HealthcareOG: "I don't see it as a rivalry between us and [Wildcard]"

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In our fourth installment of this season's "Road to APAC Finals" series, we have a chat with one of the Xavier Esports players, HealthcareOG, about his team's approach to this tournament.

Once the dark horses of APAC, Xavier Esports are fast making a name for themselves as regular attendees at the APAC Finals, having been to one in every single season they have been in the Pro League. Starting with their journey from the Challenger League in Season 7, to finishing top in Southeast Asia in Season 8, Season 9, and now in Season 10.

At the Season 9 APAC Finals, they progressed to the semi-finals after beating 0RGL3SS (now Wildcard Gaming), but then failed to pose much of a threat against the Japanese giants of NORA-Rengo. Returning back home, they once again started their Pro League journey anew, taking now Pro League rookies Lèsè Esports and then taking down fellow Thai team NEX Esports 7-0, 7-4 -- opponents that their main rivals of Aerowolf had drawn a map against.

A decimation of Venberg Esports (now Luminescent), was followed by an equally devastating takedown of Team Void, and with Aerowolf struggling with two draws heading into the break, it was nigh certain that Xavier Esports' seeming-vice grip of the first seed in Southeast Asia (SEA) would continue on.

However, in the SEA Six Major Raleigh online qualifier, Xavier Esports -- for the first time in almost exactly a year -- stumbled against Aerowolf. Not only did they lose to Aerowolf twice and fail to qualify for the qualifier LAN, they lost by 2-0 margins, a feat that Aerowolf had never managed, even in the Pro League (having only beaten Xavier Esports once in their entire history, by a 2-1 score).

With Scrypt E-Sports disqualified, it meant that Xavier only had to play two series after the break -- a largely inconsequential one against MBT Impetus Gaming -- and one against Aerowolf. While they did lose 5-7 on Clubhouse, a 7-4 victory on their favoured map of Coastline meant that they had the first seeding in the bag.

The Season 10 APAC Finals bracket

Now headed to Sydney once more, and playing against Wildcard Gaming once more, they will be sure to have some advantage born from their lack of do-or-die games after the break, unlike Wildcard. To know more about their approach, SiegeGG spoke to one of their players, Chayapat "HealthcareOG" Boonyamanop:

Your Pro League season went almost perfect, except for one map lost to Aerowolf in the final week. How would you rate your season?

We would rate it 9/10 because we had that loss against Aerowolf in the final week… no excuses, they were a better team on that day.

When you burst onto the scene, you only practiced by five-stacking in Go4s. How does practice look like for you now?

Well, we started to scrim against teams in the APAC region and we think that it is a better way to practise rather than five-stacking in Go4s.

Your team made it to the semi-finals of the APAC Finals last season, but were thoroughly defeated by NORA-Rengo. How have you improved since?

The statistics from Xavier Esports' 0-2 loss against NORA-Rengo

I think we have improved in many ways, like communications and strategies, but it is always a challenge for us when we perform on the stage.

You open the APAC Finals with Wildcard Gaming eager to get revenge from last season. Will this be your team going two for two against them, the start of a rivalry?

I don't see it as a rivalry between us and them because last season, while we managed to make our way to the semi-finals, they only lost by a score of 2-1 and the last map was so intense that it could have been anyone's game. 

Your side of the bracket also avoids all four “titans” of APAC (Fnatic, NORA-Rengo, Cloud9, and Aerowolf), and you face Wildcard. How confident are you of your chances of qualification to the Season 10 Finals?

As long as we play our game and be consistent throughout the LAN event, I think we would have a pretty good chance to go to the Finals.

Your team lost to Aerowolf by 2-0 margins twice in the Six Major Raleigh SEA Qualifier, right after you picked up Scatman. However, you beat them on one map in the Pro League later on. How has he settled into your roster since?

Scatman (third from left) replaced redsun on the Xavier Esports lineup (Photo: Xavier Esports)

Well, at first, Scatman needed time to adjust to the roster and how we play as a team, like many teams when a new player comes in. He has been improving a lot since he joined us.

With all your members still in university, how does your team balance the two commitments?

It is not easy doing both at the same time, still we try to do our best at studying and competing.

Do you have anything to say to your fans at home and internationally?

We appreciate all the support and we hope that we will still get it even when we are having ups-and-downs. Thank you for your support and we will do our best at the LAN event.

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Catch Xavier Esports 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 facing Wildcard Gaming first opponents, with a potential game against Cyclops Athlete Gaming or TRIPPY awaiting them if they get that far.