered by Team Liquid? Why did you decide to join Team Liquid?

I know Liquid has been looking for a 6th for a little while now and I was taking a break from Overwatch to focus on trying to win Quakecon after my previous team disbanded. I've known id_ and DaHanG for a long time from Quake and I've played with both of them on several teams. They needed the flex position filled on the team and since that's what I've focused on trying to do in Overwatch, they gave me a chance to tryout and it's been a good fit. I really like the team atmosphere with attitudes and personalities. Everyone is really focused on the big picture and always trying to focus on improving and problem solving, which is a really good environment to be in to try and succeed.

What role do you play and can you explain it to the fans who may not know the intricacies of player roles?

So the role I play is the flex position. Depending on the meta within OW, I'm going to be playing off tank heroes or a 3rd DPS character if we decide that's the best option to use. I'm also the player who is likely going to have to switch characters the most during games so it's all about adapting to the flow of the game and changing to the hero that hopefully gives us the best chance of success.

Outside of your duties in that role, do you bring anything special to the team? And how does your experience play into that?

Within the game, I think my biggest contribution is my ability to read the game well and adapt accordingly while performing consistently. It's what I've been known for in Quake, and I believe I bring those qualities to the team. Outside of the game, I've always studied a lot of demos in Quake and being able to understand and breakdown the mistakes in my gameplay and in the play of others allows me to improve upon myself and identify the strength and weaknesses of my teammates and opponents. I can use these skills to help us as we move forward when we review our own games and try to find the little things that we need to improve on as a team to become more consistent and gain more synergy.

What do you hope to accomplish in Overwatch, and what are some of the things you are striving to work on to make that happen?

Well, as I said before, I think everyone on the team has a good view on the game and how to improve as a whole, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how we progress and improve. Of course, the goal is to win. I think if you're trying to do anything professionally you need to aim to be the best. If not, you'll sell yourself short, which is why you shouldn't be in the mindset of just trying to finish in the Top8 or Top4. You need to strive to be the best because that's what the best do. I don't like losing so I try to put myself in the best mindset to improve and to win. And I think everyone on the team thinks the same way.

It's great to hear such an ambitious mindset. Lastly, anything else you would like to add?

And lastly I'd just like to say thanks to Liquid for giving me the opportunity and I'm just looking forward competing with the team over the next year and see how far we can go.


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