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Flynn: “I want to do the fans proud”

We caught up with the newest member of the Pro League casting talent, Rob "Flynn" Flynn, at the 2019 Six Invitational to ask what that event is like and his opinions on the upcoming operators and balancing changes.

Flynn began his casting career covering the Rainbow Six Canadian Circuit, the first National R6 tournament in the country's history, just over a year ago which culminated in a LAN final during the Six Invitational 2018 won by players such as Davide "FoxA" Bucci and Jeffrey "EvlWaffle" Haworth. Following this, he began casting the North American qualifiers for tournaments such as the Challenger League and the Six Major before finally getting his big break to cast the DreamHack Montreal 2018 tournament alongside Devin "mzo" Becker and Parker "Interro" Mackay.

The DreamHack Montreal talent crew via @DreamHackR6

Since then he has been involved in a number of other LAN events such as the Euro Cup 2018 in Milan, the US Nationals 2018 in Las Vegas and now, following this exposure, he was invited to cast the biggest event in R6 history, the 2019 Six Invitational. Since that, following mzo taking a break for the second half of Season 9 due to health-related reasons, Flynn has now landed the primetime Pro League casting gig -- albeit only temporarily, for now.

Flynn and mzo at the Six Invitational 2019 via @mjayx_

We spoke to him to ask about his experience at the event and what he think of the future of R6:

What do you think of this Invitational and your experience casting here?

I came here last year as a spectator, I was provided free transportation for doing the Canadian Nationals, the first real run of that. So I got to see what the venue was like last year and experience a little bit of behind the scenes action having known Parker (Interro) back then as well. The whole experience this time has just been tenfold, I don't think I could have imagined having ingrained the week of the last year’s Invitationals being some of the best moments of my life and this year is the same thing all over again just intensified by the number of fans who have come out.

The organisation by Ubisoft and ESL has improved greatly on top of what was already great last year. The venue is incredible, I just can’t imagine that we can pull out this kind of audience, this kind of reception and this kind of setup inside an AHL (American Hockey League) arena - as a Canadian that kinda that was really a point of pride for me, that we were able to do this inside a hockey arena, it just strikes a nerve for me, it’s just really amazing.

The main stage at the 2019 Six Invitational via @mjayx_

Casting it was… I got the call like a month and a half ago saying that Ghassan (Milosh) was gonna be on the desk and they needed someone to fill in and my name came up. It kinda shocked me for a minute that I was going to be the person having to a) replace someone who is a figure-stone in a lot of people’s lives as far as it comes to watching professional Siege and all I wanted to do was come in and not be a distraction, not be a disappointment, I wanted to do people like Stuart and Carrie and everyone at Ubisoft and ESL who gave me this opportunity. I want to do them proud and I want to do the fans proud. I never want to be the person who’s a distraction or who is detracting from the gameplay because that’s what we’re all fans of.

How have you found it casting alongside mzo?

I have done a couple of events with him before, the first time we ever actually met and got to cast together was at DreamHack Montreal so we’re back in the same city where it all started back in September. That was a really fun event, that was my proving ground really. That was my first chance with ESL to really kind of prove to the general audience who watch the Pro League and don’t really watch many of the smaller competitions what I had to bring and mzo was a perfect partner.

Obviously, at DreamHacks we cycle through partners so I was with Parker for some games, I was with mzo for some games, we went back and forth on that but mzo has been great to work with, he’s an incredible analyst and he’s very lenient on what he’ll let you do as a partner. He will let me stretch out into analyst work if I want to, he will take over some play by play if he wants to, we have a very simple even flow and the chemistry was right on point right on back to September and DreamHack then in Italy for the Euro Cup and then now again here in Montreal.

The full staff picture at DreamHack Montreal via @ItsBK201

Which teams or players really stood out for you in this competition?

That’s a tough one. A couple of teams which stood out to me were LeStream and NiP, both going out in two games. We knew by Tuesday that they weren’t gonna make it and we knew before their second game ended that they weren’t going very far and I was disappointed because I saw a lot of hope in both of those teams coming in especially in the online qualifier runs that both of them had to make. You go through a grind-y process like that only for it to culminate in an 0-2 out in groups on a Tuesday without even making it to the main stage is kinda disappointing but understandable given their circumstances. 

Fnatic and NORA-Rengo though, you can’t talk about this entire event without talking about APAC. The recognition, the respect and the skill that they have and deserve is remarkable and I think that no one will ever sleep on APAC ever again after this.

Kizoku via @ESLRainbowSix

We’re about to see two new operators enter the competitive scene - Kaid and Nomad. What are your thoughts and how do you think they’re going to affect the rest of the Pro League season?

The second half of Season 9 will be interesting because it will be a new meta, no new maps though so we’re still sticking with the same seven so it’s a bit of a changeup. It’ll shake up the way the current maps are played and obviously, it might take a few maps out of the common rotation, we might be seeing maps like Oregon a little less simply because of its rigid nature and Kaid’s ability to stall out especially when Thatcher is banned.

The map and site pick rates during the 2019 Six Invitational showing Oregon as already one of the least picked maps via the SiegeGG Infographic

As far as Nomad is concerned I’ve heard a lot of people whining about Nomad, and really hyping up how broken she’s gonna be, and how terrible it's gonna be, and how they need to nerf her to the ground and auto-ban her just like Lion, and I really wish people would dial that back a little bit, because when you look at the actual utility and what she provides, all it is a bit of a shortcut. Thatcher’s a bit of a shortcut as well, you toss down an EMP and all the electronics go away. When Thatcher’s banned there are other options to be had they just require a little more teamwork and a little more utility and it’s the same thing as Nomad you’re just gonna have to get a little more creative on flanking routes when it comes to being on the defensive side. I’ve sat in on plenty of scrims with Nomad already and it has not been the big disastrous thing that everyone thinks it’s going to be.

Once she gets in Nomad will be a situational pick, probably about 20% play rate - may be a little bit higher of rip just because she’s newer but the ban rate will also be higher because people don't even want to try but I’m guessing that by the end of the season Nomad will be at 20%, Kaid will be about 35%, the bans will probably equalise about mid-way and by the end of the season it won’t be that big of a deal.

What do you think of the recently announced balancing changes such as the removal of the Ash ACOG?

You see some of the Ash players in the Pro League right now not utilising an ACOG, they’re using a 1x sight or whichever is their preference and I think that’s a good change for Ash. I think Ubisoft, after looking at the three-speeds on defence around a year and a half ago about whether them having ACOGs should be allowed, they then are looking at the attacking side and said: “well if we’re gonna do it to one side, might as well keep things fair”. So I like the step they’re going in, I’d like to see the numbers they’re going in when they come out. The G36C is not a terrible option any more because there was no advantage to taking a G36 - lower fire rate, lower damage - now you have the advantage of an ACOG and an angled grip for faster ads so there are other options you can bring with an Ash.

As far as the other balancing changes which got announced I really like the Glaz change, that has been pretty universally been pretty hyped up and people have been pretty appreciative to Ubisoft for it. The Lion change still seems a little soft to me but I’ll have to wait and see how that plays out. We also don’t know when that is releasing, the same thing with the Glaz release. Yeah, I think the balancing changes overall will be good for the scene and I think there’ a lot of operators out there that have stayed in a very comfortable position being dropped down a peg overall.

Do you have any closing thoughts, things you’re looking forward to or messages to fans?

As far as looking forward to things in the future, I obviously can’t talk about a lot of the things that are happening in the future because of contracts and NDAs and stuff. As far as messages to the fans I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s been supportive of me coming in. I know it’s a weird situation, everyone’s used to the Pro League four but there are some changes that are happening all the time and there is some new and up-and-coming talent including myself and there are others out there who deserve a chance to show what they really have on a big stage. The Invitational is a big leap, don’t get me wrong but I hope I did everyone proudly, I hope everyone enjoyed and I hope we can turn this into a few more large events.

Flynn at the US Nationals 2018


Since this interview was conducted Flynn has since joined the Pro League casting team to replace mzo, which you can read about here, or you can check out our interview with his co-caster, Interro, below. For more interviews and Pro League coverage keep an eye out right here at SiegeGG.