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Canadian: "We have the most well-rounded and complete roster in NA"

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After a stellar run at the OGA Pit Minor and victory at the US Nationals 2019 Finals, Spacestation Gaming seems to have hit its stride. To know more, SiegeGG spoke to the team's in-game leader, Canadian.

Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski is perhaps North America’s most familiar face in Rainbow Six, having been at the top level since the very first Pro League season with Mythic eSports. Two seasons later, success followed as Continuum won Season 3 of the Pro League and then doubled up on it with a win at the inaugural Six Invitational in 2017. Since then, though, securing trophies has been significantly harder for Canadian.

Canadian and KingGeorge celebrating their victory over eRa Eternity at the Six Invitational 2017. (Photo: ESL)

The Invitational win was followed up by a season that saw Continuum nearly relegated, with only a minor improvement to the next, but Canadian and the team seemed to have a resurgence in Season 6. Finishing first in North America, a signing with Evil Geniuses (EG) before the team’s first Finals since Season 3 would renew faith that it was still able to compete with the best. Unfortunately, an ascendant ENCE eSports would knock EG out in the very first round en-route to its first title.

Canadian and EG would have a strong 2018, but would still struggle to win a title. Being reverse-swept at the Six Invitational by PENTA Sports and then knocked out by PENTA again at the Season 7 Finals would set up a long-running rivalry throughout the year, but Canadian would never be able to lead his team to victory against PENTA -- later known as G2 Esports. The Six Major Paris would see EG crushed by G2 by a 3-0 scoreline after an expected victory at DreamHack Austin was snatched away by Millenium.

DreamHack Montreal would go worse for the team, being knocked out by Rogue, before Fnatic would pull off the biggest upset to date by knocking out EG 2-0 at the Season 8 Finals. The US Nationals Finals would be lost by EG, to Rogue as well, to put a cap on a 2018 that saw Canadian get close to victory multiple times.

Canadian at the Six Invitational 2019 with Evil Geniuses. (Photo: Peter Chau)

Team Reciprocity would kick Canadian’s 2019 off on a sour note, knocking EG out in the quarter-finals of the Six Invitational to deny a repeat grand final against G2 Esports. The second-placed team there, Team Empire, would be next in line to deliver a heartbreaking defeat to Canadian after a severe misstep by him and two of his teammates on match point. Vowing to come back, Evil Geniuses would go the Six Major Raleigh but suffer the ignominy of being knocked out in the group stages, and Canadian’s chapter with the team he had made would come to a close soon after.

Moving to Spacestation Gaming (SSG), the results would take a while to come. A loss to a new-look EG at DreamHack Montreal would see some knee-jerk reactions to the change, but the team’s quality was very much visible. Sure enough, a comfortable run through the OGA Pit Minor Qualifiers would be followed by a searing run at the Minor itself and was only stopped by a resurgent Team Liquid. 1043 days after the Six Invitational win, though, Canadian would finally win another title -- that of the US Nationals. This would be soon followed up by a crushing run in the Six Invitational 2020 Qualifier, and would see SSG poised to finally realise its true potential.

Canadian at the OGA Pit Minor

To know more about what seems to be North America’s strongest team heading into Season 11 of the Pro League, SiegeGG spoke to Canadian:

It has been nearly four months since your swap from Evil Geniuses, how would you rate your time with Spacestation Gaming so far?

I would say so far my time on SSG has been pretty good. Obviously we're kind of on a high right now with the performance we've had as of late, however it's still like any other team where you have your ups and downs no matter what.

How much has simply departing from Evil Geniuses been helpful for you, personally, to be able to shed that label of "serial finalists, never winners"?

I never labelled myself as such and neither did my teammates and that was all that really mattered. I left EG because it felt as though we were stuck at a standstill and couldn't resolve it without some drastic change. It didn't seem that the drastic change would be able to happen and myself joining SSG in place of Chala presented me with what I believe to be the most complete roster NA has so I took the opportunity. 

Despite failure to win at the OGA Pit Minor, your team performed very well. What happened in the final game against Team Liquid?

I think first and foremost, Liquid honestly just played some incredible Siege. I for one, have never played against and individual who has taken over a map like Nesk did on Bank and sometimes when something like that happens you just have to give your opponent credit for playing lights out. Between that insane map from Nesk and us already having a map disadvantage it quite frankly didn't leave us much room for error and on the first map on Kafe there was plenty of mistakes on our part. Overall though we learned a lot and it provided some of our less experienced players with more and more LAN experience which was huge in my opinion.

What was your team's mindset when heading into OGA, and now -- having qualified for the Six Invitational anyway -- how would you rate the entire event? What were your main takeaways?

We were going to OGA to try to win and secure ourselves an Invitational spot. It was honestly just as simple as that. Having qualified regardless I would honestly say that the event was extremely valuable to us, we learned so much in such a short period of time and gained a lot of experience that made us a lot better. I wouldn't really get into specifics as far as what we learned but I would definitely say it made all the series we lost there worth it. 

How bright do you see your team's future? Some are dubbing SSG as the best team in North America, especially after the USN victory and Six Invitational qualification.

I believe we have an extremely bright future. We have the most well-rounded and complete roster in NA right now without a doubt in my opinion and I believe even one of the most well rounded in the world which I am looking forward to proving. Everyone on our lineup absolutely excels in their role and all have the potential to pull off the crazy clutch moments or just have a superstar level performance taking over a map. When you take that and our discipline into account with how committed everyone on this team is (coaching staff included) to improvement on all fronts I genuinely believe sky is the limit. It's just on us continuing to put in the work and holding ourselves accountable. 

Having played so much against G2 Esports, what do you think is the issue with them now?

It is honestly hard to ever be able to actually reasonably comment on a team's issues from the outside looking in so what I say here, or for that matter what anyone who isn't on G2 says should be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, from a glance to me it seems as though G2 has kind of gone away from their strengths in terms of playstyle. When they were indisputably the best team in the world they had a few standout strengths, one of which was their ability to trade as a team. They without a doubt did it better than anyone else and it has seemed like they have kind of strayed away from playing that tight knit style where everyone is always within trading distance of a teammate.

PENTA Sports celebrating the 2018 Six Invitational victory. (Photo: ESL)

I'm not sure if this was a conscious decision from the team because of scrim/match results and if there is more of an underlying reason behind it or if it just kind of happened without them realizing. That being said, I still firmly believe that they are more than capable of figuring it out with the players and staff they have on the team. Every team has their ups and downs and the complete lack of respect shown towards G2 who is just finally going through an actual significant rough patch is ridiculous. Give them time and support them or don't say anything at all. 

Is Team Liquid's performance a flash in the pan, or is Latin America about to embark on a resurgence?

It's hard to say what will come of Liquid's performance. They have always showed flashes of greatness and have always been the LATAM team who actually hits the sweet spot of unpredictability and structure when it comes to play style. That being said they have shown similar flashes in the past but then surprisingly came out flat at some events, which makes it hard to know if they've hit that consistency. Honestly though in my opinion I believe that they've hit their stride and will be one of the heavy hitters coming into Invitational.

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Catch Canadian in action on the 6th of January against Season 10’s best North American team, DarkZero, as SSG tries to stake a claim to what it has never done beffore -- the Pro League Finals.