Week 2 of Stage 2 took place last week, as all four regions kicked into gear.
Following most of these games were interviews with the victorious teams, so for those that missed them, we've summarised the best quotes and responses from the players below.
- EU League -- pacbull: "There were definitely some shaky vibes in the team"
- NA League -- BC: "We're hoping to be really adaptive, fluid, and ever-evolving"
- Brasileirão -- cameram4n: "I tried to make tactics that don't need this utility burn"
- APAC Leagues -- Hybrid: "There weren't a lot of ideas behind the game from Cloud9"
All the quotes below are extracts of the interview, not the full conversation. A timestamp to the full interview can be found linked with the quote.
Firstly, this week saw a major upset in the all-French derby, as BDS lost their first game of the season against a revitalized Vitality roster on Consulate, 8-7.
This is, therefore, Vitality's second win in two games, which is in stark contrast to Stage 1 where it took them till Day 3 to win their first map.
Elsewhere, Virtus.pro lost in their second 1-7 of the Stage against Cowana, while Na'Vi continued their good form from Stage 1 to beat G2 Esports, 7-4. Nathan "Nathan" Sharp partially attributed this to G2's choice in play style:
Milosh: Did you find G2 this game was playing a bit more passive?
Nathan: Yeah, I would say so. They definitely turtled on-site. I was expecting them to be a lot more flank-y, use the Echo drones to be aggressive but they were quite passive with it in the end.
As well as this, Nathan agreed with Elemzje's views on the new operator of Flores:
Nathan: Flores, I personally think, is one of the best operators right now for the attack. He doesn't suit every map, like in Clubhouse where you have a strict operator pool, but on maps like Villa and Kafe, he's really really good for soft destruction -- all destruction. It's also good on Villa where it's a lot to drone...
Considering they represent the two top teams in Europe during Stage 1, that is a major endorsement for the operator.
Finally, Team Secret beat Rogue 7-5 to become the only team to have won all available points, putting them in the first place.
Secret ended Stage 1 in last place with only six points, meaning they have already doubled their total points in the 2021 season in a remarkable turnaround.
Peter "pacbull" Bull had this to say about how Secret pulled this game back after a bad start.
pacbull: For the first three rounds, I don't know why, but the mood in the team was a little liberal, a little quiet. We were all a little... not necessarily nervous, but there were definitely some shaky vibes in the team. We had the timeouts followed by rehosts, which was pretty good for us that they had a sound bug I guess.
We just used that time to reset mentally to say "ok guys, we're 3-0 down. Pretend it's 0-0. Everyone restart your mental, take a breather and come back into this with a fresh mentality", and it really helped us out with winning by being more confident in our gunfights or just our play style in general.
So yeah, it was the timeout and rehost that helped us come back from the early loss.
Over in North America, we had our second super-week in a row, meaning that the whole NAL stage is already halfway done.
These two play days were all remarkably short, with all but one game ending in 10 rounds or less. The lone close game saw DarkZero beat Disrupt in a nail-biting 8-7 scoreline in their third overtime win in four games (with the fourth game being a 0-7 against TSM).
Here's what their returning player, Brandon "BC" Carr, had to say concerning the team's changes following the addition of two "new" players:
Velly: What has it been like to transition back to a playing role in the NAL?
BC: I think the rolling out process is still happening. Trying to reacclimate with the game has been a toll, it's a lot of struggle that we've had to undergo but it's working smoothly still, it's just a steady climb.
I think we have kinda scraped out a few wins early, which has kinda given us some buffer time for me to get back into that, but my goal has mainly to be to just empower the guys more, get them in better roles, hear them out more, let them make calls and everyone's feeling comfortable, so they're picking up the slack where I might be falling behind a little bit right now.
Velly: Panbazou went from 1-8 to 9-13 and was a big part of that win in the end. What is it like playing with a young player like that and getting him up to speed?
BC: One thing with young players is to let them start off playing what they're comfortable with. The rest of the vets can somewhat move around and let him be comfortable. Plus he's not just a young player, he's really only been playing comp(etitive) for six months so he might be the rookiest professional player ever.
Velly: What are things you guys are working on to get even better at this point?
BC: So we've always had a really deep playbook, but I think where the gold is is really just in the minor responses and the plays that are within strats. Everyone has defaults, but it's how you respond to little plays or when you're in a pinch or man advantage or you want to trap a guy, that's where the great teams start to shine.
It's something we were good at in the past and some of it's gone away and now with me jumping in, a whole shift of roles, and Panba coming in, we've had to kinda restart the playbook.
All those responses and the cool plays and things like that, it's gonna take some time for them to come out. We want to play a modular type of Siege where you approach each phase with new fresh eyes and just in time -- this stage of NAL or later at a Major -- eventually, we're hoping to be really adaptive, fluid, and ever-evolving.
Elsewhere, bc and XSET lost both of their games badly, as they took just four and five rounds in total, respectively.
As well as a defeat to Mirage from bc and OxG from XSET, this also includes losses from both of them to the Susquehanna Soniqs, who bounced back losing a 7-5 to SSG in Week 1.
Here's what Alexander "Yeti" Lawson said when asked what was improved between weeks:
Yeti: Honestly, we focused heavily on communication and adaptation for this week of practice. If someone throws some weird stuff at us, just adapting to that on the fly in scrims, rather than just going through the motions. That way, if someone throws some weird bans at us, we'll have a lot easier time adapting and overcoming any challenges from other teams.
Finally, after narrowly losing to DZ last week, Spacestation took all six points against DG and Mirage, putting them in first place in the NAL.
TSM sits one point behind them, followed by Mirage and the Soniqs, though it is important to note that TSM and the Soniqs have played one less game than the other two.
Over in the BR6, we also had two play days.
While MIBR lost both games, due in part to FelipoX being unable to play after a dislocated shoulder, the big teams of NiP, FaZe, and Liquid each won their games somewhat easily.
At this point, the only losses between these three this Stage have been due to NiP beating Liquid and Liquid beating FaZe in Week 1.
Starting with the flawless Ninjas in Pyjamas lineup, after beating Liquid and MIBR 7-1 last week, they had two fairly close games with a 7-5 over Team oNe and an 8-6 over FURIA.
However, while talking about the game against oNe, Julio "Julio" Giacomelli reassured fans that the attacking losses weren't an issue, stating:
Julio: Our attack this match wasn't that good so we're going to fix that. We just tried out some things and we tried out some attack rounds on Garage with different operators, it didn't work out, but we tried and we're going to save that strat for the future and that's how we manage to get a lot of strategies for the big tournaments.
FaZe Clan, meanwhile, this week dropped just four rounds combined against Santos and Black Dragons as they continued their BR6-leading Stage 1 performance.
Now, ahead of their matchup versus NiP next weekend, Gabriel "cameram4n" Hespanhol had this to say about the team's play style under his leadership:
cameram4n: When I used to play on FaZe a long time ago we had a play style a lot like Liquid; drone, stop, hold flanks, hold more. Time becomes a problem in these situations if anything goes wrong.
So when I got into MIBR and became IGL, since Day 1 I tried to make tactics that kinda don't need this utility burn.
We just run in front of the shield because we have like five people at the same time from different angles so this guy that's behind a shield is not gonna kill everybody, so we don't need to get rid of the shield in some situations. Of course, some times we do, but we try to avoid this as much as we can.
Geo: There were a couple of rounds where Astro was being very aggressive on the entry before the rest of the team were ready. Was that a problem with the attacks or was it deliberate?
cameram4n: Astro is a really good player, but I've known him for a really long time and I've been talking to him recently that when he has this unstoppable feeling, he's non-stop, he just goes around to get kills.
I say he plays on 220 volts. That's a concern for us, we need to set the pace, but overall we did a great game, he did a great game today...
The big thing to happen this week in APAC North was that T1 secured their very first professional win in a not-so-convincing 8-6 scoreline over DWG in what was somewhat of a surprise considering DWG KIA had smashed C9 7-0 the week prior.
Cloud9, meanwhile, continued their two months of bad form with a loss to their 2020 rivals of CAG in a slightly improved 1-7 scoreline.
Here's what CAG's coach, Riccardo "Hybrid" Massimino Font, had to say about C9's performance compared to Fnatic, who they played last week:
Hybrid: Fnatic was able to counter our play style. Cloud9 wasn't going against us with a clear idea of how to play this match, while Fnatic clearly knew how we were going to play and clearly knew how to counter us. That's the main point at the end.
We were able to win in the end against Fnatic in overtime (8-6) because we decided to play risky following a particular talk in Round 13, but against Cloud9, there weren't a lot of ideas behind the game from them, so I think C9 has to just reset. I am confident that if they are able to do it, they will come back even stronger, so good luck to them for this.
Fnatic themselves bounced back from this loss to smash the fourth Korean team, TALON, 7-1, despite Patrick "MentalistC" Fan playing instead of Léo "Alphama" Robine, who is currently stuck in France due to Taiwanese border restrictions.
Here's what Etienne "Mag" Rousseau had to say about the effect this change has had on the team:
Mag: So Alphama brings a very NA play style. We've got very rigid strategies, we've got positions, we've got rotations that we have to do, and when we tried to do that with me as the hard support replacing Alphama on the attack as the IGL, that wasn't really working.
So we said "let's get rid of the strats on the attack, let's play a very free-flow" and we just adapt as we go.
Finally, we have APAC South. Here, we saw what was almost a shock in the Knights game as, after they beat the Stage 1 APAC champions of Elevate last week, they were then taken right to the edge against Invictus Gaming.
However, they still managed to secure just two points, thanks to the performance of Jsh.
Also of note was the Wildcard vs ORDER game, which closed out the day in a matchup between the two bottom-placed teams from Stage 1. While ORDER beat WC in the Oceanic Nationals on the following day, Thursday's game ended 7-3 to Wildcard on Clubhouse.
When asked about the impact of the ex-Secret and Rogue coach of Wille "r0usty" Turunen on the team, Vincent "Vincere" Daniele stated the following:
Vincere: Since we've picked up r0usty, we've had him on as a mental coach and he brings so much experience, which I think is something we've lacked for a little while. Somebody that can really just dedicate themself to the team, rather than the analytics of rounds and analysing how the teams are playing.
I think it has been a big thing for us in getting us into the right mental, especially after last season. People were in a rougher state than they are now but this change has put us in a really good place for this season coming.
Week 3 will kick off its games tonight with the EUL, followed by NAL on Wednesday, APAC on Wednesday and Thursday, and then the BR6 tournament over the weekend.
SiegeGG will be covering all these tournaments as usual so check back for stats, news, and highlights for your favorite teams!