The Knights were the shake-up the Oceanic Nationals needed. While they managed to only just narrowly scrape by for Six Masters playoffs, this season we’re looking at a stronger version of the team.
To recap from last season, the Knights narrowly progressed into playoffs through a three-way tie-breaker, finishing fourth overall. Then in the offseason, key player Jaeden “Stryder” Calder retired from Rainbow Six. Things we’re starting to spell trouble for the Knights who had only weeks to find and train up a replacement.
Despite the challenge, they managed to secure Sageon for their roster – a rookie whose previous experience was competing in the Tier 2 competitive scene. With little time, Knights were forced into a position where they had to adapt, and Mark “Dino” Abboud acknowledged this.
“When [Stryder left] the team was placed in an exceptionally precarious circumstance to attempt and discover somebody that can fill and outperform Stryders role with almost no time,” he told Snowball.
“We wound up discovering Sageon. However, he didn’t pick up the hard breacher and droner role. As a team, we ended up finding that Juicy was able to pick up Stryder’s role with ease. Sageon would become all the more a flex player, which with our ongoing achievements, resembles its working” he told Snowball.
Their flawless win-streak through the first half of the season was impressive, securing wins against LFO, Ferox & Elevate. However, it was their win against Noble which really set the bar of what to expect from the Knights. They showed a dominant performance on Clubhouse, winning 7-3 with almost double the amount of kills than Noble.
“We essentially looked to create a unique match situation with the bans, that would favour our flexibility as a team. We played into the bans really well on attack and it set the tone for the match,” Sageon told Snowball.
However, their momentum would start to run out of gas, in the third week they encountered double losses, falling Okami in overtime while Wildcard shook their confidence with a 7-2 loss on Clubhouse.
While Wildcard appears to be their biggest challenge going into playoffs, you can’t count this roster out yet — it’s important to recognise the achievement they’ve managed to pull off in such a short time.
“We are always very positive and never accuse the other individuals on the team and consistently look forward to improving ourselves. Over the long haul, I feel that if a team has that much regard for one another they will remain together for quite a while and develop and turn out to be much stronger overall,” Dino said.
“The Pittsburgh Knights gave us a family and an organization that motivates us to continue to improve in-game and out.”
In the early days of this roster, Knights managed to cause waves in the standings. With more practice and time, who knows what else this team is capable of, but we do know they will be giving it everything they got to stay in the race for the Major.
The Oceanic Nationals playoffs kicks off on Friday, October 16. You can catch all the action 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.