Glen “Lunarmetal” Suryasaputra has grown a lot as a player, and as a leader, since his last appearance at the Six Invitational back in 2017. Leading Giants Gaming to the major international event was one achievement, but now, the rest of South East Asia is hot on their tails.
Walking around the Place Bell in 2020 had a different feeling for Lunarmetal. While he wasn’t able to play on stage like Asia-Pacific compatriots Fnatic, he felt more accomplished about himself than when he came over as a spectator in 2019.
Giants Gaming (previously Aerowolf) have always been on the cusp of major international events, only to be gate kept by teams like Nora Rengo, Fnatic, and Mantis FPS (now Cloud9). However, this time, they broke through, with an emphatic Pro League Season 10 run that saw them make it to the semi-finals for the first time in their history.
Only Lunarmetal and teammate Adrian “Ysaera” Wui were here three years ago as players, and while it’s not their first time, it may as well be.
“It’s my second Invitational — but it’s been such a long time that it may as well have been our first,” he said. “We finally were able to put names to faces and we went into this with certain expectations, and I can’t say that we really met them, but it’s been a very huge lesson so far.”
The lessons Giants learned in Montreal were hard taught. The South East Asian squad were knocked out without winning a map, losing to Latin America’s MIBR and Team Liquid. However, even through the losses, the team came out with invaluable experience, and a wake up call.
“The way we’ve been playing is very sheltered,” said Lunarmetal. “What works in APAC doesn’t work at a higher level — not to a consistent enough level that we can keep using the same strats.
“I think this is the first event where technically we’ve been very far behind from other teams and felt it, so it’s been a huge learning curve for us.”
Against the bigger dogs of Latin America, and even in scrims against European and North American teams at the event, the Giants weren’t pulling the results they were hoping for. The APAC style of Siege doesn’t hold up at the top level when the best teams make few mistakes.
“I’m going to use EU and NA teams as an example, but their playstyle is a lot more structured in a way like they rely on a lot more ‘functional’ stuff. Things like good droning, good trading, positioning, crossfires — it comes very naturally to them, but it’s not something that’s very established in APAC.
“Our playstyle revolves around taking advantage of those openings they give and exploiting openings, but against a team with so much structure, there’s less to exploit, which makes us play a lot worse.”
Giants Gaming were behind the eight-ball from the start though. After losing star fragger Patrick “MentalistC” Tan to Fnatic after the Pro League Season 10 finals, they were forced to scramble together a replacement for the team.
Although his long-time teammate was on the other side of the field for the first time, Lunarmetal couldn’t help but feel proud of how far Mentalist has come.
“I’ve known him since he was 15,” he said, laughing. “I felt proud of him before seeing him on stage — the moment that I heard about the offer from Fnatic — I was very happy for it. We get a lot of questions about ‘do you feel jealous? Do you feel bitter that he left the moment we started doing well?’ but honestly, if that offer came to any of us, anyone would have taken it.
“The prospect is so good to join a team of the same calibre as Fnatic, and for someone that I’ve known for such a long time, I’m just so happy for him. It might be hard to understand, but there’s no bitter feelings.”
However, there’s one aching regret for Lunarmetal. Seeing how far his old teammate has gone under new guidance has made him reflect on how he’s helping his own region grow.
“The only thing was, with him moving to Fnatic, the world really saw his potential, and my part, as kind of a leader, there’s still so much I can do in coaching and nurturing and bringing the best out of players.
“He’s doing a lot better with Fnatic than he was doing with us, so it’s more of a case of I have to work harder to bring up new talent to let them shine.”
South East Asia is starting to permeate the talent for Lunarmetal, and other leaders in wider APAC Siege, to build a solid base for the region to grow. From the likes of Xavier almost beating Fnatic to make it to SI, to even new Giants recruit Jordan “Jrdn” Cheng, SEA Siege is just getting started.
“SEA really has a lot of potential,” he said. “I say that every season — that SEA is improving as a region — but I really mean it. You’ve started to see a lot of teams catching up on structure, on strats.
“You go back one year, and you see SEA teams and they don’t really know what they’re doing. You look now, and they have structure, they have support, they have live drone entry, they’re starting to pick up on a lot of things that the best teams in EU and NA are doing.”
“Right now, Jrdn is in his third month [with us], and he’s already starting to show a lot of signs of improvement, so I’m expecting him in the next couple of months to reach Mentalist’s level, or even further.”
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword for Lunarmetal. Although seeing his region improve is always heartening, it means that he’s working harder than ever to maintain his spot at the top. However, there’s still a long way before SEA teams can start to learn off the lessons they got at SI.
“I’m a bit scared, to put it that way. We definitely won’t be able to keep our top position in SEA very easily, but I still think SEA teams need a lot more structure.
“I talk about how Giants lack in structure, but all the other teams are even further behind. They need structure, they need good leaders to put them in the right direction.”
Once the fundamentals are in place though, Lunarmetal is sure the trickle-down will start helping out the rest of the region, and his job as a leader for not just Giants, but SEA Siege as a whole, will be more crucial than ever.
“I know a lot of people, looking up to us, they really try to emulate the way we play,” he said. “When you try and force a strat too early that you aren’t ready for on a mechanical level, they need to work on fundamentals first. Even more so than us.
“After those fundamentals are done — like they know how to drone, they know how to establish crossfire, good positioning, take objectives, then they can start emulating a lot around the way we play, and even other teams like Fnatic.”
While he bears the burden of an entire region on his shoulders, his focus is on his team at all times. Hitting the Invitational was their goal, and they achieved that. However, they aren’t getting complacent, and they’re aiming even higher this year.
“Moving forward, we’re not happy with the way things are. We want to qualify for the next SI for sure, but we also want to be number one in APAC again. I know right now we kind of have the title, but we are not on the same level of Fnatic as of SI.
“Personally, I need to do less so the team can do more. It sounds weird, but I’m the type of guy who tries to do everything himself, but it’s really not working out. It’s an easy enough goal to accomplish, but it’s still something that I have to look out for.”
Lunarmetal and his Giants Gaming squad return to Rainbow Six Season 11 Pro League against QConfirm on March 24 at 10pm AEDT. You can catch the action on the Rainbow 6 SEA Twitch channel.