After the conclusion of NAL Stage 2, the layperson can be forgiven for wondering why anyone would want to join beastcoast. From the outside looking in, the roster was trending in the wrong direction.
A winless stage with a mere three points from overtime pushes set it dead last in the league. Strong performances and moral victories were nearly always followed up by crushing losses -- a season opening 8-7 loss to Oxygen was followed by a 7-0 destruction at the hands of TSM.
To make matters worse, one of its regulation losses was by forfeit due to lack of a substitute; Jason “Sippin” Mahabir was struck with a medical emergency and couldn’t play. That match was the one immediately following beastcoast pushing DarkZero to overtime. Every time it seemed like the team gained momentum, it regressed.
Three months and some change later, beastcoast isn’t just one win away from being safe from relegations, it’s still technically in the running for Major qualification, a far cry from its Stage 2 woes.
“Nope, I was never worried,” said Alec “yungalec” Bhatty, one of beastcoast’s newest players, when asked if he was potentially concerned about moving his entire life to Las Vegas to join a previously-winless team. If yungalec did have reservations about joining beastcoast it could certainly be excused, but the rookie’s raw confidence and in-server play have been a key cog in turning beastcoast’s fortunes around.
Yungalec has been a key for beastcoast’s revival, and currently, he sits in a good spot in two important statistical categories -- entry kills and SiegeGG Rating.
In Rating, he’s at a flat 1.00, a pretty solid result considering their pair of 7-1 losses to TSM and Oxygen, respectively. His entry +/- is at a +5, good for third best in the league, currently. He’s tied with Oxygen’s Frankie “VertcL” Andres Cordero, who is having one of the best stages of his career, and only behind Soniqs’ Pablo “Gryxr” Rebeil and Matthew “Hotancold” Stevens.
That’s pretty solid for a player who has only been competing since 2019. Yungalec says he played the game from the beta onwards, but wasn’t consistent until Year 4.
“I only played like 15 games [of ranked] a season and probably left like half of them,” yungalec said. “I started really playing ‘Siege’ during Burnt Horizon and Grim Sky, I started stacked and playing with different people, and I met these guys called ‘Tune’ and ‘Takeoff’ and made a team.”
The team played together for three months before looking at CL qualifiers with a “why not” attitude. Yungalec said “the bracket was free,” and the rest was history -- with less than a half year’s worth of competitive experience, he was in Challenger League. There have been some bumps along the way, notably with Spiker, which struggled heavily in CL. Now, his meteoric rise through the “Rainbow Six” ranks has taken him to North America’s premiere regional competition.
With Jayson “Jaay” Meszaros also coming in as a player, Mark “Marktheshark” Arismendez coming in as the team’s coach, and the remaining members from Stage 2 beastcoast, yungalec thought the team had the potential to win.
Lo and behold, besides a couple of rough performances against Oxygen and TSM, beastcoast’s situation is completely different than it was late in Stage 2.
Yungalec has been seemingly energized by moving to Vegas -- there’s no homesickness that’s set in yet. “I used to wake up every day and just, like, do my homework for college..But now I wake up and I don’t feel miserable any more.”
He credits the “vibes” of the beastcoast team house, and thinks that the roster gels together well. In a game like “Siege”, where teamplay trumps skill to a great degree at the competitive level, being able to trust and lean on your teammates both in and out of the game is a big deal.
Beastcoast’s chemistry is beginning to click, and it’s having tangible effects. Moving from two wins on the current stage from none in the previous one hasn’t just taken beastcoast nearly out of relegation danger -- it is still technically in the hunt for the Major.
Before the Oct. 6 play day, there are four teams within one point of each other -- TSM has seven, DarkZero, beastcoast, and Mirage have six. XSET has five points, but has only three games remaining on the stage, a distinction they share with TSM and beastcoast. Mirage only has two. DarkZero has four, as they play two games on the final play day due to a positive COVID-19 test debacle at the Mexico Major.
On Oct. 6, beastcoast will play Astralis. If they win in regulation or overtime, they’ll hold the tiebreaker over Astralis and shoot up to eight or nine points. Astralis will still be at three or four points, but with only one game remaining, they can’t catch beastcoast. The team that appeared to be destined for a relegation match with a Challenger League team can guarantee its spot in the 2022 NAL with a win tonight.
Beastcoast and yungalec have their eyes set higher: Major qualification and top-four distinction. Truth be told, it’ll be a long climb, if for nothing else than DarkZero has another whole game to play, therefore another whole opportunity to earn points and TSM hold the tiebreaker over them. It’s a difficult task, unlikely even, but not impossible, and a large chunk of that possibility is due to the confidence exuded by yungalec.
“I’m not going to go move my whole life [to Vegas] and think to myself ‘well, a month and a half later, I’m going back to Texas,” he said of relegation potential.
This iteration of beastcoast has a spark, and they still have a chance. They face Astralis in the third game of the night to keep their long shot Major hopes and dreams alive, and secure their roster’s space in the NAL for 2022.