Elephant Gang is a team that has caught the eye of many fans in Rainbow Six Pro League. This is not only because of their ability to play together very well in a competitive environment, finishing first by a good margin of 6 points over Disrupt Gaming in Challenger League, but also because the team was composed of former professional players.
Seth “Supr” Hoffman
Noah “Trippen” Britt
John “Avian” Ackerly
Ozgur “Kanine” Alturk
Scott “Neptunez” Webber
When the team made it into Challenger League through closed qualification, the team had a decent amount of hype behind it. This hype only grew as their season in Challenger League progressed, with the elephants dominant at a 8-4-2 final scoreline. By the time the Challenger League playoffs began, Elephant Gang was the most favored contender for the Pro League spot. They, along with Excelerate Gaming, made it to the Challenger League Finals and were set to face off against each other, with the loser to face Noble esports. This was where the team of former pros would begin to falter, as they would go on to lose both series 1-2. After this let down, Elephant Gang would begin to disassemble as some of the players from the core roster did not wish to continue playing Rainbow Six: Siege competitively. However, the team was given, to some extent, a second chance to prove themselves. The former roster of Obey Alliance disassembled after their auto-relegation from Pro League at the end of Season 8. Elephant Gang was automatically qualified for the US Nationals Finals as they were the team that lost to Obey when they qualified for the event.
Elephant Gang was placed in the Eastern Conference bracket and were determined to play against Cloud9. In Las Vegas, Cloud9 won swiftly against Elephant Gang 2-0, and the light for eGang went out with it. One of the major differences between these two teams was one had a world class organization while the other did not. This is where, I believe, the biggest difference between the two teams lies. The Cloud9 Rainbow Six team currently lives in a team house where they can interact with each other on a daily basis and bond as a team. They can develop more as a squad, especially compared to teams that do not have a team house (or teams that have only communicated online). For Cloud9, this also means increased interaction with their coach and immediate fixes to issues that arise in game, along with activities for team bonding outside of playing Rainbow Six. Additionally, when they switch to a LAN setting, it is less of a major change when compared to other teams because they are already comfortable playing near each other.
Elephant Gang however consistently sought for representation throughout their time both in Challenger League and for the US Nationals Finals. Unfortunately, Elephant Gang was unable to obtain representation, which meant that even the most basic benefits that come with an organization were unavailable to them. Elephant Gang also did not have a coach, which is almost a staple at this point for most professional teams because of how hard it is to both focus on being a player and dissecting the strategy of your opponents on an in depth level. This leads to a team having a harder time competing against another where more support staff are available. Not having an organization also affects the amount of time a team has to prepare for a match. If your main source of income does not come from competing in Rainbow Six, then you also have to devote time somewhere else, which takes away time you could be preparing for a match. Supr specifically referenced this here on Twitter that the team only had a couple of weeks to prepare for the USN Finals.
Regardless of other circumstances, I feel that the match between Cloud 9 and Elephant Gang shows the difference that having a good organization to support you can make. Had Elephant Gang had the proper support staff to help them through the Challenger League season, or at least before the US Nationals, maybe they could have shown that just because they aren’t in Pro League anymore, doesn’t mean that they are not capable of competing at such a level.