Liquid Community Spotlight: Heart of Kyber
Team Liquid is not just a team of talented creators, creatives, and athletes. Team Liquid, above all, is a community of faithful fans, and one of the people that best represent this faith and community is Cody, better known as Heart of Kyber or simply Kyber on Twitter.
Kyber has been with TL ever since the beginning. In fact, he’s been here even before Curse eSports and Team Liquid became one, and hence has been through the highs and lows of the organization. He celebrated with us during the former, and supported and stuck with us during the latter.
He’s quickly become a fundamental member of our community and the TL Fam. If you’ve ever interacted with TL on Twitter, chances are you’ve seen his username and felt welcomed! He’s well-known in the community for his kindness and friendliness, and we wanted appreciation with a spotlight. Get to know what made Kyber a Liquid fan, his goofy former gamertag, his friendships in the community, and him being 3D-modeled and featured in our Naruto keycap video!
A lot of gamers have cool username origin stories. Where does your username come from? And is it “Heart of Kyber” because of your big heart?
I had one old username for a long time and I made it when I was in Junior High. I was like, I don't want to use this anymore and so I knew I liked Star Wars, my brother and I [...] we're just watching through the entire Star Wars saga. Every time something came up [we were] like, oh, that’d be a good username, I’ll try it. Since I was [also] a league player at the time, I [would] check on Riot, is this available? And then finally, we were watching Rogue One and the line was “the strongest stars have hearts of kyber.” I was like, Oh, that's right, Heart of Kyber! Oh, that's available [on Riot]!
It’s quite unique too! Out of curiosity, what was your previous username in Junior High?
It was Sergeant Cheesy.
Sergeant Cheesy… is that an Xbox username by chance?
Yeah, so I was at a friend's house and we were having a Halo LAN party. I think it was actually elementary school. I just thought it was funny to have my character all yellow. [It was one of those] weird kid things. I was like, “Sergeant Cheese! That's funny.” and then, I started watching TheSpartanShow. Many people kept asking “were you in the military?” [and] I was like, well, no, so maybe I should change it. So I did, [to] Spartan Cheesy.
That's actually quite funny! I've had my own fair share of goofy usernames too. Alright, so obviously you're a huge TL fan, but tell me how you first got into esports? And why Liquid?
I first started getting into esports during G4 [Halo Championship Series]. I think when they had the Ogre brothers. I was like, “Wow, I didn't realize you could be something for being really good at games, so I always thought that that was really cool. Then, when League [of Legends] came out, my friends were in the beta and I got in right at the beginning of season one, so we played that for a long time. Later we were having a party at my friend's house, and he asked, “Hey, do you guys want to watch LCS?” And I was like, “What is that?” And so he turns on YouTube and starts playing LCS. (This was season two or three, I think.)
I don't know exactly [why,] but Team Curse really stood out to me. Voyboy and Saintvicious were my two favorite players at that point immediately and I just became a Curse fan right there. I kept watching them and eventually they became Liquid, the merger came through and it was one of those “Well, how do I feel? Brand new team, brand new organization, is this going to be the same or are they going to change in everything?” [The team] still felt really cool. Steve was still prominent, so like, cool, I'm a Team Liquid fan [now]!
Oh wow, that’s really cool! Let’s go over favorites. Do you have a favorite title that Liquid competes in?
I would probably say CS:GO.
(ed note: Good bye, Global Offensive!)
Oh, so not League of Legends?
For some reason, I'm more attracted to CS:GO as a game than League. Probably because I have 10 years plus of frustration with League of Legends, and I don't have that with CS:GO and so I really enjoy watching CS but, you know, League is right there behind it.
Is Counter-Strike also your favorite video game, or do you have another game that maybe doesn't have a competitive scene that you really like and enjoy playing?
I'd say VALORANT is probably my most fun to play, just because I think it’s easier. I know a lot of people probably have disagreements with that, but I’ll probably switch over with [the release of] Counter-Strike 2.
That is controversial! On a more comfortable topic, we recently wrote an article asking our staff about their comfort games, and we had some surprising answers. Do you have a comfort, no tilt, no toxicity game? I know maybe VALORANT is not the best game for that.
Haha. The game I play to unwind is probably Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but for the longest time it’s been FIFA or Need for Speed or [Forza] Horizon where it’s just… driving around.
Who is/are your favorite athlete(s) and creator(s) from the org? Current or former are both fine.
It’d be a fair few! In terms of FPS games, nitr0. Voyboy and Saintvicous, [going] back to the old League days. And my favorite streamer is probably Alixxa.
What’s your favorite TL jersey? Do you have another favorite store item (aside from the Sasuke keycap)
The Sasuke keycap is cool and so is the new [Kakashi] vest! Kakashi is my favorite character, so anything with him on it, I’ll buy. I think my favorite jersey is probably the white LVTH_N jersey. I really like the design of that. The one I’m sad I never bought is the 2018 TI8 Jersey.
You’ve been here for many years. What are some of your favorite moments in TL history?
My favorite is probably the back-to-back-to-back-to-back LCS trophies. And then of course watching the CS:GO team win the Intel Grand Slam. That whole summer of Liquid. And since I was a PUBG fan at the time, watching us win one of the first trophies that there was in competitive PUBG, I thought that was cool.
What’s your favorite Liquid+ prize? This can be one you already earned or are working towards.
I like the exclusive Liquid+ Jersey. I’ll probably get that one this year if I can’t get the Letterman Jacket just because that’s kind of a really cool piece. I really like the signed jerseys, those are really cool, so I’ve got the Alixxa one and I tried to save up for the one signed by nitr0, just because he’s my favorite player, but then someone actually ended up gifting me a jersey signed by the entire 2019 CS:GO team — which is my favorite iteration of the CS:GO team!
My other favorite Liquid+ prize is buying the devs pizza. I think, everyone, if you have the ability to do it, you should spend points on that because those people work hard and they deserve it.
Speaking of prizes… you’ve received a few prizes from TL, a classic one being that Alienware laptop! How is that laptop coming along? Hopefully you’ve put it to many hours of good gaming!
I have that [tweet] pinned because it's still just mind blowing. Unfortunately, I haven't used [the laptop] nearly as much as I thought I would just because I got it right before the pandemic started. I used to go back and forth from [friends’] houses and have LAN parties and all [...] that just kind of got killed. During the course of that, everyone built permanent setups because, you know, no one can have a simple setup anymore. But I was planning on bringing it when I go down to LCS at the end of the month. Not sure how much use I'd get out of it, but better safe than sorry. I love that laptop. It is incredible.
Y'all I straight up CANNOT believe this! The @TeamLiquid family is WAY too good to me 🥲 Some comments I saw said "you deserve it" and I don't know how I could deserve this laptop or this community helping me like this! But I love all of you and I pray that you are blessed too!!! pic.twitter.com/ZillKVthdD— Heart Of Kyber (@HOK_Gaming) November 29, 2021
What’s it like interacting and engaging with the community? This is a unique thing among esports orgs. Have you been able to build friendships through Liquid or Liquid+?
I've definitely built some good friendships through all the community stuff on Twitter. I'm definitely more of an introverted person and so voice chats and big calls are not something I enjoy, but just the text aspect of Twitter appeals to me a lot more. Just being able to interact with all these different awesome people who I never would have met otherwise if it wasn't for TL – really pushing the community aspect of it – and really wanting people to talk to each other. It's really made an impact on my life. [...] There's a few people who I'm really excited to meet when I go down to Southern California.
That’s awesome to hear! Considering your love for esports, have you ever considered working in this industry? If so, what would be your ideal job?
Yeah, I definitely have! I actually put in an application a few years ago. Obviously, the jobs aren't really anything I've done before, so I don’t really have the necessary requirements, but it would be cool to work in esports, especially for Team Liquid. I think I put in [an application] for a partnerships manager just because being able to be the in-between for TL and one of the partner teams, or potentially like a talent manager, just doing your best to make sure whoever you're working with is being well taken care of and getting everything they need.
Let’s talk a little about the 20Y Sasuke Keycap promotion video. You were recently featured in that. I don’t think another org has ever done that with a fan – tell me all about that experience!
I mean it was entirely out of the blue for me. I messaged Damian (Creative Marketing Director) trying to see if he’d spill any upcoming stuff, and of course, him being professional he's like “no, but I can tell you: we're going to put you in a video.” I was like huh? I didn't know what the video [was]. I honestly thought it was going to be like a group thing. I didn't know it was going to be just me because my mind never goes to me being in the spotlight. I've never thought I was a person for any kind of spotlight.
Here you are!
Yeah. Everything I've gotten from Team Liquid is… never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a person for this. I always felt like one of the [people] towards the back of the crowd. So yeah, Damian told me that Enigma (Lead 3D Artist) would be contacting me and then a few minutes later, he reached out. He's like “yeah, I needed a scan of your head,” so like [I took] photos and then uploaded them but that one didn't work out, well, because I didn't know what I was doing and he told me “do this,” you know, “download this app” and “send it to me like that.”
I felt bad. The only thing I could keep saying was, “This is so awesome.” I was… I need more words, but that's the only thing that comes to mind.
Unleash your vision. 🐍 #LIQUIDxNaruto— Team Liquid (@TeamLiquid) March 28, 2023
The 20Y Sasuke Keycap Base Kit & Numpad Kit
Launching March 31st at 12 PM PDT / 9 PM CESThttps://t.co/zBB0jsA1Ei pic.twitter.com/rlBHLKK6Z2
Yeah, definitely a unique experience! That's great. OK, enough of Liquid and esports. Do you follow traditional sports as well?
Oh yeah. MLS. I’m mainly a big soccer fan, so [Seattle] Sounders, Juventus, Arsenal. And then just like the [Seattle] Seahawks because they’re local, I’ve been a Seahawks fan my whole life. I’m more of a fan of the San Jose sharks in Hockey, I’m [also] a fan of the Kraken just because they’re the new local team. I mean, I’ll occasionally watch other local teams, but soccer, hockey, and football are the main three sports I follow.
My favorite athletes… most of them are retired at this point. I’m still finding new ones. Brad Evans, Clint Dempsey, Ricardo Kaká. Players that are still going, I like Cristiano Ronaldo and I like Jordan Morris.
Just reading off your twitter bio, you're also a Star Wars fan. Hypothetically what would you look forward to in a universe, far far away… where TL and Star Wars collaborate? Whether it be in merchandise or something else.
Ooh, I feel like jerseys are a given. It’d be cool if they somehow repurposed the logo that I made. A mandalorian helmet would be kind of cool… it would definitely be more expensive. Whatever design they could come up with [on] shirts because I know the graphics team is really good at that.
#MayThe4thBeWithYou everyone!— Heart Of Kyber (@HOK_Gaming) May 4, 2023
The best time to announce TLxSW is today, the next best is any day after today! pic.twitter.com/p2TU8Bdk2k
I was going to ask if you’re on the Light Side or the Dark Side, but I guess you already answered that.
Light side. I have two tattoos that represent that!
What’s your favorite Star Wars movie?
Return of the Jedi. I like the positive ending.
As someone who hasn’t watched any Star Wars, I’ve seen arguments on where to start to get the best experience. What do you think is the best movie to start with?
If it's someone who knows nothing about Star Wars at all, I would say to start with episode four then five, six, one, two, three, and then the rest. But if it's someone who already knows some of the plot twists and some of the surprises, then I would just say [watch] in chronological order.
Who is/are your favorite character(s) from Star Wars?
Obi-Wan Kenobi is my number one favorite. Qui-Gon Jinn, [and] this might be controversial, but I like Kylo Ren from the sequel trilogy. A lot of people critique the way his character is, but I think a lot of the way his character is, is intentional. People talk about how he's not threatening, like he's just a whiny, emo kid. To me, it seems like that's what they're going for because he's someone who wants to be bad, but is really bad at it.
What other interests or hobbies do you have that are completely unrelated to esports or video games?
I mean, nothing interesting. I feel so one-dimensional as a person. I mean, I kind of like cars. My brother is a lot better with working on cars, but I have a general appreciation for them. I grew up watching the Fast and Furious movies and playing Need for Speed: Underground.
Do you have a favorite car?
I like my [Honda] Civic! If I could buy any car, it would probably be a Nissan Skyline. Like, one of the ones from the 90s.
That’s respectable! Finally, is there anything that you'd like to add or share with the TL Fam?
Nothing really about myself, just more of a general appreciation for the org. Like, I always express gratitude, but I really just want to push it home that I've never really considered, like I said, I've never really considered myself a spotlight person, like [someone] who would ever stand out for any reason. And so, there's just so many people who are in the org and who are friends of mine who are fans of the org who have really just made me feel special in a way I really never thought I would.
From 2015 till today, Heart of Kyber has been here every step of the way. Throughout the triumphs and the trials, his unwavering support of Team Liquid is a testament to his dedication, and he truly exemplifies the spirit and loyalty that makes TL’s fanbase so unique. Kyber has solidified his place as a cherished member of the TL Fam and a shining example of what it means to be a Team Liquid fan, so we’re pleased to have been able to spotlight him and his fandom.
If this was your first time meeting him, be sure to follow Kyber on Twitter. We’re looking forward to many more years of having him in our corner.
Writer // Hisham "sho" Almadani
Graphics // Felipe "Krust" Braga