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“It took us a long time to find a team style that suited us": FishLike on Nina’s signing and Pyon’s current position on the team

Manchester will be SCARZ's fourth international major event since returning to Siege.

Banner Image: Ubisoft / João F. @itsmeERROR

Since SCARZ’s promotion to Japan’s top flight, the Asian roster has dominated the region with an iron fist. Back-to-back Japanese champions and the latter Nipponese team to reach the quarter-finals of a Major, the black and red roster qualified for their fourth international competition in a row after a first-place finish in the initial split of the Japan League 2024.

Despite the team’s recent results in and outside Japan, SCARZ made the squad’s first roster change since June 2022 as Yuusuke “Pyon” Sashima was benched. Instead, the organization signed Nina “Nina” Abe, who finished as Copenhagen’s best player in Phase 1 with a SiegeGG rating of 1.26.

Nina’s signing for SCARZ and Pyon’s current role

SCARZ’s first move in almost two years came after the team’s underwhelming performance at the Six Invitational 2024, where the players couldn’t win any of their games in what statistically was the weakest group in the competition.

“We had the problem of not being able to get attacks from the previous Atlanta Major in Brazil, and I thought that the fact that we could not successfully remedy this problem before the Invitational was the reason why we could not win,” admitted Souma “FishLike” Kitamura at a pre-BLAST R6 Major Manchester written interview with SiegeGG.

Shortly after the team’s performance in Brazil, the organization approached the former NORTHEPTION player, who would bring explosivity and aggressivity to the roster. “We thought that the meta of Siege is more about winning head-on shootouts than increasing the amount of brainpower used,” the Japanese explained.

To make space for Nina in the starting squad, the team decided to bench Pyon. On paper, the Japanese was the most experienced player in the squad, with him joining Zepto in June 2018. Almost four years after joining the purple organization, SCARZ signed him alongside his teammates. Seen as one of the main pillars in the Japanese Siege community, the decision to bench him was met with surprise by the fans.

However, Pyon is still an important member of the team. With the Japanese now being a sixth player, the 25-year-old is doing his best to help from outside the server. “Pyon has been giving us good advice from a coach's point of view, and he has been giving us advice and pointing out things that we didn't understand,” FishLike admitted.

Nina’s adaptation to SCARZ

The Japanese roster wasn’t the only squad making changes heading to Year 9. However, it’s slightly more difficult to make such a move after competing at the Six Invitational 2024 as the team has limited time to find and adapt to its new playstyle.

According to FishLike, the team only had two weeks to practice after returning from Brazil. During that short amount of time, the Japanese champions worked on adapting Nina while also improving their attacks, which was their main concern heading to the new season. “We had a problem of not being able to get an attack from the Atlanta Majors before the Brazilian Invitational,” said FishLike.

With the release of Operation Deep Freeze, Siege’s meta put attacks on the eye of the hurricane. The state of some defenders and the nerf introduced to fragmentation grenades following Atlanta shook every team’s operator lineups.

SCARZ wasn’t an exception. Against Soniqs and FURY, the Japanese could put their enemies between a rock and a hard place as they pushed the Americans to overtime on Chalet and even won a map against the Thai squad. 

One day after the team’s defeat against the Asia League 2023 champions, the team’s attacking flaws were first shown against LOS. Following a rock-solid win on Nighthaven Labs, the Japanese could only win two of their twelve attacks on Skyscraper and Oregon. Eventually, the Brazilians won both maps by 7-5 and 7-2 scores.

Unfortunately for the Japanese roster, the team couldn’t fix these issues before playing against Team Falcons as they fell against the MENA League roster on Bank and Border after only winning four of their eleven attacks.

SCARZ’s start to the season with Nina wasn’t what the team expected as the Japanese champions lost two of their first four games.

“It took us a long time to find a team style that suited us, and our sub, Pyon, told us that our current style of play did not suit us, and we were able to revise it and make corrections in time for the second half of the season,” FishLike admitted.

Following the team’s defeat against VITE, SCARZ climbed up to first on the Japan League standings and eventually won the playoffs following two victories against IGZIST and KINOTROPE gaming.

Heading to Manchester, the team’s goal is to make the semi-finals as they already reached the quarter-finals last year. “We have lost 8 consecutive games at the World Championships, so we will do our best to win one game and make it to the Top 4,” FishLike concluded.

If SCARZ finished among the four best teams of the Major, the Japanese lineup would be the first Asian roster to do so since the Six Sweden Major played in November 2021. Back then, DWG KIA were one bullet away from qualifying for the tournament’s grand finals.

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