To say that Elevate’s Six Masters season was disappointing would arguably be an understatement. After riding the high of their runner-up finish in Pro League Season 11, the team came crashing down just three months later. However, ahead of Oceanic Nationals, they’re going back to their old ways to try and reap the same successes.
Elevate’s fall from grace in Six Masters couldn’t have come at a worse time. They finished second in Pro League Season 11, but due to the pandemic, were unable to go to the APAC LAN they rightfully deserved to attend.
Despite their misfortune of qualifying for their first major LAN and missing out, the Elevate roster still had hopes for continuing their form in Six Masters. However, it never eventuated. A shaky start against LFO set the tone for their season, where they only managed to win one best of two series — against Kanga — and lost crucial maps to the likes of Sinister, Ferox, and Okami to miss the playoffs by a long margin.
According to Raine “Dgtl” Wright, Elevate’s change of plan between seasons led to their downfall. They tried to get too ‘fancy,’ and it came back to bite them.
“We didn’t have the most stellar performance last season. After Pro League Season 11, we wanted to change the way that we played to build on what we had and become a bit more unpredictable. We wanted to be more present in the game — adapt to our opponents,” he told Snowball.
“It didn’t work out because it gave us way too much work. That way to play Siege was too hard for us, so we’re going back to our old ways. We’ve had a lot more success already, so as long as we stick to our guns, we will be strong.”
You’d think after their strong start in their freshman season, Elevate’s 2020 could have only gotten better. Things only went downhill after the APAC LAN for Season 11 was canceled though. For such a young roster, missing out on the opportunity of international experience was a big hit.
“It is what it is. You can’t really help the situation. It would have been awesome to go to LAN and compete the best in our region. Obviously for me it was my first season of Pro League, and for the other boys, it would have been their first APAC LAN. It would have meant a lot.
“It would have been more competition. Just because we didn’t go to LAN doesn’t mean we weren’t practicing or anything. If that LAN goes ahead, it just gives us another chance to make the Six Invitational and the next Major.”
It would have been the perfect prize to cap off Dgtl’s first foray into the top flight of Oceanic Siege. After turning 18 mid-way through 2019, Pro League Season 11 was his first chance to play at the top level. He already had plenty of experience with the Extricity roster that was tearing up the U-18 scene, something he looks back on fondly.
“I’ve definitely been lucky, thankful, grateful. A lot of these younger players find it hard to get a team with four others that are all really devoted to the game, and have their head wrapped around the game the right way. We [the Extricity roster] all had the same outlook, and we were just willing to stick together, and that makes for a better environment overall,” he said.
“It’s a shame how things ended [with Six Masters 2019]. We all kind of hung up the boots, I focused on Year 12, and we went our separate ways.”
However, back into the present, things needed to change at Elevate after Six Masters. They weren’t going to blow up like Extricity did, they just needed to tinker with the formula slightly. Enter Joe “Hotshot” Deane.
Hotshot isn’t a household name in Siege. He’s not a big name pickup that can instantly fill the shoes of stalwart veteran Luke “Redd” Cini — at least on first glance. Hotshot has the potential to become something bigger though, with Dgtl stating he already has the attitude and the mechanics to become ANZ Siege’s next big thing.
“We knew that we had to change some things up. Redd chose to leave — he has been playing Siege for ages, and he wanted to go a separate way. Even though as a core we were already going to start things fresh, getting in Hotshot really solidified that mentality. We needed someone who is ready to compete at the highest level — not just settle for 5-6th.
“We definitely value picking up someone with really good knowledge of the game and attitude, and Hotshot is that player. It’s amazing with such little experience that he has, he’s able to understand the game at the level he does.”
It might not eventuate in this season of Oceanic Nationals, but it’s definitely setting up Elevate to become the prospect of the future they demonstrated they could be in Pro League Season 11. Their relatively young roster is set in for the long haul, and they’ve still got their sights set high for 2021.
“You always want to opt in for the long-term investment. We are all still learning. For me and Worthy, it’s only our second season [at the top level]. With Hotshot, this roster is definitely a long-term thing. His knowledge of the game will only increase as he gets more experience,” Dgtl said.
- Read more: Rainbow Six Oceanic Nationals 2020 revealed
There begs the question though: how will Elevate perform in the here and now? It might be naive to say so, but there’s a chance they’ll be underrated after their poor Six Masters season. In Oceanic Nationals, the stage is set for one of the better comeback stories in Siege.
“I don’t blame teams if they underrate us. I definitely don’t believe in that mentality, but I can reason with people and understand why they think that given we’ve come off a bad season. But, seriously, who doesn’t love an underdog story? If teams underestimate us, that’s on them. All that matters to us is getting the win at the end of the day.”
With the chance in format, the cards could fall in Elevate’s favour a bit more in the best-of-one format. They ended up drawing a lot of their series in Six Masters. If they can turn those best-of-two ties into best-of-one wins in Oceanic Nationals, they can be a threat to the top of the table.
Speaking of threats, Dgtl has his eyes firmly set on Wildcard. Understandably so given they won Six Masters last season after only dropping one map. Despite going through some roster changes, they are still by in-large the best team in ANZ Siege. But they aren’t gods.
“Wildcard [are the biggest threat in Oceanic Nationals]. I know they lost Ethan, and he was an integral part of their roster, but I’m sure they’ve got a suitable replacement for him. They’ll find someone, take them under their wing, and teach them the game. However, I still think they are beatable, without a doubt.”
The break might have given Elevate time to reflect on their shortcomings in Six Masters. However, the team has been itching to get back on stage and prove their worth. They have almost nothing to lose in this season of Oceanic Nationals, and for Dgtl, it’s an exciting chance to show just what he and the rest of the lineup are truly made of.
“I’m just feeling pumped. I haven’t played [an official] in ages, and I just want to yell. Scrims are good, but nothing really matches a Pro League game. We’re just hoping for the best.”
Elevate will face off against the Pittsburgh Knights in their first game of Oceanic Nationals on September 16 at 9pm AEST. You can catch the action live on the Rainbow Six Twitch channel.