Image: Ubisoft/Kirill B.
Elevate announced on Oct. 2 that Atibordee "Sapper" Noichan has stepped down from the playing roster due to "personal reasons" and will be "taking a break from competition". Team substitute Pirapat "AnGryX" Pimthanapoonporn will be standing in for Sapper in the meantime.
This is the second such mid-stage announcement in Stage 3, following Paul "Hyper" Kontopanagiotis with DarkZero Esports in the NAL.
Elevate captain Paramin "sprOnigiri" Suwanwattana shed some further light on the situation in correspondence with SiegeGG, saying that "[Sapper] felt his mentality is not in the good shape and he felt its not good for the team if he play with that mood".
Onigiri elaborated that "everyone agreed" with Sapper's decision to step down for the time being and said that "players mentality is our first priority".
His stand-in replacment, AngryX, sports no small amount of experience playing at this level.
While his last game in APAC South was in the Stage 1 APAC Playoffs, a 2-0 win against Chiefs ESC, he was a mainstay in the Elevate roster in the 2021 season. However, he only had a SiegeGG Rating above 1.00 in Stage 1 that year -- a 1.03 -- with a league-bottom 0.64 in Stage 2 and a seventh-lowest 0.86 in Stage 3.
Conversely, Sapper has been on top of his game -- especially recently -- and has been a major driving force for Elevate in Stage 3. After three play days, he has the third-highest SiegeGG Rating in all of APAC South, as well as the fourth-highest K-D, third-highest KOST percentage, joint-most clutches, and joint-second most defuser plants.
Elevate will likely feel a heavy impact with the swap and could miss out on the November Major as a result. The Thai titans took a surprise derby loss against FURY last week in regulation time and are yet to play their other rivals for the two Major qualification places, Dire Wolves and Gaimin Gladiators.
Owing to its six-week and seven-team format this stage, APAC South is currently on a mid-stage break. Elevate have a further break on the next play day on Oct. 13, however, and only return on Oct. 15 against Wildcard Gaming.
The extended break should thus provide Elevate and their coach Gabriel "LaXInG" Mirelez time to reconfigure with AngryX in place of Sapper, and each day of practice will be vital to the team's hopes of making it to the November Major.
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