The next two Six August 2020 Majors are upon us, with the action continuing with the APAC South subregions of Oceania and South Asia. The games and the teams are certainly going to be new and exciting to learn more about, so be sure to tune in later at 6 PM AEST (UTC+10).
In order to know more heading into the APAC North mini-major about what to expect and how teams are preparing for the tournament, a few interviews were in order. As such, SiegeGG spoke to Wildcard Gaming coach Bharath "Fluxx" Sukesh, Ōkami coach Antoni "Centus" Lagemann, as well as APAC North and European League caster James "Devmarta" Stewart.
To read up on everything you need to know about the mini-majors, check out our companion article as well.
Your team made some personnel changes after Season 11 of the Pro League and came back incredibly strong, only dropping a single map through the Six Masters 2020 campaign. Would you say this matched your own pre-season expectations and how did you guys achieve this?
We all knew the team had the potential to be stronger than before, and so from Day 1 we just made sure we put in the work to make our team strong once again. We knew it'd take some time for two new players to settle in, and learn our playstyle, our system, and were aware that all teams may have a honeymoon phase when they make roster changes, so we just made sure we didn't get carried away with anything, and we just worked towards our common goal.
From when we made our roster changes, we said this roster's in it for the long haul, and it's been nice to see our work pay off during the season and playoffs, but I wouldn't say we played our best Siege, we can be better.
With the first stage now over, what are your thoughts on this new APAC format? Has the South Asian scene caught your eye and what do you expect from them at this mini-major?
There's positives and negatives for the new format. Changes to APAC North are really beneficial for the region, it's incredibly competitive now and great to watch, but it's left APAC South in a strange position.
The introduction of South Asia into the scene is fantastic and it's great to see new teams getting to compete for their shot towards the global stage. However, their region's matches weren't really broadcasted on the main channel or promoted via social media, so it missed exposure from there. I'm looking forward to seeing how those teams develop as time goes on.
I personally don't agree with only a single team from Oceania getting SI points -- I'd rather a split like it is in LATAM.
What are your expectations from this mini-major and who do you see being your biggest threat?
Sadly there's only three teams in the mini-major, so it doesn't leave much room for predictions, and we're already in the grand-final, so it's just a matter of preparing for both Ōkami and Knights, and paying attention to ourselves in the leadup to the grand final.
The 2-0 win in the Six Masters grand-final doesn't properly convey how close the maps actually were, so I would say Ōkami are definitely hungry to get their revenge, but I believe in my team. We just need to take it one round at a time and I'm confident we can pull through if we're on the ball on game day.
Your team is still org-less, but went from strength to strength in the Six Masters 2020 campaign. Would you say this matched your own pre-season expectations and how did you guys achieve this? Is an organisation soon to come?
We went into the season with high expectations, expecting to be top two. Especially in the beginning, we ran into a lot of smaller problems stacking up which lost us some games we should not have lost. We went ahead and did our best to fix those and were mostly successful nearing the second half of the season. We definitely didn't perform to our own standards in the online stages, but were able to do so in the playoffs.
We have been in talks and negotiations with multiple organisations over the last season and beyond which often were stopped due to financial complications that came with the current global pandemic. At this point in time, we are still looking for an organisation to represent us in the upcoming stages.
With the first stage now over, what are your thoughts on this new APAC format?
I personally like the current format we have in the Oceanic and South APAC regions to get to the qualifiers -- the only thing that I and a lot of other players/teams from the ANZ region don't like is the SI points distribution. I understand why it is set up this way but I am still not convinced it is the best way for our region to develop new talent and show it off internationally.
We have scrimmed a few of the top teams from the South Asian region and they definitely have potential but run into the same problem that ANZ had when it first came part of the international scene; lack of experience. I'm not sure what exactly to expect from them at the mini-major, to be honest, but I'm looking forward to seeing their scene develop.
What are your expectations from this mini-major and who do you see being your biggest threat?
At the mini-major, the biggest goal is to win first place to get a lot of Six Invitational points. Also, with a record of nine wins and one loss, and each player having a strong ability, Giants Gaming is the most threatening team.
The tournament will also see the use of the combined APAC North and European broadcasting studio in Paris, with the talent there covering all three APAC mini-majors this coming week.
It will thus have the omission of prominent Australian casters Jessica "Jess" Bolden and Devmarta, who are still in Australia, with the latter in a Melbourne that declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic a few days ago.
However, despite his predicament, Devmarta was certainly happy to let us pick his brain on what we have to expect from this upcoming tournament.
What is APAC? Could you sum that up for us?
Contrary to what most people believe, Rainbow Six Siege esports in APAC has been highly active since the game's release, and teams have been challenging themselves to hone their craft and be the best even long before Japan, South Korea, South East Asia, and Oceania were introduced to the Pro League in 2017. So, it's important to credit these teams and players who have been involved in esports as long or longer than the household names from Europe and North America.
That said, APAC has had it's fair share of challenges which have made it much more difficult for teams to commit their lives to and improve in Rainbow Six Siege; geography and ping restricting inter-regional scrims, less funding to compensate players for their time, and less opportunities and global events such as the Pro League, Majors, SI and Minors.
Despite these challenges APAC has come a long way in three years; APAC North finally provides teams across Asia to compete between sub-regions instead of in separate Pro Leagues which has increased the overall skill of the league, Oceania is slowly seeing more funding and support such as salaries and larger prize pools, plus Fnatic leaving Oceania leaves an opportunity for other Oceanic teams to fill, and countries from South Asia are finally included in the global circuit. This progress has allowed teams like Giants and Wildcard to flourish and in my view improve to the point of rivalling the top teams across the world.
So what should you look out for when watching APAC? Creativity and a breath of fresh air from teams like FAV Gaming, Xavier, and Cyclops who bring hectic and unusual playstyles and operator picks. Highly coordinated team play and chemistry from teams like Wildcard and Giants, where rounds play like clockwork, and an overall fast paced game that is super entertaining to behold.
You have been greatly involved with the APAC North and Oceanic scenes. What are the key highlights from those scenes, as well as South Asia, that we should be looking out for?
APAC has had a long journey through adversity, persevering through issues not prevalent in Europe and North America, but finally the time for APAC to shine is now. APAC has serious talent and a willingness to think outside the box, teasing unusual operator and loadout choices like Finka, Blitz, shotguns, but what's more actually making it work consistently.
Keep your eye out for strategic mayhem from teams like Cyclops and Xavier, and for clockwork coordination from teams like Wildcard, Giants, and FAV.
What are your expectations from teams such as Wildcard Gaming and Giants Gaming at their respective mini-majors?
One of the most exciting things to me in the development of APAC across the last six months is how far Wildcard and Giants have come since their recent disappointments at Six Invitational in February.
Wildcard dominated the Six Masters, only dropping a single map through the entire league and playing flawlessly through the playoff bracket. Since SI, Wildcard made two roster changes, replacing veterans NeophyteR and Derpeh with young gunners Gio and Pat, who have both thrived on their new team. Mix together good communication, talented individual players and a clockwork-coordinated team chemistry and you have the unbeatable kings of Oceania that is Wildcard.
Tune in to see the spanking new Parisian studio on the official Twitch and YouTube channels and catch some high-octane APAC Siege over the course of the next six days, starting in a few hours, from 6 PM AEST (UTC+10).
As always, make sure to check back here for continued coverage and follow us on Twitter for more.