This season, Sydney will host the two Korean teams of Cloud9 and Ageless as they attempt to carry their home country’s name far and wide, especially with the mantisFPS roster having been picked up by Cloud9 just a few days ago. Ageless, on the other hand, will be looking to prove that they can match the level of the other teams despite qualifying from Korea out of a grand total of three teams.
Cloud9 as an organisation needs little introduction. The second top-tier organisation in APAC after Fnatic, their signing of mantisFPS means that teams can no longer take advantage of the roster being unable to dedicate all of their time to Siege. Finally able to break free from working at McDonald’s to make ends meet, Cloud9 is undoubtedly about to become one of the top teams in the world.
This season, though, at the APAC Finals, we may not see that improvement just yet. Cloud9’s players have not been able to leverage the organisation’s resources to their full extent, and they will have to be judged by what has been available to them so far. Still, they are not to be underestimated.
Cloud9 has been the only team outside of NORA-Rengo and Fnatic to make it to multiple international LANs, and has consistently been the third-strongest team in the region. Most recently, they reaffirmed their position as the best in Korea after winning the US$44,000 Six Challenge Korea, and once again went undefeated in the Korean Pro League.
Ageless, on the other hand, is a highly unknown quantity. One of the two teams outside of Cloud9 that participated in Season 9 of the Pro League from Korea, they will be keen to prove that they deserve to be at further APAC Finals. While their Korea Cup run was abruptly cut short after a loss to Potato, the few games that have been played by them may not be an accurate indicator of their performance.
SiegeGG spoke to Cloud9 head coach Inyeong“SummerRain” Kim and Ageless coach Seunghyeon “Mikelate” Ryu 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?
As I write this right now, everyone's contracts (not the Cloud9 contract, but of our real life jobs) are not finished yet. We will drop the real life job soon, but for now, we are watching VODs and making strategies while we searching for scrims and complaining about how they are exhausting in real life... that's it (haha). But, this will change soon after APAC Finals.
We have been practicing the game mainly regarding teamplay.
Now that NORA-Rengo lost Wokka, who is the strongest APAC team in your eyes? Is it still NR?
Wokka was a key player for NORA-Rengo, but this game is played by five. So, NR is still strong without Wokka. And even with Wokka or without, I think Fnatic is the strongest team in APAC now, especially after Jake “Virtue” Grannan joined.
The Six Challenge Korea was the biggest APAC LAN event ever -- do you think we can see more of these soon, including in other subregions?
Honestly, I am not sure about other subregions’ events, but actually Ubisoft Korea invited eiNs (now FAV Gaming) for the Six Challenge Korea 2018, so my answer is yes.
Since Rainbow Six: Siege is the best game, there will be many contests in other APAC subregions for sure.
How do you think APAC, specifically Korea, can grow further?
I’ve already answered about APAC, so now about Korea... I think the environment is ready, and Korean gamers are getting to know more about Rainbow Six and the Pro League. So it's just a matter of time.
Of course. As the R6 Korea Cup is held steadily, the Korean region can grow even more.
Could we see your teams joining Phase 2 of the Pilot Program soon?
We just joined Cloud9, so I don't know yet, but I guess Cloud9 will apply for the pilot program.
(Cloud9 manager Tiffany “Tifa” Chiu has separately confirmed that the organisation will try for the pilot program.)
Who does your team really wish to avoid at the APAC LAN, and why?
Since we don't have many chances to play other top-tier regional teams, we want to avoid Cloud9.
To Cloud9: After NORA-Rengo and Fnatic, mantisFPS is the only APAC team to go to multiple international events. What has been the key to this consistency?
The answer is simple. Practice hard day by day, with little bit of luck. There are no magical or secret things.
To Cloud9: Do you think your signing with Cloud9 will herald more top tier organisations investing into APAC, especially for teams such as 0RGL3SS in ANZ?
APAC has had an amazing performance at the Six Invitational, and at every major event, APAC has been a threat to every other region. We also have the Six Challenge Korea, the Six Oceanic Cup as quite big LAN events in APAC itself. APAC is a big blue ocean to every other organisation, and I'm sure they will look into APAC more.
To Ageless: Ageless is going to the APAC LAN for the first time -- what can we expect from you guys?
Pretty scary. Ageless is going to the APAC LAN for the first time, but we will play hard.
To Ageless: Is it going to be intimidating going up against all these far more experienced players and teams at the APAC LAN?
We are so excited and are looking forward to play with other APAC top teams.
Do you have anything to say to your fans, locally and internationally?
To our old fans: we joined Cloud9 is also because of you guys. So always, I thank you and I hope you guys keep watching us as a Cloud9 fans.
And to our new fans, I know some people will welcome us, but some people will worried. Being a Cloud9 doesn't make us strong suddenly, but we promise you we will do something amazing this year for you guys. So please, I hope you guys like us. Thank you!
Thank you to our fans who support Ageless. We'll always look good and try hard.
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.
Cloud9: EnvyTaylor, SweetBlack, Neilyo, h3dy, Nova, SummerRain (Coach)
Ageless: Fah0N, Shintaz, yass, Agent, CATsang, Mikelate (Coach)