Just a day after the start of Season 11 of the Pro League in Southeast Asia (SEA), the famed Spanish organisation of Giants Gaming has acquired the “giant-slaying” Aerowolf roster. This marks the first entrance of an organisation of such a large stature into the subregion, and with a roster that has arguably been long-deserving of one.
Having once been known as Team Envy, at the Six Invitational 2017 and briefly between Season 7 and the Six Major Paris, the new Giants Gaming roster has only ever been under two other organisations. The first was Team CryptiK, having signed the team just prior to the Season 6 APAC Finals, but Aerowolf had been the first substantial one for the players.
The Aerowolf pickup had been announced just a day before the Six Major Paris APAC Qualifier LAN in the July of 2018, and marked the start of a long partnership between the ever-changing roster and Indonesian organisation. It was, however, a long story of failure. Defeated at that LAN by Element Mystic (now Cloud9), a Tokyo trip in Season 8 saw the Singaporeans then lose to the home favourites of NORA-Rengo.
As 2019 rolled around, the team’s luck did not seem to change. Old foes FAV Gaming knocked the team out at the Six Invitational 2020 Qualifier LAN, with Patrick “MentalistC” Fan playing his first-ever match for the team, and roster changes in Season 9 that saw Alessandro “Array” Billy leave for Matin “SpeakEasy” Yunos seemed to need more time to gel as Fnatic once again beat the Singaporean squad at the APAC Finals. Invited to Las Vegas for the Allied Esports Minor, Aerowolf once again disappointed, losing all three Best-of-One matches and getting knocked out.
The Six Major Raleigh qualifiers, on the other hand, seemed to be the chance for Aerowolf to make a mark, but defeat once more greeted the team, this time at the hands of the rising Cyclops Athlete Gaming. Fans may have been forgiven for expecting this to be the height of Aerowolf’s performances -- consistently second-best domestically and never qualifying internationally -- but things were set to change next season.
While Xavier Esports (now Qconfirm) beat Aerowolf to the top spot in SEA, a thoroughly unexpected triumph over Fnatic in the quarter-finals threw open the floodgates for Aerowolf’s success. NORA-Rengo was then batted aside as Aerowolf finally marked a return to international competition, having secured a ticket to the Season 10 Finals in Tokoname and the Six Invitational 2020. Not content, Aerowolf continued on and beat Wildcard Gaming to become the APAC champions as well, and set up a date with Giants Gaming in Japan. All of a sudden, Aerowolf's players were very glad they had not entertained their thoughts of retiring.
Against all odds, Aerowolf also found success against the far more esteemed European roster, bringing down the Giants in a truly gigantic performance, and made history for themselves and the Southeast Asian region. Now, the Aerowolf players join the organisation of the very same team they had defeated in Japan.
However, with MentalistC having been unable to go full-time as a professional player in Singapore due to his father being posted oversea, and his visa thus contingent on him continuing to study at his junior college (a situtation that was causing his mental and physical health to deteriorate), he had to leave Aerowolf and joined Fnatic. Now in Australia, he has been able to go full-time in the game without having to study to keep his visa.
Drafted in as his replacement was Jordan “jrdn” Cheng, having been the team's substitute for the second half of Season 10 and having been behind the team at the Season 10 APAC Finals and Season 10 Finals. Despite that, challenges still face the roster -- with Jeremy “HysteRiX” Tan already having been enlisted into the police as part of his two-year National Service, SpeakEasy and jrdn's time not far away, and Glen “Lunarmetal” Suryasaputra still finishing up his Economics degree.
Giants Gaming has been in the Rainbow Six for a long while now, having joined in the June of 2018 with a Spanish roster. The organisation finally received international recognition when signing the former LeStream Esport roster just prior to the Six Major Raleigh in the August of 2019, and held onto the team for just over five months before continuing on with this Southeast Asian roster. The original roster, alongside its changes, was eventually transitioned into Giants Spain and then released, but the organisation has promised to acquire another one soon for Spanish competitions.
To know more about the monumental change for the roster, SiegeGG spoke to team captain Lunarmetal:
After years of struggle, your team finally qualified to another international event and has now been signed by Giants Gaming. How does it feel? Have you guys made it?
This partnership with Giants is an acknowledgement to all our efforts over the years. We feel blessed to have been taken notice of and while it is indeed a huge step, to say that we ‘made it’ doesn't do justice to what we plan to achieve as a team.
What made the Giants Gaming offer so enticing? Are you guys getting access to a team house, or boot camps as well?
Yes, Giants are indeed going to be providing us with almost anything we need as a team. But with our team being unable to go full-time (because of National Service), scheduling boot camps might be an issue -- that's not to say it won't happen, though. Being able to practice in a skill-rich region like EU has been something I have wanted to do for awhile now; even the one day scrim we had against Na'Vi at Tokoname taught us so much and that was just one set... I want to see what we can do with more than that.
It wasn’t just the terms that made the offer so enticing, though. I think throughout the whole process, David and his team have been so supportive of us, hence it was an important consideration for us in agreeing to sign with them. We really look forward to making this a long-term partnership.
Your team moved jrdn to the main lineup after MentalistC left and added Histoire as a substitute. What can we expect from them now? Any role changes?
There will definitely be role changes because both jrdn and Histoire are very new to this high level of Siege. We are still in the process of discovering which roles fit not only them, but the rest of the team as well.
Is a coach perhaps on the cards now that you have the backing from a much larger organisation?
With the increased competitiveness in Southeast Asia this season, how confident is your team of repeating last season’s feat? Any added nerves to perform for your new organisation?
Mentalist's departure was a big blow to us. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that lineup of players we had in Season 10 was the lineup I had visualized to go the furthest years prior. While he has left big shoes to fill, I believe that with time we can be much better than we were before.
The level of teams in SEA has risen, once again. The gap is becoming closer every season and we will make any compromises in order to maintain our position. As always, our biggest enemies have been ourselves. I don’t think the responsibility of a new organisation will affect the way we play in a negative way at all. Rather, we are so eager and ready to be playing once again.
Pro League caster Interro identified your team as the weakest for the upcoming Six Invitational 2020. Do you agree? How are you planning to combat that perception, if at all?
I don't plan to combat that perception at all. I hope that all the teams share the same sentiments he does and continue to underestimate us. We work best when no one thinks anything of us, let that be the case for SI as well.
Is there anything you would like to add to your fans?
Thank you for all your continued support. We may have changed banners, but the people behind the team are still the same. Much love from all of us!
Glen “Lunarmetal” Surysaputra
Adrian “Ysaera” Wui
Jeremy “HysteRiX” Tan
Matin “SpeakEasy” Yunos
Jordan “jrdn” Cheng
Jose “Histoire” Iman (substitute)