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Elevate Chief Strategy Officer: "Contrary to popular belief, we do pay our players"

Aftee Elevate moved into the Australian scene three months ago, we spoke to the co-founder of the organisation to ask about the team and the future of the region.

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Elevate and Rainbow Six have had a long and fruitful relationship together. The organisation was one of the first notable ones to enter R6, with them being one of only three organisations still in the scene since Season 1, alongside Team Vitality and PENTA.

Since finishing the Season 1 Xbox Finals in second place with a roster which included Taylor "Redeemer" Mayeur, the team has had five more teams; the 2017 Six Invitational Xbox champions which included Alex "Skys" Magor and Gabriel "LaXInG" Mirelez, a tier-three North American team which included the ex-Halo pro of Tyler "Spartan" Ganza, two Latin American teams later known as Santos e-Sports and Team Singularity and, most recently, the second-placed team in ANZ during Season 11 of the Pro League. 

This means that Elevate has competed in eight out of 11 Pro League seasons, across three out of four regions, and in every tier of competition -- from the Six Invitational grand-final to the Challenger League -- making them the organisation with the most experience in the wider Rainbow Six esports ecosystem.

Most recently, they entered the APAC scene with the pickup of the Australian roster previously known as Oddity Esports, which finished Season 10 in third place just below Fnatic and Wildcard, both of who went on to qualify for the 2020 Six Invitational.

Since then, Elevate topped this performance with a second-place finish in Season 11, just three points behind Fnatic in first, positioning themselves as possibly the best team in APAC South since Fnatic has now announced their move to Japan, out of the South region.

They have, however, been seriously struggling in the Six Masters Australian national league, where they finished in a disappointing seventh place in the regular online season -- only ahead of Kanga Esports -- though they were only three points away from a Finals-qualifying fourth-place.

Now, with the reveal of the changes coming to the APAC region, we asked the Chief Strategy Officer of Elevate, Justin Tan, what's next for the team and region:

Firstly, can you introduce yourself and your role in Elevate?

Hi, my name is Justin Tan and I am the Chief Strategy Officer for Elevate.

You've had six Rainbow Six rosters, starting back in early 2016. What has led to Elevate sticking in R6 for so long?

Obviously, we love the game and seeing what Ubisoft is doing gives us the confidence to stick in R6 for so long. Elevate has a lot of history within the game from winning the first Six Invitational to getting second in the most recent Pro League season. The fans that we have met throughout the years and the players that have been a part of Elevate to see where they are now, it all makes it worth staying.

Elevate's very first lineup. (Image: Elevate)

What kind of support do you offer the current team?

Contrary to popular belief, we do pay our players. Additionally, we provide them with a coach and analyst as well as having one-on-one check-in meetings. We always make sure that the team has everything they need to be successful. We are help grow our players to be more than just gamers and to work on their own brands.

With the recently announced changes to the APAC scene, what does the future of Rainbow Six look like to you?

I think that the new APAC scene will allow for more teams to get on the main stage and to prove that they are able to compete with the other regions. It used to be only two teams from APAC, but with Ubisoft expanding it to 4 teams, it is only a matter of time till the rest of the world sees it.

Would you say Elevate being stuck in the South sub-region hinders the team and region's growth?

I do not think that Elevate being stuck in the South sub-region hinders the team and region’s growth. The APAC south sub-region is a lot more competitive than it used to be. It just shows that teams are getting better, allowing for better scrims and competition. In regards to the region’s growth, we are dedicated to helping the region grow not only through content but through Australia-New Zealand ecosystem.

The new APAC esports format. (Image: Ubisoft)

What are your aims for your Rainbow Six roster?

To be the best. Not just in APAC but in the world. We are going to start by winning the APAC South Division followed by Asia Pacific League Playoffs. At the end of the day, we are here to field the best possible team for our fans and to represent Australia-New Zealand on the big stage. We have seen teams like Wildcard and Fnatic leave their mark during the Six Invitational, it is now Elevate’s turn and we have just the roster to do that.

Elevate's next game will be in the Oceanic Nationals where they will fight for a spot in the Regional Qualifiers against the top six APAC North teams with the following lineup:

 Raine "Dgtl" Wright
 Luke "Redd" Cini
 Isaiah "Vast" Patterson
 Jake "GodLeg1on" Harris
Trent "Worthy" Mitchell-Rose
 Emrys "Sinnix" Clegg (coach)
Patrick "WarTurtle" Gleeson (analyst)

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Keep an eye out here for further coverage of the league and be sure to check out our other interviews with organisations around the world over the last few weeks: