Only one series is standing in the way of Wildcard and a spot at the Six Invitational in 2021. With a strong showing at home in 2020, Patrick “Pat” Wines is ready to make his mark on the international stage after overcoming one last hurdle — the November Major.
Wildcard’s Oceanic Nationals win seemed a lot tougher than their Six Masters success. The competition was tighter, and it felt like they were a bit closer to the pack.
Then you look at the numbers, and you realise just how far ahead they are of the rest of the region. That’s seemingly becoming Wildcard’s story. They are the force to be reckoned with in ANZ Siege, and they look unstoppable.
Pat might have only been part of the Wildcard behemoth for under a year, but since joining on, he’s won Six Masters, the August Major, and Oceanic Nationals. The latter win was an important one for the top team, as it was their first without the perceived heart and soul of the roster in Ethan “Ethan” Picard.
“Without Ethan, there were a lot of questions about the roster, whether we’d be able to perform without him. It felt good to do well, and at least go on par with what we were last season. It looks good for the future too,” he told Snowball.
That doesn’t mean their win wasn’t tough though. The squad had to adapt to a drastic shift in their playstyle with Vincent “Vincere” Daniele in the lineup.
“Things were definitely a bit difficult at the start. Ethan was obviously such a big player, in terms of shotcall ability, his ability to save us in rounds that have stalled him. Without him, me and Diesel had to step up a lot more with our calling, and once we sorted that out, it was good.
“Vinnie is pretty much the perfect replacement for Ethan. On attack, he’s a really solid entry because he has really good mechanical skill. On defense, he’s not as confident on the roam yet because he doesn’t have that much experience. Compared to any other player though, he’s the best fit. He’s doing stuff no one else could.”
While Pat admitted he didn’t have “the best season individually,” the collective power of the new Wildcard squad — and their ability to bring each other up in-game — has made them stronger than ever before.
It’s helped in an era of Oceanic Siege which seems more competitive than ever before. With Knights, Okami, and even Noble looking like potential title threats throughout the Oceanic Masters, there was a sense the reign of Wildcard was at threat.
“You look at Knights, and they’re definitely the up and coming teams, and they’re the biggest threat in the future. The consistent progress they’ve been making as a team is incredible. They’re becoming more of a structured team — they had a reputation for playing a hyper-aggressive style of Siege like LFO,” he said.
“Every roster has to work hard to stay at the top. You can’t just take everything for granted. The more teams play Siege though, and the more teams that focus on a consistent roster, the harder it will be for us to stay on top.”
“I wasn’t sold on the Okami-Speca pickup — they didn’t look structured at all, especially when you see their game against Ferox. They played really well against us though, they just need to sort out their consistency. There’s a lot of potential in these two rosters, but we have to wait and see.”
Wildcard aren’t sitting on their laurels though. The November Major is their most important series of the year. Whoever they face off against in the BO5 — Knights or Okami — they have to beat. Else, not only will Wildcard miss the Six Invitational, but so will the whole of ANZ.
It’s one thing to have the pressure of your own successes on your back, but the burden of carrying a whole region is immense. However, Wildcard are used to it.
We are the CHAMPIONS!!🏆— Wildcard Gaming (@Wildcard_GG) October 18, 2020
After weeks of #OCN competition, we defeat @KnightsGG to claim the title of the best Oceanic #RainbowSixSiege Team!
Couldn't be more proud of all the players and coaches involved 🤝#StackTheDeck ♦️ pic.twitter.com/dLYnvSTbrL
“We’re pretty confident. We have the bracket advantage, and I think throughout the season, consistent improvement has put us in a good spot heading into the November Major. We are the best roster in ANZ, and it’d be really disappointing for us to fall at the last step and not make [the Six Invitational],” Pat said.
“It’s always strange going into a Major though, because it comes after a month-long break. We’ve just got to make sure we’re on the ball on gameday.”
The Wildcard roster that’d make the Six Invitational in 2021 is vastly different from the one who were in Montreal last year. Only Diesel and EmoRin remains of the five-man squad. In February, Six Invitational wasn’t even on Pat’s mind down in the ANZ Challenger League, but now it’s staring at him right in the face.
“Going from ANZ Challenger League to qualifying for Six Invitational in a year will be something I never thought would happen. Getting the opportunity to scrim and practice against international teams will be huge,” he said.
“There’s a lot of question marks about how different regions stack up against each other due to the pandemic, and we want to know where we stand too.”
“The roster wasn’t in the best shape back then, but Diesel loves talking about all the scrims they had against teams that were so much better that they learned so much. Hopefully we will have a better result than last time.”
The Rainbow Six November Major: Oceania kicks off on November 25. You can catch the action live on the Rainbow Six Twitch channel.