Road to APAC Finals Season 9: SEA

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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 Southeast Asian representatives, Xavier Esports and Aerowolf.

This season, Sydney will host the two Southeast Asian teams of Xavier Esports and Aerowolf as the Thai and Singaporean players seek to push towards their first appearance at an international Pro League Finals event.

The Season 9 APAC Finals bracket

Xavier Esports, for their part, will be feeling very confident. Placed up against 0RGL3SS first, and then either NORA-Rengo or Ageless, they have a very real possibility of making it to Italy for the Pro League Finals. After all, they finished this season undefeated once again, repeating the feat from last season, and only dropped two points in total (against Aerowolf on the final day).

In fact, many had been even picking Xavier to be the third APAC team at the Six Invitational 2019, but visa issues after winning the online qualifiers meant that they forfeited their place at the Six Invitational APAC Qualifier LAN to Aerowolf. Now, though, the visas have been settled, and the the Thai will be ready to make their mark on the APAC stage once again, and possibly on the international stage too.

Aerowolf’s roster was significantly volatile in Season 9, but finally settled down on the above six

Their regional rivals, Aerowolf, will be having a very different outlook. Fortunate to play at the Six Invitational Qualifier LAN without having qualified, the stars had to align for them once again to make it to this season’s APAC Finals. On equal points with Scrypt E-Sports, and behind thanks to an inferior head-to-head record, Aerowolf had to play the top-seeded Xavier Esports who themselves had yet to drop a point.

Even if they beat Xavier 2-0 -- a feat they had only accomplished the very first time they had met -- they were not guaranteed to go through, as all Scrypt had to do was beat the lowest-placed Generic eSports 2-0 to guarantee themselves a spot. After Aerowolf only secured a point against Xavier, it seemed that their qualification dream was over. Generic eSports, though, played the game of their lives, beat Scrypt 2-0, and in so doing sent Aerowolf through to join Xavier in Sydney.

Xavier Esports in Japan for the Season 8 APAC Finals

SiegeGG spoke to players from both teams, Glen “Lunarmetal” Suryasaputra from Aerowolf and Sillapakorn “Lycolis” Dokmaikhaw from Xavier, to talk about their year so far, and their goals for this LAN and beyond.

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

Lycolis:

It’s nothing too special. We just try hard in rank for four hours a day, and if a team contact us to scrim, we usually agree to scrim with them, so that day we just scrim them over at least two maps or more.

Lunarmetal:

Unlike a few seasons ago, we're all back in school now, so we only really play together from 8PM to midnight everyday -- either scrims or dry runs, usually. On the weekends, we spend the day in custom games and the nights are the same as any other. Everything else like theorycrafting and vod review is done during free times.

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

Lycolis:

I think every team is very strong, so we don't need to avoid them, but we need to beat them.

Lunarmetal:

NORA-Rengo at the Six Invitational (via ESPN)

I don't think there’s anyone we specifically want to avoid. Every team there is strong and can contest any other. If I had to pick one, it'd probably be NORA-Rengo, because we actually want to get out of spawn with our lives, thank you very much.

To Lunarmetal: You guys all but squeaked through to this season’s APAC LAN after losing three maps this season. Something’s evidently off with the team -- is it chemistry, raw skill, or something else?

Lunarmetal:

It's definitely neither chemistry nor raw skill. In fact, we have very good levels of both with this lineup.

To put it simply, I think the fault lies in how we deal with the unorthodox. In high pressure games, we simply don't play with the same level of composure and flair as we do in scrims. Instead we play flustered and scared. This makes it especially hard when all we fight in SEA are those unorthodox teams, different from what we see in scrims.

We recognize this as a problem and it will take some time to fix. But we will fix it.

How do you think APAC can grow further?

Lycolis:

APAC has got a bright future, and I’m sure with time the number of people watching is increasing. And thanks to every team that had a great performance at the Pro League Finals and Six invitational, they have shown the world that APAC has a strong scene.

Lunarmetal:

What we need right now is probably exposure; whichever way that can be achieved. We've proven time and time again that we don't fall behind in terms of skill, but in terms of opportunities and investment, most of our sub regions are a bit behind, and that stems from the lack of exposure. Many people play Siege in SEA but 99% of them don't even know there's a SEA Pro League to watch.

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?

Lycolis:

We can’t really answer that because we are speaking Thai, so we will need a lot of time to train that person to speak Thai.

Lunarmetal:

Probably Acez because he speaks Singlish the best and we can’t understand anyone else. (Sorry Magnet!)

Could we see your teams joining Phase 2 of the Pilot Program soon?

Lycolis:

We're not sure about it but we hope to be one of the teams selected for the pilot program.

Lunarmetal:

I've been working closely with Aerowolf to make this happen for us, but it still remains to be seen if it can be done. Fingers crossed!

Is franchising the way to go for Rainbow Six?

Lunarmetal:

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 think it's a step in the right direction for sure. Out of this, fans get a chance to be involved, organisations and teams like us get exposure, and Ubisoft gains as well. Everyone has something to like!

To Lycolis: This will be your second international LAN event (after you missed out on the Six Invitational 2019 Qualifier LAN) -- how have you guys improved since Season 8?

Lycolis:

We're practicing more since last season, and right now we scrim sometimes to identify the weaknesses of our team so we can perform to our best at LAN this season.

To Lycolis: When we previously interviewed you guys, you did not scrim teams at all. Now that you do, what have been the biggest benefits you have seen?

Lycolis:

Despite not scrimming then, Xavier Esports beat mantisFPS (now Cloud9) in Season 8

At first we didn't want to scrim because we just want to hide how we play as much as we can. But, Fnatic gave us advice to scrim, and then we thought about it and began scrimming with other teams sometimes. The biggest benefits is testing strats and communicate.

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

Lycolis:

Thank you to both our local fans and international ones! We will do our best in Sydney.

Lunarmetal:

Don't watch our games because Jemmy is probably gonna dab again. Warn you liao ah (Don’t say I didn’t warn you)... watch at your own peril!

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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.

Xavier Esports: Producerboom, Lycolis, Hajime, HealthcareOG, redsun

Aerowolf: Lunarmetal, Ysaera, HysteRiX, MentalistC, SpeakEasy