Road to APAC Finals Season 9: ANZ

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In this article series, we give you a preview of the eight teams going to this season’s APAC LAN event held in Sydney, Australia, from the 13th to the 14th of April. Here, we take a look at the Oceanic representatives, Fnatic and 0RGL3SS.

This season, Sydney will host the two home teams of Fnatic and 0RGL3SS as they fight their way from the opposite ends of the bracket in what could possibly be a double-ANZ representation at the Season 9 Pro League Finals in Milan.

The Season 9 APAC Finals bracket

Fnatic this season -- this year -- have been performing excellently. Starting with a good showing in the first split of Season 9 of the Pro League, they followed that up with an immensely impressive performance at the Six Invitational.

There, with the addition of Jake “Virtue” Grannan, they made it to the main stage of the event (repeating their 2018 performance), and were only stopped by fellow APAC side NORA-Rengo. Coming back home, they capped their online Pro League season off by going undefeated, although they only finished as runners-up for the Six Oceanic Cup.

0RGL3SS playing at the Six Oceanic Cup (via @sjanecooper)

Winning the Six Oceanic Cup were their ANZ rivals, and fellow APAC Finals representatives 0RGL3SS. While their season was not as illustrious overall as their more experienced rivals, it is still nothing to be scoffed at, especially since they were able to defeat Fnatic 2-0 in the final of the Six Oceanic Cup.

0RGL3SS had also beaten Fnatic to the first seed last season, and technically finished this season with a better positive record than Fnatic -- with eight wins and two draws -- but losing to Fnatic on the final day meant that they would narrowly miss out on the first seed this time around. At the Six Invitational Qualifier LAN this year, they also gave Cloud9 an incredibly tough fight over the first two maps even though they ran out of steam on the third.

Fnatic’s coach, Dizzle

SiegeGG spoke to the coaches of both teams, Jayden “Dizzle” Saunders from Fnatic and Bharath “Fluxx” Sukesh from 0RGL3SS, to talk about their year so far, and their goals for this LAN and beyond:

What does a typical day of practice look like for your teams?

Dizzle:

At bootcamp we will arrive to the practice rooms in the morning, lay out expectations, and set goals for the day. If we have practice in the morning, it will usually be a North American team due to time zones. If we do not have a morning scrim, then we will have VOD review of teams and then go over potential counter strategies. We will then dry run and work on set plays as well as theorycraft around new strategies and counter strategies.

If we do scrim a North American team we will do that and then go into the VOD review, dry runs, theorycrafting etc. We will then break for lunch. Once back from lunch, and before the next scrim, we will go over VOD review of the recorded scrim we just played to highlight errors and areas of development, and set goals for the next scrim.

Fnatic in Japan for their bootcamp prior to the Season 9 APAC Finals (via @MagnetR6)

We then move into the next scrim in the evening against an Asian team. We will then break for dinner, and move into VOD review of that scrim also. We wrap up for the night, coming back to the goals we had set in the morning and if we have completed them. We will have a debrief and set what expectations we would like to have in the morning, and to consider what we would like to achieve the next day when we meet in the morning.

Fluxx:

Similar to pro teams in other regions; we scrim six days a week, spend time in custom games whenever we need to -- whether it is before or after scrims or during the day when we don’t scrim. When we have official matches on, we spend time watching the VODs of opponents beforehand. The usual.

Who do your teams really wish to avoid at the APAC LAN, and why?

Dizzle:

We don't wish to avoid anyone, we are happy to play any team. If we turn up and play our best, we are comfortable against any team. So I guess I'd like to avoid Fnatic on a bad day. But, seriously, if you are looking for an actual team, I guess we would like to avoid NORA-Rengo or 0RGL3SS until the Grand Final, not so much in terms of match up, but that way one of them will be alongside us globally.

Fluxx:

We don’t care who we play. Any team at APAC LAN can cause an upset or prove their strength. LAN is a completely different kettle of fish compared to online, so a team’s strength in the online season may not be the same at LAN. The only thing that matters is who prepares the best, and who plays well on April 13-14th.

How do you think APAC can grow further?

Dizzle:

Cloud9 signed the mantisFPS roster just two days ago

I think Asia is the backbone of APAC. Japan is already a huge region in terms of viewership. I think Korea and Southeast Asia need to develop and grow. The population of Asia is so much more significant than Australia. We have seen some big LANs in Korea and Japan who run them frequently.

But, from the Pro League standpoint, Korea has been a little disappointing. A lot of APAC can be quite archaic when it comes to acceptance of esports, but Korea would be one of the pioneers, so hopefully we can get Rainbow 6 going well in Korea and then it will spread.

Fluxx:

Without a doubt, more exposure. This induces more and better organisational support. At the time of this interview, it’s extremely difficult to make a name for yourself in APAC. The best way seems to be getting good results. Most people are uninformed of APAC’s teams -- yes there are far too many teams to keep up, but there’s also little acknowledgement of APAC’s top teams outside of Fnatic, NORA-Rengo, and Cloud9.

Outside of exposure, as many have said in the past, APAC is extremely top heavy, and I think that comes down to work-ethic and discipline. Some people want success, and some people just like to say they want success.

If you had to choose one other APAC player to play for your team -- forgetting the issue of replacing someone on your team -- who would it be?

Dizzle:

Wokka, now retired, was a player for Japanese titans NORA-Rengo

Wokka. Hands down. He is a brilliant player, a really nice guy and an incredible talent. It is a shame to see him retiring for a bit as APAC is not able to support such a talent at the moment. Hell, I would make all my guys learn Japanese rather than him learn English to have him on the team. I do hope we can see him return soon and utilise his amazing talents before he settles into content creation. If there is ever a day where Wokka can play for us and we sort out the communication hurdle, it is something I would look very seriously at.

Fluxx:

I wouldn’t choose anybody outside my current players. We made gradual roster changes for growth, not for the sake of it. Most of the players in my team have been together for quite a while now; syliX was one of the OG members in the team’s origin, and I joined them almost a year and a half ago.

Is franchising the way to go for Rainbow Six?

Dizzle:

The Overwatch League runs on a franchising model where organisations hold the seat in the league rather than the players like in Rainbow Six

I don't know if it is as clear cut as a definitive yes or no. There are multiple esports succeeding in different iterations in terms of how teams or spots are owned. I think with esports working towards becoming more mainstream and demanding more fiscal support then yes, franchising is the way to go. It allows for more security for organisations and investors which can not be understated. Security can be a huge consideration for investment.

I do believe there are still predatory organisations out there looking to take advantage of players, but have complete faith in Ubisoft to make sure they know they are not welcome in our scene. I think it will be a concerted effort all round, but believe franchising is the best and most sensible way to move forward.

Fluxx:

If franchising were to come into Siege, I think the auto-relegation would definitely need to go to give organisations a much safer reason to invest in the scene. I personally think franchising would help Siege grow even further as an esport, and is extremely useful for teams like ourselves, who lack organisational support, however, before it does come into Siege, I'd like to first see more teams be involved in the global LANs - to 10 or more teams. I'm not against franchising as long as player security is maintained, and there are no loopholes for anyone to exploit.

There's both pros and cons to it. I personally like the freedom of choice you have in which organisation you'd like to go forth with, rather than having one designated for us. CS:GO does perfectly fine without it, I think Siege can too.

To Dizzle: Fnatic shares the undefeated streak this season with Xavier Esports and Cloud9. How important was achieving this to your team, personally?

Dizzle:

Southeast Asian side Xavier Esports is similarly dominant in their region

We usually set out with the goal of doing what is necessary to always make it to the next step. We have attended APAC LAN as both the first seed and second seed. The difference between the top two teams of each region is almost negligible. The guys were happy to not drop a map, but we still had a few draws. Moving into LAN, we don't have to worry about draws and look to move into overtime instead, which is somewhere we are pretty comfortable being.

To Dizzle: Speca’s Pro League debut didn’t get off to a winning start, but are we in for possible appearances at the APAC LAN?

Dizzle:

When you come into a team that is so synchronised and have been playing together for awhile it can be hard to slot right in. We would prefer to have these issues before APAC LAN, so were happy to do it during the season. We are attending a bootcamp in Japan, and Speca has been invited with the rest of the team, and we are going over several different things.

Ultimately, whoever are the strongest five for the play style we want to bring to each team will be the ones that play. Short answer: yes, possibly...

To Fluxx: How goes the organisation hunt? Could we see 0RGL3SS joining Phase 2 of the Pilot Program soon?

Fluxx:

Obviously getting picked up by a Tier 1 organisation with a Pilot Program spot would be the dream. Our organisation search is still ongoing, had a few offers here and there, but we want an organisation to help sustain ourselves as a team, whilst proudly representing them. Our aim is always to achieve new heights, so a helping hand will go a long way for us.

To Fluxx: 0RGL3SS got their first title with this new roster, and it took a pretty sizeable change with syliX becoming coach to bring this about. How would you rate your improvements with Diesel in as your newest member?

Fluxx:

0RGL3SS at the Six Oceanic Cup with syliX in the background (via @sjanecooper)

The changes we made with syliX to coach alongside myself, and Diesel in as a player has kicked off nicely. We’ve always had a high work-ethic, and this new team structure enables us to be even more productive in preparation and practice. Diesel’s vocality was the missing piece of the puzzle in the past.

SyliX has always been extremely talented in his game knowledge. You always find him in custom games looking for new angles, new ideas, so for him to be able to focus on this aspect of the game is extremely beneficial for the team. The two coach setup also works really well with myself and syliX working in unison -- a team structure used by other great teams like G2 Esports and Team Liquid.  

Do you have anything to say to your fans, locally and internationally?

Dizzle:

Thank you for all the support. It means the world to us. We hope to do you proud both in game and out of it. We hope to see as many of you as possible at APAC LAN and will be dedicating time for signing sessions and photos. Please come and say hello to the guys, they are all very friendly and have all the time in the world for the fans.

To our international fans, especially the Japanese, thank you for embracing us and supporting us. It was very unexpected; your support has changed our lives and continues to do so. More than you know.

Fluxx:

Thank you to all our fans for all the love and support. We promise to do our absolute best to make you guys proud. To the international audience, we hope you get to see more of another ANZ team on the global stage.

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The Season 9 APAC Finals schedule (graphic generated prior to mantisFPS’ pick up by Cloud9)

Catch all the action from the event from 10AM GMT+10 onwards on the Rainbow6 Twitch and YouTube channels to see which two of the eight teams will be making it to the Pro League Finals in Milan this season.

Fnatic: Magnet, RizRaz, Lusty, Acez, Virtue, Speca, Dizzle (Coach)

0RGL3SS: Ethan, Derpeh, EmoRin, JoeyMASSA, Diesel, syliX (Coach), Fluxx (Coach)