If you’re an Okami fan, this season has been a rollercoaster for you. After their rocky start to this season, Okami’s road to redemption is starting to look promising after they locked in fourth seed for Playoffs.
Expectations leading into this season we’re high for the team that finished second place in Six Masters only a few short months ago. After the departure of key players in the scene like Ethan and Stryder, many considered this to be Okami’s greatest shot at securing first seed.
Out the gate, Okami showed a dominant performance against Rhythm on Clubhouse, ending on 7-3. It was the debut match for Speca, who had rejoined the team after taking a hiatus through the first half of the year. The former Fnatic star dropped ten kills in his first competitive match in over eight months.
It's a well timed C4 to drop the defuser and the shotgun cleans up the rest – @JKR_R6 finds a 3K! 🔥 #OCN— Rainbow 6 ANZ (@Rainbow6ANZ) September 16, 2020
📺 https://t.co/gkTBPSSzx8 pic.twitter.com/mRV7FNz6yd
However, after Okami were handed back-to-back losses against Ferox and Elevate, this season was starting to look dark. According to Bailey “Cutie” Murdoch, it was their hubris that jeopardized their standings.
“From the first few games and taking some early losses, it was… a hit to the mental. Losing to teams we probably shouldn’t have, which bit us in the back later on in the season. It was a mixture of ignorance and bad planning of maps we wanted to play”
“When it comes to Ferox.. I believe they did decently well against Noble on Villa and I personally think Noble are a strong Villa team…In hindsight we probably shouldn’t have taken them to that map,” he told Snowball.
“Ignorance also struck against Elevate. We had seen them insta-banning Clubhouse on their previous playdays and we thought we’d be able to take them on it which was also a pretty bad idea.”
It was time for Okami to re-evaluate their strategy and regain composure. Their road to the Major was only going to get tougher against teams like Wildcard and Knights. After all, Oceanic Nationals best-of-one format allows no room for errors.
“After those days we played it safe and went with the maps we knew we were extremely comfortable on and didn’t take any risks in the map veto system or blind playing a map.
“Once we got the win against LFO we were feeling really confident and I believe you could see that with our gameplay ever since.”
Over half of the #LFO team are deleted by @ItBeStyleR6 in a matter of seconds! 😱🔥 #OCN— Rainbow 6 ANZ (@Rainbow6ANZ) September 25, 2020
📺 https://t.co/gkTBPSSzx8 pic.twitter.com/el9mQ5zWrh
After their win against LFO, you could see that something had clicked for the team. Their performance in securing playoffs since has been nothing short of exhilarating. Despite their loss against Wildcard, the team looked strong and put up a well-deserved fight, taking them to 5-7.
It’s a reminder, and also a testament, to Okami’s line up and how far the team has come despite being orgless.
“People having to give up a lot more of their life outside of the game. We had two play days a week, so that’s two fewer days we can practice, which meant everyone had to come together in the team and sacrifice things in their private life to make extra time for us to be able to scrim.
“Another one is not being paid to play. It’s getting to the point where most teams are being paid which allowed them to put more hours into the game and team practice. You can see this in Pittsburgh Knights when they first joined Pro League they weren’t much of a threat but now they’re shaping into be one of the teams that can knock Wildcard off their throne.”
This season has tested Okami more than ever and only time will tell if the momentum will carry them through to the Major. The competition is heating up and Cutie has made it clear that “every team in playoffs has the potential to be number one,” but he only has his eyes on one thing: an Okami win.
The Oceanic Nationals playoffs kicks off on Friday, October 16. You can catch all the action on the Rainbow Six Twitch channel.
You can follow Cutie and Okami on Twitter.
Be sure to follow Snowball Esports on Twitter for everything Oceanic Nationals throughout the season, including tips, analysis, and interviews.