Xavier Esports is not a name many would have been familiar with before this season.
Prior to Season 7, striving to make it to the Pro League, and with more than enough quality to do exactly that, they were unfortunately denied by their own hand. A lack of enough qualifier games meant that the Southeast Asian (SEA) team would only be able to get into the Challenger League (CL). They worked hard, went undefeated in the CL, and eventually made it to the Pro League with ease.
Now in with the big boys for Season 8, only a week’s worth of PL games would be played before they would face SEA titans Aerowolf in the Six Major Paris Qualifiers. While they would fall 2-0 to their Singaporean brethren in the final of Stage 2 bracket, Xavier would be resilient as ever, and quietly work upon plugging their gaps.
Flexing their muscles, they kept pace with Aerowolf in the Pro League, and were only 2nd in the standings up until the 9th play day, only dropping a single map to Scrypt E-Sports in the process. Now, though, the Thai team would face Aerowolf once again, and this time, in the Pro League, they would come up on top with a stunning 2-0 victory to go first -- a position they would hold until the end of the season, and then would defeat Aerowolf again in the playoffs for seeding at Tokyo.
Being so new to the competitive scene, Xavier is an almost entirely unknown quantity, and recent results have shown that the team is only getting better as each day passes. They are sure to prove a tough challenge for mantis FPS (from Korea) at Tokyo, and either Fnatic (from ANZ) or Sengoku Gaming Exasty (from Japan) -- if they get there. Without a doubt, they are in with a strong shot to make it all the way to Rio de Janeiro for the global Pro League Finals this season.
We had a chat with team captain, Chayakorn “Producerboom” Tsai about his team’s performance this season, and their expectations from the Tokyo event.
(The interview responses have been lightly edited for grammar.)
Congratulations on making it to the APAC LAN Finals in your very first season in the Pro League. First off, let’s get to know your team better. What are your names, and where are you guys from?
We have Sillapakorn “Lycolis” Dokmaikhaw, Surachat “Hajime-.” Loednaweporn, Thiti “redsun00” Chairoek, Chayapat “HealthcareOG” Boonyamanop, and Chayakorn “Producerboom” Tsai as the team captain. All of us are from Bangkok, Thailand.
How popular are esports, Rainbow Six in particular, in Thailand? How do your friends and family members feel about you playing as a professional player?
Esports are getting popular in Thailand day by day, but Rainbow Six in particular... not so much. I think it is because the game is not that well known by Thai people. People here tend to play more MOBA games like Dota and League of Legends, or other games like PUBG.
Our friends and families are supportive, as long as we dont do bad in school. However, earning our own income has proved to our parents that we are capable of doing this while we are studying so they are not that worried.
Let’s talk about your story in competitive Siege so far. The Southeast Asian casters have always considered your team to be one of the best in the region since you appeared on the scene, yet you only made it to the Pro League this season. What were the circumstances behind this?
I think the circumstances behind this are mostly practising, improving callouts and using strategies, and also finding the mistakes during the match and fixing it after. This is including the Go4 tournaments we participate in every week, and by doing this gives us chances to study how other teams play.
As the only team to have achieved promotion from the Challenger League to the Pro League in SEA so far, what would you say are the biggest differences?
The biggest difference I would say is the level of teamwork and coordination. It is much higher in the Pro League than in the Challenger League. When we were in the Challenger League, we knew that we were capable of going to the Pro League and that I think was the motivation for us to push ourselves to the Pro League level.
The Tokyo APAC LAN Finals will not be your first LAN; could you share more about previous LAN(s) you have attended? How would you say they will help, and how will Tokyo be different?
The previous LAN we attended in Thailand was more like a community event, so I don't think that it will help us in our performance in Tokyo. At the APAC Finals it will be so different; there are many top teams from all over the region, and some teams have been to international LAN events before, so that's gonna be tough. Furthermore, the atmosphere will be on another level at the APAC LAN event.
You are often seen 5-stacking in Go4s, and in a fully-professional 5-stack it becomes easy to slip into your Pro-level strategies. Are you ever worried others might glean some valuable information from that?
Well, our strategies are not entirely new -- we have picked some tips and tricks from famous teams from other regions as well, and then we kind of adapted it to our play style. There are many teams that try to study us and use our strategies against us, but those strategies need teamwork to be effective. I don't think we are worried because there are a lot of ways to counter-strat them.
Your only loss this season in the Pro League came to Scrypt (then Aerowolf), who were the 2nd-seed last season, but failed to make it to the APAC LAN this season. What would you say went wrong then
The match we lost was mainly because one of our teammate had issues with his internet, so it was a 4v5 the whole match.
In June, you fell 2-0 to the most veteran APAC team, Aerowolf (then Envy), in a closely fought game -- this after your Pro League loss to Scrypt. Since then, you beat Aerowolf 2-0 in the Pro League, and then 2-1 in the seeding match for Tokyo LAN. What key changes have you made that allowed you to improve so dramatically?
The two matches that we lost in the Six Major Paris SEA Qualifiers gave us a clear vision on how badly we performed, and then we tried to fix the problems that we had during those matches. Later on in the Pro League matches we tried counter-strat and target ban them, and it worked for us amazingly. I could say those two matches that we lost in the Six Major Paris Qualifiers gave us so much help in winning the other two matches in the Pro League.
Is there anything you would like to share to your Thai fans, and to the international audience that will read this?
Thank you for all support that has meant so much for Xavier Esports. We would like you guys to keep supporting us, and we will try our best at this upcoming LAN event in Tokyo.
The Xavier roster is:
Chayakorn “Producerboom” Tsai (Captain)
Sillapakorn “Lycolis” Dokmaikhaw
Thiti “redsun” Chairoek
Chayapat “HealthcareOG” Boonyamanop
Surachat “Hajime” Loednaweporn
Catch all the APAC LAN action from Tokyo, Japan, on the 13th and 14th of October from 9:45 AM GMT+9 onwards at twitch.tv/Rainbow6.