Wildcard Gaming has been a team that has been sniffing around at the title of “Best in ANZ” for a fair while now. Each time they have tried, however, it has eluded them -- save for a win in the Six Oceanic Cup. First making it to an APAC LAN event during the Six Major Paris Qualifiers in 2018, one of their most -- if not the most -- acute failures is certain to be the Season 9 APAC Finals against Xavier Esports.
Back then, up on match point on the third map, EmoRin had successfully planted the defuser despite a Yokai drone in play, but a poor call from his teammates led him astray and allowed for the Echo to clutch things out. Returning back home disappointed, they got their heads down for Season 10 of the Pro League, while Fnatic made their way to Milan first.
The season started off well for Wildcard -- then still 0RGL3SS -- with a first-week win against Power Plays, but then dropped valuable points against Team SiNister the next week. With Fnatic drawing against Oddity Esports later on, though, it meant that they did not fall behind, but it did mean that it would become a three-way fight for the two APAC Finals spots with a rising Oddity in the mix, with the situation intensifying when Fnatic lost to FURY.
Heading into the break, 0RGL3SS had made it to the APAC Qualifier LAN and won their first-ever APAC game against the Koreans of Cloud9, a great feat, but were unable to prevent Cyclops Athlete Gaming coming from behind to beat them and qualify for the Six Major Raleigh. Despite that, 0RGL3SS -- after nine months of lacking an organisation -- was signed by North American organisation Wildcard Gaming. Finally, they had a home.
Power Play’s disband, though, meant that the six points worth of ground 0RGL3SS had gained was for naught, and Oddity were a real threat to their qualification, especially with a match against Fnatic yet to come. Come the first game after the break, though, and the tide shifted in Oddity’s favour when Wildcard could only muster one point against them -- doubly so when Wildcard drew both maps against Fnatic. With all to play for on the final day, with Oddity threatening to also beat Fnatic to the APAC Finals, a failure from them to beat FURY meant that Fnatic and Wildcard’s wins guaranteed them first and second in ANZ.
Now, with Wildcard Gaming set to face Xavier Esports again, and then possibly Cyclops Athlete Gaming in what could be somewhat of a revenge tour for them, SiegeGG talked to Bharath “Fluxx” Sukesh, one of two Wildcard Gaming coaches:
This was a very tense season in ANZ, with your qualification not guaranteed until the final day. Were there doubts?
Of course, whenever you drop points so close to the end of the season, especially against your toughest opponents, there’s always a sense of doubt. Important thing is that we’ve made the stage once again, and it’s time for us to play as best as we can in Sydney.
How would you rate your season, with a 7-3-1 record?
We can never be fully happy with a season until we make the global LAN Finals, but outside of whatever happens at APAC LAN, our round differential throughout the season was good, but two games nearly cost us our LAN spot, so we’ll look to improve on that in the next season to make that top spot in a convincing manner. Just a matter of hard work as usual.
With two draws in both maps against Fnatic, would you agree that your team is very evenly matched with them?
I don’t think we’re far behind them, every match between the two of us is always a close game, but until we prove our success in Best-of-Threes against APAC’s best and put our name on the board at global tournaments, Fnatic takes the title as the better team.
You open the APAC Finals eager to get revenge from last season against Xavier Esports. How have you guys prepared for them this time?
The last series against Xavier was a very close one, however the difference this time is that we know what we’re getting into. We’ll focus on the usual problem solving -- what will help us play our best against them; what will disrupt their game.
Most important thing about LANs is to make use of the preparation leading up to the event and peak on game-day. The final map loss at the Raleigh Major Quals was also a hard pill to swallow, and since then it’s only made us even more motivated to improve.
Your side of the bracket also avoids all four “titans” of APAC (Fnatic, NORA-Rengo, Cloud9, and Aerowolf), and you face Xavier. How confident are you of your chances of qualification to the Season 10 Finals?
Ironically, our side of the bracket consists of the two opponents we’ve lost to in our last two APAC LANs, so it’s a [potential] set of revenge matches if Cyclops ends up in the semis.
We’re working hard as usual -- last time we didn’t do much preparation for Cyclops as the bracket was announced fairly close to the date of the LAN itself, so we had to take a gamble on who’d make the final. This time we’re going to make sure we do everything we can to take revenge.
How has your team been approaching the APAC Finals, with your in-game and mental preparation?
Unlike any previous LAN event we’ve played at, this time we’ll be having our first ever bootcamp, so it’ll be a great experience for the team. This allows us to spend time preparing for the event together, get everyone on the same page leading up to the weekend. We will be spending a lot of time understanding our game-plan and our mentality etc. which is standard for most teams.
All eight teams will be trying their best to win it all, our goal is to be better in every aspect. This is our first LAN representing an organisation since Season 8, so it’d mean a lot to start off strong.
How much has the Wildcard signing helped so far, and how do you anticipate it helping in the future?
Signing with Wildcard has been fantastic. They are really supportive of us and we appreciate every bit of it. We’re finally able to get together for a bootcamp prior to the finals. We’re hoping this will be the push that gets us over the line this time around. Regardless of the outcomes at the Finals though, it will definitely provide us with the opportunity to develop as a team and better ourselves for the future.
Do you have anything to say to your fans at home and internationally?
Thank you to all our fans for your support, especially during our journey as 0RGL3SS. We appreciate your love and support and we promise to do everything we can to take ourselves to the global stage. #StackTheDeck
Catch Wildcard Gaming in action next weekend, as the Season 10 APAC Finals run from the 19th to 20th of October, with games starting at 10 AM AEDT (GMT+11) each day. In what will certainly be an exciting rematch, Xavier Esports will be Wildcard’s first opponents, with a potential rematch against Cyclops Athlete Gaming or a possible match against the Korean unknowns of TRIPPY.