First known as uFF, then as Dynamo Gaming, then mantisFPS, briefly Team Yetti, then Element Mystic, and finally mantisFPS again, this Korean squad has had no shortage of names. Despite these changes in the team’s name, however, one thing has remained constant -- they are a force to be reckoned with.
After a failure to make it to the 2017 Six Invitational through the Closed Qualifiers, the team continued to strengthen despite the lack of the Pro League. Their efforts paid off when Asia-Pacific (APAC) was inducted into the Pro League in Season 6, and they found immediate success when they made it to the Global Pro League Finals in São Paulo. Unfortunately, their lack of experience at this level of play was exposed as they lost 10-2 to PENTA Sports (now G2 Esports).
Since then, they have had a tougher time. While their domestic dominance remained unchallenged, they were defeated in the Six Invitational Qualifiers LAN by both Mindfreak (now Fnatic) and Team CryptiK (now Aerowolf). Following that, they were sent packing in a surprise loss to ViewSonic.DarkSided at the Season 7 APAC Finals.
Since then, though, they successfully made it through the 2018 Six Major Paris APAC Qualifiers LAN to go to Paris. While they could only secure a lonesome win against Immortals, that victory is not to be underestimated. Their upturn continued through Season 8 when they became the only team in the entire world to not drop a single point -- a feat not even G2 Esports achieved -- and it was only marred by a 1-2 loss to New Life in the seeding playoffs.
Unfortunately that loss could have severe repercussions for mantisFPS at the Season 8 APAC LAN event. They first face the unknown quantity of Xavier Esports, and if successful will likely come up against Fnatic -- the team widely considered to be the best in APAC -- or the strong Japanese side of Sengoku Gaming Extasy.
We had a chat with team captain, Park “OniChan” Hyun about his team’s performance this season, and their expectations from the Tokyo event.
(The interview responses have been lightly edited for grammar.)
Three of you guys -- EnvyTaylor, you (OniChan), and SweetBlack -- have been together since the uFF days. How close is the bond between you guys now?
It’s very much a brotherly relationship outside of being gaming partners.
You guys recently left Element Mystic. Is there more you can share about what they didn’t offer, and what you are looking for in a new organisation?
Even if we are offered a low pay, we are still professionals hence we want an organisation which allows us to focus on our game. Right now, because of that there are and were some internal issues.
Could you elaborate on these internal issues?
(This question was answered by Inyeong "SummerRain" Kim, the coach.)
The team is still looking for an organisation that is good enough for us, but no progress has been made. Thankfully, the team is stable once again -- even more so than before. Things like our strategies, each players’ mental state, and the chemistry together team as a team is better.
We talked a lot about our situation together, and while it made us depressed at first, we finally figured out how to deal with this situation. Then, we came together more than ever before, and we proved our performance 2 days ago at the Korean cup quarter final.
Furthermore, the Korean esports scene is changing so fast right now, and it has had positive effects on us too. I think this situation eventually made us stronger, and we have once again mentally stepped up.
Korea has a very strong and healthy esports scene, but you don’t see many competitive players in Rainbow Six. ReadyUpGaming and Tyrant were both disqualified this season. Why is this the case, and how can the Korean scene improve and grow?
Even though there are a lot of players, there are very few professionally players playing for the Rainbow Six Pro League. This suggests that compared to the other countries, esports in Korea is not very well taken care of.
You went to the Six Major Paris in August, and defeated the then-first placed LATAM team of Immortals, however, you were unable to make it out of the groups. Would you say you achieved your goals, and if not, how would you rate your overall performance?
Because the Six Major Paris was an international stage, we were nervous and hence we didn’t play up to our own expectations.
What are the biggest differences you feel exist between APAC and other regions that our region needs to improve upon?
I would say that the main difference would be confidence and experience. Strategy and skills are around the same, no matter if it is G2 Esports or us.
You are the only team in the entire world to not have dropped a point in the regular Pro League, and the only undefeated one aside from G2 Esports. How does it feel to have achieved that?
We deserve this as we practiced consistently and are happy to have achieved it.
Despite going undefeated, you lost to New Life 2-1 in the playoffs seeding match, meaning that you are 2nd seed for the Tokyo LAN. Given your previous dominance, this comes as a surprise. What would you say changed?
We did not have any major changes. Unfortunately as much as we would like to, we can’t win every single game, so our goal is to keep our stability no matter what we have to deal with, but we will try our best to not make mistakes again.
Who would you say are your biggest rivals in the whole of APAC?
We can’t exactly pick one. All the teams going to this APAC LAN are very strong.
Is there anything you would like to share with your fans, and to the international audience that will read this?
Thanks for all the support! We will try our best despite the current precarious situation with the team.
The mantisFPS roster is:
Park “OniChan” Hyun (Captain)
Kim “EnvyTaylor” Sung-su
Lee “Neilyo” Inyup
Han “SweetBlack” Chan-yong
Kwon “h3dy” Yugeun
Kim "SummerRain" Inyeong (Coach)
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.