Team Reciprocity has had its ups and downs in competitive Rainbow Six. Promoted to the Pro Leauge in Season 7 as beastcoast, with Davide "FoxA" Bucci and Alexander "Retro" Lloyd simultaneously sending the Gabriel "LaXInG" Mirelez and Alex "Skys" Magor toting Counter Logic Gaming down to the Challenger League, the four have now become teammates and have been enjoying a lot of success as of late.
The promotion saw the team acquire LaXInG in place of Jeffrey "EvLWaffle" Haworth, and then get signed by titanic North American organisation Cloud9, but the going was tough for the team. Poor plays and numerous questionable in-game decisions saw them struggle to stay in the Pro League in Season 8, but one bright light was their win at DreamHack Montreal 2018 after their mid-season swap of Brandon "Shlongii" Escamilla for Mark "MarkTheShark" Arismendez.
Coming into Season 9, and qualified for the Six Invitational 2019 thanks to their DreamHack victory, the decision to drop Lauren "Goddess" Williams for Skys raised a fair few eyebrows around the scene and saw Cloud9 transfer the roster to Team Reciprocity. Since then, though, the going has been great for the North Americans. The team sits in third place in the NA Pro League, and made it as far as the Semi-Finals of the Six Invitational 2019.
We caught up with LaXInG at the Six Invitational 2019 to talk to him about his team's 2019 journey, the switch to the new organisation, and the second half of Season 9.
How has the tournament been so far?
It’s been going good, it’s been a fun event. The Invitational by itself is like the pinnacle of Siege; it’s everything, so to be here, to compete, to make it to (the) main stage, make it as far as we have? It’s been an amazing event.
You guys made it a lot further than many thought you would after the roster and organisation changes. What do you think was the biggest factor in your success so far?
Biggest success with Reciprocity now versus back then… We did have the roster change you were speaking about, we did swap out Goddess. I’ve said it in the past, you know, on stream or Twitter, that when you have five players on a team that you can rely on -- and this is not to discredit Goddess in any way, shape, or form. Goddess is a phenomenal player, she did exactly what we needed her to do in many different situations, so I just want to clear that up before anyone here starts attacking me for it.
But, going back to what I was saying, you know, you have five players that are all well-rounded, all super-flexible, and then with Skys on top of that and also having the experience (helped). Having the talent and what’s needed and just adding that on top of our already solid team… it’s just made every aspect in play, communication, and chemistry all just mesh extremely well together, and it’s -- in my opinion -- a huge reason as to why our success rate has been as it has been. So, ultimately, I feel that’s the main reason why we’ve been successful this season and at this event.
Obviously going out to G2 Esports is not something to be ashamed of at all, but is there one factor that you could point to for that loss? Was it just their experience, or something else?
Going into those G2 matches… Clubhouse we definitely threw rounds that, I feel, could have boosted our morale and got us really up. We started to get a little tense and go at each other a little bit, so it was definitely a mind-game at that point, just knowing that we had it but we kept giving it (away). Clubhouse was definitely a wash.
Then, we tried to regroup on Coastline, but going into Coastline they knew exactly what we were going to do. They knew the setup we were going to do… like they had it all laid out how they wanted it, and we played into it. And, good for G2 -- G2’s a phenomenal team and I played against them some in the past when they were PENTA (Sports) at Gamescom. They’re a good team, they’re a solid team; those five all really work well together. They’ve been playing now for... I don’t know how many events right now that they’ve been one team, or at least the majority, and they’re a well-rounded team.
Losing to them, it sucks. I hate losing. I wanted to win this all -- I mean, who doesn’t want to win this event or anything in general -- but it’s also a lesson learnt about what we can do different, because it’s like I said; G2 is a really good team. They saw a lot of flaws that we had in our defence or attack, and they really focused on abusing those things that we weren't good at, and it played in their favour and like I said…
Looking back on it, we know what we could have done differently, we know how to tighten up certain things to have a better outcome and have things sway more in our favour. So, I think, overall, everything throughout this event -- and with G2 -- has been a learning experience, and we’re going to keep that going into the Pro League and just try to have as much of a success rate, and just keep going up.
Roles on Reciprocity have been a big talking point. A lot people were very skeptical at the beginning of the season -- Goddess was one of the hard support players and did not do that kind of fragging Skys is renowned for, and Mark was briefly IGL (In-Game Leader). Could you elaborate a bit how it is now?
Going into the Pro League, Mark has been -- and still is -- our IGL. We put him on that because I don’t think fraggers should ever be IGLs because they already have a lot to focus on. They have to focus on the guy in front of them, focus on their surroundings, so it’s really hard to also manage four other people and try to get something down. So, that was my opinion that we move Mark to IGL because he is playing the support role, he’s sitting back, he can be on a drone, and see things more and be more focused.
Skys has had some IGL-ing happen, especially in this event. I think going into this event, Mark hasn’t been the best IGL that he has been in the Pro League due to the fact that it’s his first time actually IGL-ing on LAN -- and not only on LAN, but the biggest event. So, I think there’s definitely some nerves and a little bit of jitters there, which I totally get. Like I said, we still got top four so I’m not complaining, but Skys definitely helped in IGL-ing.
Ultimately, everyone on the team has a say, we all throw ideas. If we all notice something, we’ll call it and we’ll be like “let’s do this, let’s do that”. So, ultimately, Mark is the IGL, Skys has helped but the entire team has so much say when it comes to takes, defense, strats.
And then talking about the different roles, me being flex, and Skys, FoxA, statistically on attack being the fraggers, and Mark, Retro being support, but at any given time -- even on defense -- you’ll see the roles being swapped. You’ll see tons of different people switching between operators and stuff like that, and this goes back to the question you were talking about -- the team, and how it is going to work, and that’s what I’m talking about; the five players that are flexible.
It makes so many different situations; you have endless outcomes because of the amount of different roles everyone can swap to or play. That’s kinda how the team is, and, yeah, a lot of people were skeptical about how we were going to work based on our performances in the past, because truthfully, they were really sloppy. We were fighting to not be relegated, so it’s nice to perform as well as we’ve been doing, and knowing that we could do this and to be top-three in NA, and I guess number one in NA coming to the Invitational, and taking top four here.
You guys used to be with Cloud9 before, and there was a lot of talk about how the organisation didn’t end up being that invested in Siege and has there been more communication and with Reciprocity, and how have they supported you more?
So, I’m not going to sit here and throw any shade on any organisations, you know. I think Cloud9 is a great org and I appreciate everything that they did for my team and myself, you know, getting us the team house, getting us that experience. Yeah, they could have been more invested but it is what it is at the end of the day.
Going to Reciprocity -- phenomenal org. This just goes to anyone out there, don’t just go to any org, whether it’s a big organisation or small org. Really make sure that they’re invested in you, that they want you, that you’re priority because it’s nice to have that and Reciprocity has been more than… I can’t even find a word for it. I think it’s made everyone a lot more happy and wanting to perform, wanting to play better, wanting to do better as a whole.
Knowing that your org really is invested in you, really wants you, and just helps you in every aspect that you can need and want from an organisation… Going to Reciprocity I think is also a huge reason as to why I think we’ve been playing so well on top of (the rest). We not only have ourselves to fall back on, but we also have the organisation to fall back on and help us with anything that we need.
Also, I know we didn’t mention this, but our coach, HOP3Z, has also helped significantly in our success as well. Unfortunately we couldn’t use him at this event because ESL’s rulebook is broken… it’s back-and-forth. One admin says one thing, one admin says another, so, ESL, fix that. But that’s about it with the whole organisation stuff.
Kaid and Nomad, they’ve been in the game for three months, but are now getting introduced into the pro scene. How will they impact the meta?
These comments were made prior to Nomad or Kaid's introduction into the competitive operator pool.
When we first found out that they were going to be banned -- well, put on their little break before they would be able to be used in the Pro League -- we were scrimming with them. We saw more Kaid than we did Nomad (or Ka-yeed however you want to pronounce it -- I’m sure Milosh is going to say something about this!), but yeah I saw Kaid getting used a lot. But, was it game breaking? Not necessarily.
Nomad, her utility… I don’t even know what [its name] is (I don’t even play her) but I can’t really see any use. In the beginning it was really strong because it blew up on impact. It didn’t have that delay charge that it has now before it actually goes (off), so the only way I can see Nomad actually coming in as a factor and actually being useful is, for example, on Bank. If they’re playing behind, they’re playing in the red box (in the basement), if you shoot it down from the open area hatch into red to knock that guy off of C4, anything like that... that’s where I can see it being used. Or even on Oregon; the downstairs Laundry hatch. If you shoot it into the room, Nomad the guy, and go for the plant, he can’t smoke -- that’s the only thing I can see it being used for.
Obviously, Kaid’s pretty straightforward, he’s getting hatches. His main use, in my opinion should be hatches, strictly. Obviously he can do more with it, getting (to electrify) barbed wire and walls, but you will probably mainly see him on hatches for like Clubhouse, Bank… But I don’t think they’re going to make a huge impact. I’ve seen what these new (Burnt Horizon) operators are capable of, and I think those operators will make more of a difference than these (Wind Bastion) operators currently in the game will.
Team Reciprocity’s next game will be tonight, against Excelerate Gaming, in the NA Pro League with the following roster:
Mark "MarkTheShark" Arismendez
Davide "FoxA" Bucci
Alexander "Retro" Lloyd
Gabriel "LaXInG" Mirelez
Alex "Skys" Magor
Anthony "HOP3Z" Lee (Coach)
Thomas "Robn" Linden (Analyst)
Check out our interview with FoxA below to learn more about the team and keep an eye out here at SiegeGG for more interviews and coverage of Team Reciprocity!