Image via Ubisoft
DarkZero’s 2021 season in the server has been tumultuous.
A pair of positive COVID-19 diagnoses at the Mexico Major hamstrung them in a quarterfinals matchup against eventual champions Team oNe. They bowed out of the Sweden Major in the group stage following a very slow start. If you count the departure of Matthew “Hotancold” Stevens after the conclusion of the 2020 season, DarkZero has rostered nine separate players during the 2021 season. The post-SI departure of Alex “Skys” Magor to an on-broadcast analyst role, and then to Spacestation Gaming, left a distinct hole in the team.
“The expectation for a team to be on top of their game in three months is honestly ridiculous,” said Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski. Indeed, Canadian, the apparent final piece to DarkZero’s puzzle, was only added officially in Sept. Every time a player is added, roles need to be adjusted, and the team has to settle in comfortably.
So far, that comfortability hasn’t come to complete fruition, but there are signs of life.
As far as NAL results go, DarkZero can hang their hat on an impressive 2-1 victory over Spacestation in the semifinals of the NAL Finals tournament. “Domestic competition isn’t quite the same, all that matters is that you qualify for the international competition,” said Canadian. He doesn’t put much stock in the regional finals, but adds that the level of importance the individual gives it is up to the individual.
The international competitions haven’t been going well for the entire North American region as of late, for a myriad of reasons. The NA teams underperformed in Mexico, sending two teams to the quarterfinals (who were both beaten by the Major’s two finalists). Sweden was worse, only Spacestation made it to the playoffs, and they were knocked out by eventual finalists NiP.
While it isn’t total doom and gloom for NA just yet, despite the constant chattering, jabs, and “Near Airport” copypastas, it definitely has looked better in the past. However, the past two Majors were then, and this is now, and Canadian believes DarkZero, as a team, has settled into their roles. “We all have a better understanding of how we want to play the game as a team,” he said. “...Siege is a very situational game, so just understanding how to play situations with your teammates and how to help them without having to theorycraft everything beforehand…it’s a huge difference.”
All the same, hype and bluster aren’t going to cut it for critics of NA teams. They’re some of the most well-funded, historically competitive teams in the scene. As legends of other regions have moved on or have been phased out, the NA titans still stand. Dylan “Bosco” Bosco and Canadian are two-time Invitational champions, Oxygen’s core has been making international waves for years. With tenure and past success come expectations – other former SI, Major, and Pro League Finals winners have faced similar levels of scrutiny when they underperform.
“I don’t think this is the worst North America has been at all,” said Canadian. He elaborates, saying that discussing the three non-LATAM regions’ place in the Rainbow Six Siege hierarchy is effectively pointless. All regions have their standout teams, but all are second fiddle to the current all-Brazilian dominant era.
As far as DarkZero’s expectations, as a single team, at SI? Just to keep further “clicking” as a team. “We just needed time to click,” said Canadian. “It was the same thing on SSG when I joined that team, things weren’t clicking for a bit, and then three months later we were playing really good.”
DarkZero will take to the SI servers on Feb. 8, the public start date for the Six Invitational.