At this stage of their careers, Team Empire is well and truly a household name in Rainbow Six, having come from virtually nowhere in the minds of most to come into their first-ever season of the Pro League and win the title. What’s more, in the middle of the season, at the Six Invitational 2019, the team made it to the grand final and pushed G2 Esports to 22 rounds on the first map.
What’s more, the team’s Season 9 success was even more impressive given the fact that they had only played a handful of matches with Danila "Dan" Dontsov in place of Artyom “Shockwave” Simakov. Not only did he do well, though, he was one of the heroes instrumental in kick starting an amazing comeback against Evil Geniuses.
Now, halfway into Season 10, Team Empire’s campaign has been going as well as it possibly could. The majority-Russian squad has only dropped points in two games -- one against archenemies G2 Esports and the other against the red-hot Looking For Org (former LeStream Esport) -- and looks like it cannot be stopped.
Team Empire also recently won their second Russian Major League title, and are one of the favourites to win their first Major in Raleigh, especially with G2 Esports’ struggles continuing through 2019 -- the Six Invitational notwithstanding.
SiegeGG spoke to two of their members -- the Estonian Eugene "karzheka" Petrishin and the Russian Danila "Dan" Dontsov -- to know more about their preparation for Raleigh:
You guys go into the Six Major as the likely favourites, does this come with some added pressure?
Not at all, we understand that we can beat any team and lose to any team as well. So... no pressure on us, just need to get into our best shape before the Major starts.
Other than yourselves, who would you say are the main contenders for the title?
Oh, I can’t say that at all. There’s so much competition right now in every region and I won’t risk naming the main contenders as many factors will affect the gameplay on LAN -- whoever steps up in the important moments wins the whole thing.
How have you been preparing for the Major?
We have been at a bootcamp for almost 2 weeks, so we have been trying to figure out what we're doing wrong in some situations and focusing overall on the things that can affect our gameplay in the worst possible scenarios.
Dan joined Empire just before the Pro League Finals and was hugely influential in your title victory, being named the MVP of the event. Since then what roles has he been put into?
He's playing the same role as he was in Milan. We are kinda five flex players (well, four ‘cause of Ash main JoyStiCK) and everyone understands which positions are the most important to have control of and what is the main goal of playing exact position/role.
Joining you at the Major is another Russian side of forZe. How well do you think they will do?
It’s hard to say, because it’s going to be the first high level LAN for most of the players from forZe. If they play their game and feel confident they can get out of the group.
Why do you think it took all the way to Year 4 of R6 for the Russian scene to really blow up?
Because most players are changing teams after their first loss and it's hard to show real results like that. ForZe has got players that they needed and have worked hard. If other known Russian players will create a team and play for a long time together, there will be more good Russian teams.
While obviously not a massive issue, your team is yet to beat G2 on a single map. Why would you say this is the case?
Recently there is a situation when you can use the term “El Clasico” for the Empire vs G2 matches. There is a lot of hype around our matches all the time and both teams are charging and trying their best to win this match. I think that this is the reason of constant number of maximum rounds on the map between us.
Do you have anything to say to your fans?
Support us during the major, it will be really important for us!
The Six Major Raleigh 2019 is taking place from the 12th of August to the 18th, where Team Empire will be pitted against the best teams on the planet, starting off with NORA-Rengo, Team SoloMid, and Immortals in Group A, and will be looking to win their second international title and first Major.