DongUk: "We have a lot of experience to gain"

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In our sixth installment of this season's "Road to APAC Finals" series, we have a chat with the TRIPPY coach, DongUk, about his team's approach to this tournament.

The only newcomers to the APAC Finals, TRIPPY have a lot to prove -- chiefly, they have what it takes to duke it out with the big boys in APAC. Furthermore, they are not only the only team at the APAC Finals to not have been there in Season 9, but are also the only team in attendance this season to not have an organisation to represent.

After qualifying to the Challenger League in Season 9, the team achieved a somewhat hard-fought promotion to the Pro League, winning four games and losing two in the process. Once in the Pro League, they were featured as the opening match against Team uR, and only securing four points against what traditionally had been a poor team did not seem to be enough to qualify for the APAC Finals.

A better showing against Cloud9 that only saw them lose by three rounds on each map, though, was a good omen for TRIPPY, especially with the Season 9 second seeds SCARZ (previously Ageless) losing 1-7, 1-7 to Cloud9 and also drawing against Team uR.

Facing Team uR again, TRIPPY did not struggle this time around, winning both maps as they headed into the break. Participating in the Raleigh Major online qualifier, they lost to Cloud9 3-7 first, but after coming back through the lower bracket, gave their esteemed opponents a lot tougher a time than they'd have expected. Not only did TRIPPY win the first map 8-6, the final map also saw overtime and Cloud9 only prevailed 8-6 there to avoid being kept home for the APAC LAN qualifier.

The Season 10 APAC Finals bracket

Returning back home, drawing and beating SCARZ sealed qualification to the APAC Finals, and they will now debut at such an event with Cyclops Athlete Gaming as their first opponents. To know more about their season and their preparation for the APAC Finals, SiegeGG spoke to Doug-uk "DongUk" Kim, the coach for TRIPPY:

Could you please introduce your players and your roles?

When I first came to TRIPPY, there were some players who weren't good at team play. Each person's individual play was excellent, so as a team we tied the players together to increase communication and in the middle of that process, the roster changed. We are now becoming a team that can make the best of each individual's strengths.

What's unique about our team is that it's based on the constant communication of everyone without a setting the main order. JD is an entry fragger who has had a lot of play time in the team and plays fluidly based on the wealth of experience gained from it, and turns into a stable pillar when is needed -- maybe that’s because of his weight!

From left: WATB and JD at the Korea Cup (Photo: Rainbow Six Korea)

Templat is an excellent split-second decision-maker and has a brilliant mind to make that possible -- he is the brightest player in times of crisis. He is smart, and also has good aim. Next, SyaiL is a reliable player who believes in his team members in every situation and does exactly what he needs to do in every situation. He is also responsible for making the team handsome!

WATB has the most stable playstyle compared to his other team members and is a strong supporter of his teammates, like an old man, you know? Finally, JamSuHwan likes to pull off unorthodox plays that the enemy can't expect and makes sure he doesn't miss the flow of the game even in difficult situations. He has a cheerful personality and he is vital to the team.

This is the first APAC Finals appearance for your team, how are you guys feeling? How valuable will WATB’s experience from Season 8 be?

We've all been ready from before, and I think this is the start of something bigger for us. We are really happy and excited, but we've earned this first expensive experience, so we want to divorce ourselves from our feelings on the stage and be able to perform as well as we can to have no regrets. 

I think WATB’s experience is an important factor that will keep the team from collapsing when the team is in bad shape in the game. I think that's going to create synergy, and when the APAC Finals are over, we are going to be an unforgettable team in the minds of the people who've seen us play.

Your first game will be against Cyclops Athlete Gaming, a team that went undefeated in the season. How does one prepare for a game such as this when you are the strong underdogs?

I think it's the perfect game to show our potential, against a team that has not lost in the season. I think we have a lot of experience to gain, no matter if it is from winning or losing games. We're not preparing for them with an underdog mentality, but we're preparing for all stronger and more powerful opponents, and that preparation will eventually make us win.

It's a first-time opportunity for an APAC game, and there's a chance to surprise everyone, right?

How much do you think the lack of teams in the Korean Pro League is a roadblock for your team (and region) to improve?

TRIPPY at the Korea Cup, a tournament with great viewership, a large prize pool, and strong participation (Photo: Rainbow Six Korea)

In a way, others might be envious of the reduced competition that they feel could help them advance to the APAC Finals stage a lot easier. But, on the other hand, it's too little to have a lot of experience. I think rich experience is the most important factor in a team's development.

Currently, Korean teams have too small a range of experiences unless they advance to APAC or Global Finals. I think that having few teams generates less interest in the competition and it directly links to the game’s popularity.

TRIPPY and all the other Korean teams need to keep making it to APAC tournaments, and if they have good results, it might motivate other teams such that not only our own team, but teams all across Korea could grow and more teams can compete in our Pro League.

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

As the only amateur team, I do want to turn everyone's expectations upside down! Honestly, though, I don't think it's very likely yet, but the answer as a team coach is, "I'll have to check the weather in Japan in November!"

In the online season, you went 4-7, 4-7, 5-7, and 3-7 against Cloud9. How important were these games in helping you get a feel for the level of play expected at the APAC Finals?

These were good experiences to highlight our deficiencies, for the team as a whole and for individuals. I am confident that TRIPPY’s appearance in the APAC Finals will be different because the match against Cloud9, the team with the most experience in Korea, was an opportunity to find good points and bad points in each game.

Overall, with a 6-2-4 record, and being nine points clear of SCARZ, how would you rate your online season?

We made it to the APAC Finals, but the results and the process weren't that satisfying. There is an obvious difference between us and SCARZ with nine points, but the difference between us and the number one team, Cloud9, is even more apparent. I think our team still has many steps to climb.

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

SyaiL at the Korea Cup (Photo: Rainbow Six Korea)

Nice to meet you! I'm sure there are a lot of people who don't know us. We're practicing to become a team that will never be forgotten. Please watch us play! This amateur team will show you the guts that underdogs have among professional teams, so please pay close attention.

We will show you what a pleasant team looks like. If you're already a fan of ours, we will make you happy while cheering for us! And if you're not a fan, we'll make you a fan!

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Catch TRIPPY in action this 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. Getting a dominant Cyclops Athlete Gaming as their first APAC match, TRIPPY will not have an easy game against the favourites, but if successful in the upset will move on to face either Wildcard Gaming or Xavier Esports.

Korean Translator: Howard Jeong