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LaXing Joins Beastcoast for Dreamhack 2018

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. But what does this mean for CLG?

LaXing Joins Beastcoast for Dreamhack 2018

Beastcoast is the next Rainbow 6 Pro League org to pick up the pieces from the crumbling CLG squad they knocked into Challenger League in Season 7’s relegation match. Gabriel “LaXing” Mirelez is joining the BC crew ahead of Season 8 for the Dreamhack minor tournament in Austin, Texas this upcoming weekend. They will be competing in the Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) open qualifier fielding 16 different teams beginning off-stream tomorrow, June 1st. From that pool, the top four teams will advance to face the #1 seed in their group.

 

LaXing brings strong fragging potential and multiple years of LAN experience, which will be helpful as Jeffrey “EvLWaffle” Haworth, one of BC’s up-and-coming players, will not be joining the team at Dreamhack. LaXing is reportedly joining the Beastcoast squad for an undetermined period of time. This move comes shortly after Beastcoast signed Alexander “Retro” Lloyd, part of the Continuum (now Evil Geniuses) roster that won the Season 3 Pro League Finals. 

We asked LaXing how he felt about leaving CLG to join Beastcoast:

Obviously leaving CLG was never my intentions (sic), and also leaving the team and splitting up. But obviously with how things have been in the past, I feel this move overall is the best option for me and my gaming career! But looking forward to playing with this bunch of peeps and competing in PL! But best of luck to CLG and my old teammates

As with all professional esport teams, cohesion is the key to success. Despite playing Challenger League matches online, Beastcoast’s IGL Davide “FoxA” Bucci did gain LAN experience playing with Waffle in the Northern Arena’s Canadian Circuit under the Team Canada banner, helping to build early chemistry in the BC squad that earned its promotion to Pro League. LaXing’s individual talent is undeniable, so head coach Thomas “Robn” Linden and the team will need to take advantage of the Dreamhack LAN event as a testing grounds for determining the best way to include LaXing into their strategies and make the most of his ability. The synergy between Skys and LaXing, while seemingly a distant memory, remains one of the most effective and entertaining roaming duos we’ve ever seen in competitive siege. Now paired with FoxA’s trademark aggression, it will be interesting to watch whether a similar (or, perhaps even more lethal) dynamic develops from this roster swap. 

Perhaps most intriguing about the LaXing pickup is the mismatch of roles. Waffle was a heavy support and anchor player during his time on Beastcoast; the only operators he played on defense during the challenger league season were Mira, Smoke and Echo. Rather than picking up another strong anchor to backfill this role, Beastcoast seemingly opted for a “Best Player Available” strategy during their search. This makes sense given some of the competitive rule changes, particularly, the pick and ban system that will arrive in Season 8. Since there’s no guarantee that preferred operators will be available teams are better off investing in flex players who can adapt to the new constraints we’ll see in the upcoming season. 

The output from the former Elevate roster has been disappointing ever since they were acquired by the higher profile esports organization, Counter-Logic Gaming. The first member to leave at the start of Season 7, Geoo, provided an unsubstantiated -- but compelling -- argument for why CLG was falling short of expectations shortly after he joined Rogue:

“All time high egos, horrible attitudes, and being complacent were in my opinion just some of the many problems...The team failed to adapt to the meta, everyone wanted to be a star, players thought they were "too good" for certain ops/positions, clear lack of respect for one another etc. People don't see what really goes on within teams, they have no idea what players are truly like.”

While Geoo does not specifically call out any individual players on his former team, there is a natural impulse to examine each roster change involving CLG members through this lens. 

SiegeGG season stats show LaXing as the team’s top performer with a kill/death spread of +13 and an overall rating of 1.15. His most frequently selected operator was Lion, Season 7’s newest and most important operator to begin a roam clear, coordinate an objective push and prevent objective retakes in the current meta. Selection of Lion does not necessarily indicate mastery of the new meta, but it does at least show a willingness to adapt. Plus, he posted extensive strategies for playing with and against Lion last season on CLG’s website.

On the other hand, Counter-Logic Gaming has now lost two of its most prominent personalities: first Skys to Obey Gaming, and now LaXing to Beastcoast. Earlier this month CLG demonstrated a willingness to allow their players to pursue other opportunities:

 

Given the league’s policy stating that three-out-of-five members of a team must remain in order for a team to secure their spot, LaXing’s departure means Counter-Logic Gaming is in a precarious position. All eyes will be on Aaron “Shuttle” Dugger, to see if he leaves and where he lands. Already slotting in as Rogue’s substitute for Geo during the Season 7 LAN Finals in Atlantic City, Shuttle may already have his eyes on the exit door after a taste of playing offline with a high-functioning squad: 

 

CLG, despite picking up an attractive roster at the time, will undoubtedly be frustrated with their Rainbow 6 Siege debut. Skys and LaXing both broadcast their gameplay somewhat regularly, which is an important factor when esports orgs pursue contracts with players and teams. Streaming contributes to growing brand recognition and provides an opportunity for players to plug sponsors, creating revenue streams. If a third member departs then their only options may be to acquire another roster or abandon Rainbow 6’s competitive scene for the time being. In any case, while we’ve seen a lot of progress in terms of top esports organizations getting involved in Pro League, CLG’s experience may serve as a cautionary tale to the larger orgs who have remained on the sidelines during Rainbow 6’s explosive growth. 

Beastcoast will be happy to pick up a player of LaXing’s caliber, they just need to make sure they can integrate him effectively at Dreamhack. CLG is left in the dire position to either continue with a Challenger League team or withdraw from Rainbow 6 esports. The “NA Shuffle” continues, with the remaining CLG members, EvLWaffle and others look to identify (or announce) which teams they will represent in Season 8. While the trajectory of Rainbow 6’s popularity as an esport is promising, hopefully season format changes and the longer length provide the stability that esports orgs need in order to justify investment into Rainbow 6.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article mentioned Retro as part of the Continuum team that won the 2017 Invitational. KingGeorge, not Retro, was on that squad.