It was not all sunshine and roses for Vincent “Vincere” Daniele’s first official week on Wildcard. He was felled by his old team in Noble in the Oceanic Nationals. However, the star recruit isn’t too fazed, instead looking deep into the playoffs to get revenge.
The news of Ethan “Ethan” Picard’s retirement shook the power rankings of ANZ Siege up drastically. The star fragger was the shining light on an already bright Wildcard roster, and was seen as potentially ANZ’s next big export.
However, he had lost his drive, instead moving on to greater things. This left the door ajar for Vincere. While Vincere was known for his fragging capabilities, he had long lived in the shadow of Ethan, as well as talents like Virtue who have now gone international. Now, he has the chance to seize the throne for himself.
“I’ve looked up to this team for a long time. They’ve been the benchmark in ANZ Siege — next to Fnatic — for so long, and since Fnatic left they’ve been the top dog. Being a part of it and already learning things from the team and feeding off their experience has been unreal,” he told Snowball.
“As soon as Ethan had decided to retire, things kind of just fell into place. I did want to give Noble [previously SiNister] as much time as they needed to find a fifth and transition. I wasn’t obviously official for a while, but it’s been in the works.”
Joining Wildcard with some big shoes to fill, the veteran entry player was excited to let it rip. He did so on Day 1 of Oceanic Nationals, demolishing LFO on Kafe with a clinical performance that included a game-high 12 kills.
It helped that he had a relatively simple transition. He was going from being a fragger on SiNister, to being a fragger on Wildcard. However, there was the fear of having to step up into a class above — a class Ethan was on his own at times. Wildcard are taking a slightly different approach with Vinnie at the helm though.
“I try my best to live up to those expectations, but it’s just about building up the team together. Ethan was the kind of player carrying them through games last season, and I think Wildcard is conscious of the fact that we want to be building everyone up and everyone doing the hard yards,” he said.
“It is my job to get frags, so I feel like those will always come no matter how well or poorly I play. If I’m not fragging, then I’m not doing my job for the team.”
There were some teething issues in Week 1 though. Vincere didn’t manage to get the farewell from Noble that he would have liked, falling to his old squad in a 8-7 nailbiter on Kafe. Wildcard started off slowly, going down 5-1 in a dominant defense half from Noble.
Vinnie and the rest of Wildcard managed to claw back some rounds on defense — helped by the fragger’s strong roaming presence — but it was too big of a game to overcome come overtime, especially after Morgan “Fishoguy” Ishizaka dropped 20 kills.
“The game against Noble was disappointing because I felt like I lost a bit of composure, especially going into those later rounds. The team really needed a level head and I lost it a bit — I overanalyzed the way my old team was going to play, and they were a bit different to how I remember. I got into my own head and threw myself off,” he admitted.
“Finding some more attacking wins would be huge. The rounds were basically coinflips — it could have gone either way — but it’s just the way it went down.”Vincent “Vincere” Daniele
This loss has only fueled the fire in Vinnie to get revenge come playoffs. Now, there’s even more on the line. Wildcard are theoretically the only ANZ team that can qualify for the Six Invitational due to the regional major system.
It’s going to be a long road to the top, but Vincere wants to follow in the footsteps of other heroes of this scene that have gone on to achieve greatness. There’s still Oceanic Nationals and the mini major to go through, and Wildcard are only just starting to make their case.
“Every team has the potential to win, but I’d argue that Noble is the number one team alongside us. Every team is good enough to take a win though, especially with BO1s. We’re just looking to make a strong case heading into the playoffs.”
As an individual though, the dream is to make it to the Invitational one day. He currently plays with two Invite attendees. His former teammate, Tex “Tex” Thompson, was on the Fnatic roster that made main stage in 2020. The international experience Vinnie hopes to gain from the Invitational is what’s spurring him on — as well as his quest to be the best player he can be, no matter where he ends up.
“[Going to the Six Invitational] is definitely the dream. Watching Tex at SI last time with Fnatic — I was very envious that he got the chance to debut at SI, and I think it was such an invaluable experience for him. He’s grown leaps and bounds and I hope that has the same effect on me.”
In this week’s other Oceanic Nationals action, the Knights made a statement with new recruit Sageon, securing a 2-0 start over Elevate and LFO. Noble join them at the top after also beating Ferox.
There is a 4-way tie at 1-1, with Ferox, Wildcard, Okami, and Elevate sitting in the middle of the pack. Ferox were helped by a surprise victory over Okami to secure much-needed points ahead of playoffs.
Rhythm and LFO sit off the pace, however the former showed some promise in a tight 8-7 loss to Elevate.
Week 2 of Oceanic Nationals kicks off on September 23 at 7pm AEST when Okami takes on Elevate. You can catch the action live on the Rainbow Six Twitch channel.
Be sure to follow Snowball Esports on Twitter for everything Oceanic Nationals throughout the season, including tips, analysis, and interviews.