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"[The Major is] just another way to improve the team": Chiefs chalking Charlotte up to valuable international experience

Chiefs played well, but are out. They're taking it all in stride.

Photo via Ubisoft/Eric Ananmalay

Even before the third day started, Chiefs ESC were the first official casualties of the group stages at the Six Charlotte Major. The Oceanic squad had miraculously run the Korean gauntlet in the APAC Playoffs to qualify for the Major, but failed to secure a single point across their first two days.

The lack of points are particularly painful when, at the end of day two, Chiefs had the top two players at the event in terms of Entry K-D, with Ethan Picard at +8 and Trent “1343” Rose at +7.

The team is well aware of its shortcomings, with Raine “1123” Wright acknowledging his team’s failure to close out advantages.

“Our mid-to-late game is really poor,” he admitted. “When we verse teams internationally, they really take advantage of that.”

Looking at the results, Chiefs have played reasonably well, especially for a team that only had two weeks of preparation before the start of the season and especially for having taken two rookies straight to a Major. They lost both their games to BDS, but only 4-7 and 5-7, pushed Astralis all the way to 5-7 as well, and looked good against Wolves despite a 4-7 loss.

“A lot of these games have been close and we know that we’re more than capable of, you know, make it out of this group stage,” added Dgtl.

Ethan added that his team’s lack of experience was a likely factor that “definitely shows late-round” and hinders them from closing out matches.

“We definitely throw a lot of rounds and I’m not happy about that, but it is what it is and it’s something we need to work on,” concluded Ethan.

Despite the lack of experience leading to poor decisions in the closing stages of rounds, both Chiefs rookies, Lachlan “Boydy” Boyd and Kelton “bouncinballz” Mclachlan said that nerves were not a factor in Charlotte. Dgtl chimed in, stating that any nerves would have evaporated “as soon as we started winning rounds that we know we’re more than capable [to win]”.

The Charlotte Major, then, was an experience-gathering mission for Chiefs (like it was Dire Wolves). Prior to the event, Ethan had said that the team’s goal this stage was not necessarily to qualify for the Major. Instead, just steady improvements as a team were desired.

“[The Major is] just another way to improve the team,” he said in Charlotte. “We’re obviously not coming here to lose, but we’re using this as a stepping stone … our prep for this event was pretty woeful, so yeah, we did the best we could in the short period of time we had.”

A bootcamp, said Dgtl, would have helped his team acclimatize to not only the other regions’ play styles, but also a LAN environment as the Chiefs -- somewhat counterintuitively -- struggled to play on LAN with no latency versus online with 150-180ms of latency.

“Online, like, completely changes your play style,” explained Boydy. “Sometimes holding angles, like, on ping completely dictates what positions you can hold and how you take things. Cos like, on LAN, obviously like you can hold open-ended angles easily.”

Having been so far removed from normal latency in their APAC South games for over a year, the mentality shift to play on LAN is something that the Chiefs need to get used to in the future.

Something else that the Chiefs need to get used to is an increased level of strictness during practice, said Dgtl. They are now well aware of the quality of North American and European Siege and Dgtl has set the goal for his team to be more aware of when they’re “getting away with things” during scrimmages in APAC.

But practicing back home will not be easy for them. APAC North teams were the primary scrimmage partners for an APAC South team like the Chiefs, but there was misguided criticism and hate thrown their way from APAC North teams and fans during the APAC Playoffs ping drama. According to Chiefs coach Todd Francis, who spoke to SiegeGG before the Major, this has led to an apparent blacklisting of Chiefs by “half of [teams from] Korea and Japan”.

Catch Chiefs against Astralis and Wolves on the final day of the Charlotte Major group stage.