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The supr swansong: Soniqs to rely on 2021 experience at Berlin Major ahead of supr retirement

The Berlin Major will mark the last set of games for supr. How will the Soniqs handle his impending departure?

Image: Ubisoft/Joao F.

The Soniqs are back.

After a remarkable 2021, where they finished in the top four of the NAL every single stage, won the NAL Finals, and finished in the top six at the Six Invitational 2022, the 2022 season started off poorly.

Soniqs lost their first three games 1-7, 3-7, 0-7, and 2-7 to Astralis, Parabellum, XSET and beastcoast in a shocking two opening weeks. While they looked better in the subsequent play days, the damage was done and they finished in eighth place -- eight points adrift of a Charlotte Major berth.

“I think there was definitely some burnout,” said Soniqs captain Seth "supr" Hoffman of the drop in form in an interview with SiegeGG. “We just… basically non-stop played [in the 2021 season]. … I also think we, or I, definitely underestimated the impact of attacker repick.”

While supr released a 48-minute video in Feb. 2022 discussing the strength of the then-new feature, he revealed that the Soniqs erroneously believed that with it they could “run back the same maps” that they dominated the NAL on in 2021. As a result, despite correctly identifying that it would give attackers an advantage, the Soniqs “undervalued” how big that advantage would be.

“Some of the teams that maybe struggled on attack before were all of a sudden really good at it,” said Supr.

The Soniqs’ domination also meant that they were the target for every team heading into the 2022 season, a sentiment echoed in APAC by Elevate’s Paramin "sprOnigiri" Suwanwattana. After all, it’s easier to climb to the top than to stay there.

“It’s always easier to be the underdog,” agreed supr. “We walked into this year as the favourite and obviously we didn’t start out that way, but I kind of think at least Stage 2 we were clearly, probably the best -- if not the second-best -- team.”

While they came back roaring for Stage 2, so poor was the performance in Stage 1 that supr stated on stream in Jun. 2022 that the Soniqs would make roster changes if they failed to qualify for the Berlin Major. But supr announced on Jul. 28 that he was calling time on his playing career, even after the Soniqs qualified.

“I was going to leave no matter what. I informed the Soniqs basically when Stage 2 started that I just didn’t enjoy playing as much as I once did,” revealed supr when asked about his comment on stream. “In regards to if anybody else would have been changed… I can’t say. When I said that there will be changes, I was more so referring to myself.”

The role of attacker repick also played a part in his decision, with supr stating that it had made the IGL role redundant and that the Soniqs will likely not have a dedicated IGL going forwards.

“I think attacker repick, for me, ruined the game, basically,” he elaborated. “It removes a lot of in-game leading, really … You just need people who can make plays and that’s what we’re gonna go for.”

Supr also asserted that even if the Soniqs won the Berlin Major, he will still be retiring from playing competitive Siege. His departure will certainly leave a significant hole in the roster, but he stressed that he would not have left if did not believe in the team’s ability to perform well even without him. The team, he said, will not be reverting to its eUnited days of pottering about in the bottom of the standings.

“That’s certainly not to say there won’t be some bumps in the road,” he cautioned. “There’s never been a Soniqs without me … we have a real high energy group and I’m not, so it’s kind of me calming guys down a lot.”

As a result, the Six Berlin Major will be the last event for supr as a player and he is looking to mark his swansong with a win by bringing all the international experience from 2021 to bear. The meta may have changed and attacker repick may have diminished the IGL role, but the Soniqs will have three events worth of experience to rely on.

“Any experience you get, it’s always gonna be valuable,” said supr. “You learn how the other regions play, you learn how some of the players play, what to expect, you’re not going in blind … The metas change, the teams change, how good they are, but the experience is invaluable.”

Catch the Soniqs on the international stage again at the Berlin Major, which will run from Aug. 15 to 21, and read up on everything you need to know about the event.