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Team Bliss carry on the Australian legacy

Team Bliss are here to stay.

Banner Image: Ubisoft / @ericananmalay

In sports, you never know when you favorite team or player is in its peak form. Nobody knew that almost twenty years after Fernando Alonso's second world championship, the Spaniard would go through ten winless years. In football, it was impossible to predict how things would look for Chelsea two years after winning the Champions League.

Fnatic and Australia in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege is the equivalent to those examples. Six years ago, after Mindfreak's Top 8 finish at the Six Invitational 2018, the orange brand decided to pick up the Aussies. It was a huge move.

Oceania was thriving. Back in the day, times were simpler. The region was growing. Wildcard Gaming, Elevate, FURY, and Knights joined them. Eventually, Fnatic left Oceania and moved to Japan following a Top 6 finish at the Six Invitational 2020. It was the region's peak, nobody knew it would go downfall from there.

Eventually, Fnatic could never complete the Japan dream. Despite qualifying for the Six Invitational 2021, Wildcard Gaming couldn't travel to Paris, France, due to the pandemic. The same happened to Knights, who couldn't travel to the Six Mexico Major.

When such a situation happens, there's no other option: you must keep playing. Regardless of how tough the challenge looks like, despite the lack of investment, the dream is always there: becoming the next group of people to look up for.

As years went by, the region started to look in the past rather than looking to the future. Seeing some events going abruptedly bad as teams get slapped at international competitions, it really must be discouraging. Not to mention the quality of the scrimmages and the lack of rosters you can practice with. When Ranked is your main source of training, there's no progress.

When things don't go well in the present and the results aren't the desired ones, we find shelter in nostalgia. At some point, watching highlights of the past seems more appealing. It feels incredible remembering Matthew "Acez" McHenry's Ela play on Oregon against Evil Geniuses, or the Australians' run at the Six Invitational 2021. It's great remembering how things used to be.

Fnatic's departure from the Rainbow Six Siege scene in late 2023 was discouraging. Seeing Etienne "Mag" Rousseau leaving the orange organization after six years was extremely sad. He was the last piece remaining from that Australian core that made us feel like everything was possible and that anyone could become a pro one day and play among the crème de la crème of Siege.

But right after Fnatic's departure from the game, Oceania's next generation of players showed up. It had been on the making for a while, but some people struggled to see it. Six years after Mindfreak's win against Team Liquid, another group of players has put Australia on the map: Team Bliss.

The pink organization has been the target of a lot of criticism this year. The team's first international event was met with a lot of discouraging words from fans and viewers, as the Australians were sent home by Varrel.

“Copenhagen was our first international event - and for us, it was a battle on two fronts,” Sageon admitted in a SiegeGG written interview before the start of the Six Invitational 2024. “The first being the elevated level of competition; we had never played such high-level siege; and secondly - getting used to LAN conditions, and event protocol in general,” he added.

It took time, but we could notice the team's adaptation to the international playstyle and its needs at the BLAST R6 Major Atlanta. The team had excelent performances against Wolves Esports and Spacestation Gaming, and were one round away twice from qualifying for the Swiss Stage.

Despite the Australians' performance in Atlanta, some fans blamed the pink organization for stopping Team BDS or MNM Gaming from qualifying for Brazil. Let's be honest, the regional format used to award SI Points may have helped them. But, still, Team Bliss deserved a chance.

In the group stage, Team Bliss lost to FaZe Clan, Wolves Esports, and Spacestation Gaming. Thanks to the team's defeat against DPlus, the roster was allowed to compete from the Lower Bracket. Fans still saw them as the weaker side, like they didn't deserve that spot.

However, Day 2 of the Six Invitational 2024 Playoffs helps the region at turning the page. It's time to stop thinking of Fnatic's fantastic days. Team Bliss' results against FURY and Wolves Esports have put the pink organization among the best eight sides of the world. Oceania is back proudly representing APAC. Australian fans can dream again, right when they needed it the most. Right when their biggest hero stepped down, Team Bliss carries on with Australia's legacy.

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