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Banned Skins, Millisecond Clutches, and a Pro Debut: The njr Story

What's it like to play your first professional match amid extreme controversy? To know more, we spoke to Disrupt Gaming rookie njr.

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It’s around noon on June 25th, 2020, and Nick “njr” Rapier isn’t nervous. 

It’s not that he should be nervous, more that nervousness would be understandable for a guy in his position. In less than five hours, njr will play his first professional match in the Rainbow Six: Siege U.S. Division of the North American League.

According to njr, he bought his PC around three years ago, but doesn’t remember when he made a concerted effort to focus on Rainbow Six Siege competitively. He came over from Xbox as a sophomore in high school, but couldn’t compete at any professional level until he turned 18. The youngster was a part of the now-notorious former Oblivion roster. All but one Oblivion players now have Pro League experience -- njr with Disrupt, and David “Iconic” Ifidon, Marc “Lags” Lagestee, and Jack “J9O” Burkhard with the Susquehanna Soniqs.

The 18 year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, who describes his playstyle as “calculated aggression,” isn’t doing anything different from a normal day. He moved into the Disrupt house in Vegas earlier in June, describing it as “sweet,” and saying that “I kinda just do the same stuff I have been doing at home.”

“I wake up, shower, get out here, warm up, VOD-review, scrim, probably play ranked, and then repeat,” njr said when asked about what a normal day looks like for him. “I like to keep my schedule the same from practice days to game days.”

So, it’s around noon on June 25th, 2020, and njr isn’t nervous -- he’s been preparing for this moment from the day he got his first PC three years ago. “It was definitely hype. It was like ‘this is it, this is what I’ve been working towards.’ I dunno, I just kinda locked in.” 

However, all the dry-running and scrimming in the world couldn’t prepare him for what would actually happen on match day. Njr may have made an attempt to treat this match like a normal match, but it shaped up to be anything but normal. 

Disrupt was up against Oxygen Esports, and for the first three rounds, everything was going well on the scoreboard. Njr picked up his first top-flight kill on Hibana in round two, and Disrupt held a 2-1 lead through three rounds. There was only one problem: team captain Zachary “Nyx” Thomas had used a non-whitelisted operator skin. The teams were forced to replay the rounds. Disrupt couldn’t recapture their early momentum and lost the map with a dismal 7-1 score. 

According to njr, the realization that he was actually in the top-flight came from one of the rounds that had to be replayed: round three where teammate Alexander “Retro” Lloyd clutched a 1v2.

 

Disrupt rallied in map two, and despite another non-whitelisted skins issue, took home the second map of the series to push the match to a deciding map three. “I don’t know what flipped us on,” said njr. “I definitely felt like we were down on Kafe (the first map) emotionally, but I don’t know. I don’t feel like we did anything special. I feel like we just got out of our heads and focused up.”

Later on the second map of Consulate, it was left to njr to deny a Spencer “Slashug” Oliver defuser disable. Njr officially killed Slash with .110 seconds left until he was finished defusing. “I thought I had a solid second or two to go,” said njr. “There was a body there on my screen, that’s why I took so long to kill him.”

Disrupt would eventually fall 2-1 to Oxygen, but put up much more of a fight than most analysts thought they would. They won Consulate, and forced Oxygen to have to work for a map three, 7-5 win on Villa. All in all, the match took around four hours to complete. 

After that, njr and the rest of Disrupt went outside to chill and talk, what njr describes as their normal post-match routine. He had plenty of time to reflect on the key moments of the match, and reminisce on his first professional experience. He went 25-23 with a 0.96 rating, picking up the slack over the final two maps after a slow start to map one. 

The statistics for the Stage 1 game between Disrupt Gaming and Oxygen Esports.

When asked about the difference between playing at the professional level and the amateur level, njr says that the difference lies in the team’s structure. “You definitely have to have more of an idea of what the other team’s doing. There’s definitely more teamwork.”

Disrupt and njr will face eUnited next on Monday to keep their hopes of finishing in the top half of the US Division alive. Catch them in action on the Twitch or YouTube Rainbow6 channels for more and follow us on Twitter for continued news and content throughout the season.